Chapter single mother was plunged into poverty. The

Chapter
2

 

 

Review of Literature

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This
chapter reviews existing literature that has bearing to the present study. It
begins with the discussion of a Single Mother and the coping mechanism of
single mothers in terms of economics, emotional and psychological aspects.

Lived experiences of
single mothers in raising their children

In
today’s society, there are many different types of family. Some includes:
intact, non-intact, single families, stepfamilies and a variety of others.
Along with this different variety of families there was one common incident
that can cause the family structure to change. One of the most striking changes
of family structure over the last twenty years has been the increase in
single-parent families.

The
number of single mothers in the Philippines had grown rapidly through the
decades that have passed and this growing sector in the Philippines would
continue to rise as society grows and changes through time. Because solo-parent
families are now noticeable in society, they had become a vital subculture that
was had to be accepted as a legitimate and valid unit of society (Ortigas 1996,
12).

 

 

Beyond the pressure and stress
that single parents must deal with, they were also very much concerned with
providing finances to their own family. Some single parent, specifically
mothers who never worked in their entire life, would be forced to work in a
full-time basis. This does not only add pressure to single parenthood but more
importantly, it limits the time that the mother spends with their children (Walsh,
2003).

Financial
crisis was standing situation with most of single parent families. It becomes
difficult in meeting the basic needs of children such as food, clothing, school
fees, maintaining the previous standard of living and meet personal expenses (Nidhi
and Bharti, 2009).

Susan,
(n.d.) states that  single mothers’
unemployment has been stated to be more than twice as much as married women’s,
and the reason suggested that single mothers had difficulty in finding jobs
that were steady with their family care responsibilities. It has been noted that
this high unemployment rate was troubling for families since one fifth of all
families with children were headed by working single mothers, and families of
single mothers (considering both those who work and those who do not together)
have higher poverty rate of 28.3 per cent.

Employment
regardless of income or number of hours worked, offers some protection against
mental health problem according to Ali and Avison (1997), as cited by Gyamfi,
Brooks-Gunn, and Jackson, (2001) and Samuels- Dennis (2007).   

         Problem of single mothers (2012) claim
that a father’s historical role in the family has been a breadwinner. So, the
single mother was plunged into poverty. The economic position of women who live
alone with their children remains risky and single motherhood is a major reason
for poverty among women and thus their over-representation among the poor.

Single
women with children experience much higher levels of poverty than any other
family type. In part, this was due to the prevalence of low paying, female
dominated occupations-which typically pay in minimum wage or only slightly
higher. Single mothers also face challenges arranging and paying for
child-care, which can comprise about 1/3 of the household budget depending upon
the age of the child.

Mother-only
families was more likely to be poor because of the lower earning capacity of
single mothers, the insufficient benefits provided by the state, and the lack
of child support provided from the non-residential father (Garfinkel &
McLanhan, 1986).

Financial problems were more or less the first
problem that most one-parent families face. The single mother was normally seen
as the woman who works long hours at low wages. To support her family was the
best thing to envision, but there were different kinds of problems for different
single mothers and some of them don’t even have this problem. There are many
single mothers who are coping well with their finances.

There were fathers who willingly pay for their
child’s/children’s education and needs and mothers who were self-sufficient who
were capable of making the ends meet. Some have well-paying professional jobs,
while some do not (McCoy 1987, 149). Because financial problems were given so
much importance by society, single mothers have been pushed to do better with regards
to their income.

Kunz, (2014) claims that single parents, usually
mothers, lack financial support from the father and were often required to work
longer hours. Because of this, the children receive less attention and guidance
that hinders their social development as well as academic performance.

Usually
single mothers were prone to poverty because they’re the ones providing the needs
of their children such as food and clothing and school fees. Every single day a
single mother struggles to find a better job because they always think of the
security of their children. The compounding economic difficulties of lone
parenthood result in a high probability that a single-parent family was a poor
one. Poverty rates among the lone parent families often higher than those in
general population, (Orthner, Sanpei and Williams, 2004). Single mother remains
vulnerable to several continuing risk factors, including financial and food
insecurity, poor health care and poor quality housing in unsafe neighbourhood.
This influenced both their physical and mental health.

Nelson
(1990), cited in Waruesporn, (2011) argues that family income has effects on a
single-mother’s life, which may diminish the emotional well-being of parents
and have negative effects on children’s self-esteem and behavior in school.
Single-mother families are at a high risk of poverty and a poor psychological
health due to the pressure the single-mother has to put up with in working to
earn an income to meet the family’s needs, leading to fatigue and emotional
imbalance, which results in a lack of time spent with children.

Parents
under economic stress and single-parents often poorly supervise their children
and may let them gain autonomy too early. Unsupervised adolescents are more
likely to be involved in risky behaviors such as cigarette smoking, alcohol
drinking, drug use, early sexual activity resulting in adolescent pregnancy (Richardson
et al., 1993 and Blum et al., 2000, as cited in Waruesporn, 2011).

          Stress
of separation or divorce may lead to poor mental health (Afifi et al., 2006).
While separated and divorced mothers had increased chances of having anxiety
related disorders and depression. GAD compared to never married mothers
suggests that, simply being a single mother does not increase the chances of
having psychiatric disorder.

Previous
study had confirmed that it was negative relations with spouse that were linked
with depression (Schuster et al., 1990; Zlotnick et al., 1990 in Afifi et al., 2006).
This study confirmed that the interactions with a partner can cause depression
and they don’t think about the possible outcomes if they come up into
separation.

Mclanahan
and Sandefur (1994) found that single mothers seemed to suffer more following a
divorce, perhaps because they typically experienced a severe loss of income due
to lack of husband support Most  single
mothers were facing so many difficulties like financial. Single mothers also
experienced less access to occupational training and less access to the higher
education needed to pull themselves and their children out of poverty (White, 2004
p.7).

Single Mother’s
Coping Mechanism

 As cited by
Samuels-Dennis (2007), due to research limitations, it was difficult to provide
conclusive statement about the association between single mothers’ coping
repertoire, socioeconomic status, and their mental health. However studies
agree that coping behavior do not differ by family status i.e., single mother
vs. partnered.

            Positive coping through the use of
help-seeking from informal sources and the use of problem-solving strategies
were positively related with women’s well-being (Cohen and Dekel in
Samuels-Dennis, 2007). On the other hand, avoidance coping was a positive
predictor of depressive symptoms (Hall et al. in Samuels-Dennis, 2007).

 Given the above-mentioned, it was important
also to consider the context of single mothers’ lives-poverty, lack of or
compromise social network, chronic physical and mental illness, risk of
homelessness- and they’re ability to control or alter types of stressors they
encounter, may in part explain the needs for single mothers on social assistance
to predominantly utilize avoidance strategies (Samuels-Dennis, 2007).

The
lived experiences of single mothers in raising their children include the economic
hardship, emotional and psychological were also part of the experiences in
raising their children. In the lived experiences of single mothers in terms of
coping mechanism was also part of this study to know the real situation of
single mothers today.

The researchers wanted to find out the experiences of
single mothers in facing their difficulties in life in raising their children
even without the support of their husband/partner and how they survived those
struggles without any help of others. Also this study wants to find out how the
mothers guided their children, in terms of behavior and explaining to them the
situation that they have.