Children living in a single parent home might struggle with low self-esteem.

The Negative Effects of Single Parent Homes on Children

by Amy Pearson

Being the best mom you can be is hard enough, but when you are raising children in a single parent household, it can feel nearly impossible to avoid some difficult situations. You can help yourself and your children stay on track, despite any negative effects that your parenting situation might bring. Your attitude, style of parenting, support system and perseverance all go a long way toward minimizing any long-lasting damage your children might experience growing up in a single parent home.


If you are like many single parents, you work long hours to earn enough to pay for all the expenses of running a home and raising children alone, child development experts with the Kids Health advise. Even if you are lucky enough to have some financial support from your children’s other parent, chances are you feel like you are constantly juggling your financial obligations. You might even have to deny your children some of the things they want or need, according to the website of The Future of Children. You might work extra hours to pay for tutoring for your daughter, but your son might not be able to take drum lessons he always dreamed of because of your financial limitations.

Parenting Quality

Your parenting skills might suffer when the relentless duties of your everyday life pile up. Long work hours might cause you to miss important school functions. You might not be able to afford a babysitter to get out for a few hours of important down time. You might overreact when your kids leave their socks on the living room floor. You might even confide in your children about personal, financial or professional problems. However, they likely do not have the emotional strength or maturity to deal with adult situations and might feel obligated to somehow help you. Improve your relationship by making the most of your quality time together and finding ways to incorporate special one-on-on time with each of them.

Children of Divorce

If you went through a divorce, you are not the only one recovering from the major transition. Even though your children likely prefer a peaceful single parent home to a miserable two-parent home, they might have adjustment problems to living in a single parent home or feel ashamed of the divorce, state Kids Health professionals. If your ex does not see your children as often as he did before, they might struggle with abandonment or resentment. They might harbor unrealistic fantasies about reconciliation or have bad memories of your breakup, the American Academy of Pediatrics' reports. Consider counseling for yourself and your children if you notice that you or they are suddenly having trouble sleeping, concentrating or experiencing problems at school or work, advises.


No matter how hard you try to build them up, your children might struggle with some self-esteem issues growing up in a single parent home. They might have reduced expectations for their own relationships later in life and crave affection, especially if your busy work schedule makes it hard for you to shower your children with love often enough. Your children might blame themselves for your living situation. Even though you might not be able to stop them from making comparisons, you can help build their self-esteem. Small things like posting a good report card on the refrigerator or acknowledging when they remember to take out the trash can help build their feelings of self-worth.

About the Author

Amy Pearson earned dual bachelor's degrees in management and horticulture. She is a licensed elementary teacher for kindergarten through sixth grades. Pearson specializes in flower and vegetable gardening, landscape design, education, early childhood and child development.

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