Children of Solo Moms who went back to school give their moms an A+
A study published this May in Journal of Family Issues looks at how Solo Mom’s decision to go back to school impacts their children’s perspective on their own success at pursuing higher education. The study attempts to address the gap in the existing literature. It states, “Few, if any, studies have looked into children’s perspectives regarding the impact of single-parent households on their educational attainment, especially in relation to their parent’s educational and economic achievements.”
The study contacted 35 adult children of former Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund awardees (the majority of whom came from Solo Mom families) to explore the experiences before, during, and after their parent pursued a college degree. The findings of the study show that the parents’ educational attainment affected not only the economic status of the family but also the children’s educational outcomes. The the adult children who participated in the study reflect as follows:
- Their parents increased confidence and drive increased their own confidence and drive to pursue a college degree.
- Witnessing their parents earn a degree was instrumental in their own desire to earn a degree.
- They felt more ready for college education because their parents were knowledgeable about the higher education system and hence could prepare them better. One study participant confirmed this through his statement, “Seeing how she got help and got grants, I really realized that there is financial aid out there, especially for people who don’t have a lot.”
- The parents’ expectation of the children increased. One participant explained, “If I called my mother and told her that I wanted to quit school prior to her going to college, I think she would have been OK with it. Now she’d say, ‘No, you can do it. Tough it out. You definitely can do it.’ I think she would be less lenient on me.”
- The parents were able to financially help them with college cost because their financial situation was greatly improved by completing a degree.
- The children showed increased assurance in their own future possibilities: “I wasn’t a straight-A student, so I never thought it was an option. Seeing her going to school and actually seeing her stick with it and completing it, I think it really motivated me.”
- Parent/child relationships improved due to the parents returning to school because of enhanced respect. As one participant stated, “As a child of the single parent, there are hard times. But whenever a parent works hard to go to school and achieve something like that, it gives you some dignity toward your parent.”
While the findings are positive, the study’s recommendation is for further research to be done in this area. It is, nonetheless, an encouraging study for Solo Moms considering school. Without diminishing the challenges of the situation, the study brings to light some potential benefits to think about in weighing the pros and the cons of going back to school.
Image via Shutterstock.com
Mika Yamamoto, ESME's Guide for Public Assistance, has successfully nurtured two children as a Solo Mom and now hopes to achieve the same results as a plant nanny.
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