The purposes of this study are to examine current situations of single-parent families and their needs that are based on the families’ characteristics (e.g., child age, family composition, income etc.) and to provide implications for policies to promote single-parent families’ overall quality of life. This study particularly focuses on divorced or widowed single-parent families with children aged between 0 and 11 years old (preschoolers and children in elementary schools).
First, national and international programs and policies for single-parent families were described so as to help the reader understand the current trend and directions of supporting systems. Second, data of ‘A Study on the Status of Sole-Parent Families (Kim et al., 2015)’ was reanalyzed with selected samples which only contained single-parent families with young children aged 0-11 years old. Third, 400 single mothers and single fathers reported characteristics of child-rearing (e.g., ways that parents care for children, social support for childcare, etc.), parents’ and children’s developmental characteristics (e.g., self-esteem of parents; children’s health condition and developmental level) and parental perceptions of policies for single-parent families. In addition, 17 single parents were interviewed in order to figure out their unique experiences, difficulties in child rearing, and needs for social support in-depth.
Single-parent families with younger children tended more to face difficulties in supporting their children. They particularly suffered from lack of time for caring for children and also from financial burdens. Single-parent families which only consist of a parent and children (without any other members under the same roof, such as grandparents or other relatives) showed a higher level of stress due to their multiple responsibilities and social isolation. Single-mother families were more vulnerable than any other types of single-parent families and they were more likely to know policies in detail and receive benefits from the government. Family income was one of the important factors which were associated with a high level of single parents’ anxiety and a low level of social support.
Results of this study suggest that polices need to consider diversity as well as individuality of characteristics and needs in different single-parent families. Ages of children, family composition, employment status of single parents and family income should all be considered together in order to create customized child-rearing support systems. In addition, it is important that single parents and community members have positive and supportive perceptions toward single parents who are solely in charge of child-rearing.
Table Of Contents
Ⅱ. 국내외 한부모가족 현황 및 지원 제도
Ⅲ. 한부모가족 실태조사 및 선행연구 재분석
Ⅳ. 한부모가족 특성별 자녀양육 및 지원 요구
Ⅴ. 정책 제언