The experiences of teenage learners from single parent households.
Bhengu, Nombulelo Precious.
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The focus of this study is to investigate the experiences of teenage learners from single parent households. Single parent households refers to a home that is headed by a single mother or father. According to various literatures, the number of single parent households is increasing nationally. The main reasons for single parent households are: divorce, death of a partner, children born out of wedlock and sometimes the parent chooses to stay single. The assumption is that children belonging to such a family setup are associated with poor academic performance, are likely to drop out of school, which often results in teenage pregnancy and drug abuse. It is because of these reasons that single parent households are negatively stereotyped. There is a notion that children in intact families (with both parents) fare better academically, socially and emotionally than those in single parent families, because children in intact families typically have access to two parents rather than only one. This study adopts a qualitative approach. An in-depth investigation of experiences of teenage learners from single parent households is presented. The study adopted an interpretive paradigm since knowledge is socially constructed by people active in the research process. Data was collected using structured interviews and was administered using open-ended questions. In a structured interview the researcher uses an interview schedule, which is a set of questions in a predetermined order. The findings in this research study indicate that most children that are raised in single-parent households are usually raised by mothers. Single mothers are likely to experience some economic problems causing them to live below the poverty line; as a result children can have less access to well-resourced schools and tend to live in poor neighbourhoods. It has also been indicated that children from single parent households are likely to have behavioural problems and perform less academically, because there is less supervision from the single parent. However, children growing up in single-parent households, whether the parents were never married, or have separated or divorced, have twice the risk of repeating the grade, having behavioural problems, dropping out of high school and girls have the risk of becoming teenage mothers. This is because parents have to work long hours in order to make ends meet, leaving them with minimum time to spend with their children. However, the findings also reveal there are some positive experiences from single parent households, such as getting more attention from the parent and peaceful home environment. The study also revealed that the impact of single parenthood on learners’ well-being and academic performance could either be positive or negative.