Over the past decades, the patterns of family structure have changed dramatically in the United States. The typical nuclear family, two married parents with children living together in one household, is no longer the structure of the majority of the families today. The percentage of single-parent families, step-families and adopted families has increased significantly over the years. The nuclear family is a thing of the past. Family situations have tremendous influence upon a child’s academic achievement, behavior and social growth.
The present structure of the average family in America is changing, mainly due to the growing number of mothers who now work outside the home. The current mark of dual-earner families stands at 64 percent, making it a solid majority today. This alteration of the "traditional" structure of the family is a channel for other changes that may soon occur.
Two-parent families consist of a mother and father living in a home with dependent children. The family may consist of a biological mother and father or a step-parent. In two-parent families found little or no negative effects. Researchers suggest that children from two parent families are less likely to have social issues. Children raised in two-parent homes are more likely to complete high school and attend college. Cho, Lee, and Kuchner (2007) found that students raised in two parent homes demonstrate better behavior, have less absences and tardies and have much higher grade point averages. Researchers suggest that children from two parent homes have better grades and achieve academically as well as socially because the parents have more time to devote to the upbringing of the children oppose to single parents.
Although two-parent families and step-parent families both consist of a mother and father the effects these families have on children are very different. Step-parent families are formed when one or both partners have separate children and marry. The formation of the step-parent family introduces a second authoritative figure into the household (Sweeney, 2007). Step-parent families offer more supervision and monitoring in the home as well as additional role model (Sweeney, 2007). In many cases, a step-parent can be an emotional release for parents who may be overwhelmed with raising the children, running the home and being the sole provider for the family.
In many instances step-parent families have positive outcomes, but there are some negatives such as retention and socialization skills that children in these homes face. Researchers believe that step-parent families have some of the same outcomes as single parent families. Some researchers believe that children in step-parent families are at a greater risk than those children living in single parent homes. Children in step-parent families have a greater risk of “suicide attempts, developmental difficulties, early sexual behavior and having a premarital birth” (Sweeney, 2007)....