Single Parents by Choice: A Growing Trend in Family Life

By Naomi Miller | Go to book overview

Introduction

We are living in radically changing times, and many of the norms and values of the recent past are in flux. The traditional nuclear family (father, mother, and children), long considered the mainstay of Western society, no longer represents the largest proportion of American households. In a span of a mere thirty years, the traditional family has gone from constituting 44 percent of all households in 1960 to 26 percent in 1990. 1

While the traditional norms of the family, such as marriage, parenting, and family life, continue to be valued by most people, it is no longer the case that the majority of Americans will live in such a family for the major portion of either their childhood or their adult lives. Because many of the norms and rules governing family behavior have relaxed, in recent years we have witnessed the emergence of an unprecedented and growing number of alternate family patterns and lifestyles.

The purpose of this book is to examine one of these changes, namely, the growing numbers of single people who are choosing to become parents or to raise children while alone. Between 1970 and 1990, single-parent households almost tripled in this country, 3.8 million being recorded in 1970, and 9.7 million in 1990. 2 This book does not examine

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Single Parents by Choice: A Growing Trend in Family Life
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Why Single Mothers by Choice? 11
  • Chapter 2 - The Mothers Themselves 21
  • Chapter 3 - Single Parents by Adoption 53
  • Chapter 4 - Single Adoption: the Parents 71
  • Chapter 5 - Single Parents by Divorce 103
  • Chapter 6 - Divorce: the Children 127
  • Chapter 7 - Homosexuality and Parenthood 147
  • Chapter 8 - Gay Fathers and Lesbian Mothers 159
  • Chapter 9 - Families around the World 183
  • Chapter 10 - W(H)Ither the Family? 191
  • Select Directory of Resources 209
  • Notes 215
  • Index 229
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