Why the Crime Rate of Children from Single Parent Families is Higher

Single parents are fearful when they see the statistics on children raised in single parent homes and the potential life of crime that the child is supposedly more prone to because of not having two parents in the home. But, are these kids getting into trouble because of the single parent home or some other reason?

Couples often split up due to behavioral issues on the part of one or both partners. These could include substance abuse, other addictions, violence, or an unstable job history, to name a few. If one or both parents have behavioral issues, then it stands to reason that the children could have similar issues. These behaviors may be due to the family environment, genes or a combination of both factors.

Even if neither parent displayed criminal behavior, someone with addictions or instability most likely has impulse control issues. So, the parent may be an alcoholic, and the child may be shoplifting, but both behaviors could be stemming from a similar genetic/environmental source.

Because relationships that involve addictions, violence, or instability fail at higher rates than other relationships, it is no surprise that there seem to be more kids with behavioral issues in single parent families. Many people in US jails today have symptoms of ADHD or personality disorders like borderline personality disorder. The fact that these people are in jail is more attributable to the mental disorder than to the fact that they may have been raised in a single parent home.

The fate of children as adults has been shown to be more closely tied to family income and education levels. Since many single parent families have low incomes and/or education levels, the single parent status is blamed for causing the child's criminality despite the income and education risk factors or mental illnesses. Being a single parent does not doom your child to a life of crime, especially if you are an involved parent and keep the lines of communication open with your child.

Copyright 2008