Can lone parenthood still be considered a social problem?
History of lone parenthood being a social/moral problem.
Poor Law - 1576 - Mothers
seen as a moral problem
and they could be detained
by a justice of the peace for
up to one year. Blame
firmly on mother.
Post war lone parents - shift
from workers pre war to
mothers post war (Lewis, 1998)
1980's and 1990's - Thatcher government - lone
mothers seen as a family/individual/moral problem
and that state welfare had increased dependency
on the state so by removing welfare benefits it
would discourage lone mothers. ( Pascall 1997)
New Labour 1997 - 2010 - New deal
for lone parents
Current attitudes towards lone parenting and social policies that are designed to affect lone parents.
Conservative 'Third way' Cameron 2010
Is it social attitudes or austerity that have been affecting
benefits and social perceptions of lone parent families/
different ideology and their
actions to alter social
Lone parenthood moving back towards being a moral problem and
attempts to reduce 'something for nothing' attitude being pushed onto
A social problem has to offend out values and ideas of what is normal. Lone parenthood has
risen dramatically and now encompasses 20% of families so cannot be seen as deviant or
Lone parenthood is not the thing that offends values and norms but dependence on state welfare and benefits. Perception
that lone mothers are teenagers getting pregnant to become single mothers for benefits and a council house - throw back
ONS statistics about composition of lone families.
Poverty, social exclusion and economic exclusion are main social problems surrounding lone parenthood but they are stand alone social problems not
exclusive to lone parenthood therefore the problem's 'caused' my lone parenthood must be addressed then the 'social problem' of lone parenthood would
Lone parenthood can still be considered a social problem but the issues surrounding lone parenthood cannot be assumer to come from parenting as a lone person per
Economic exclusion down to childcare and employer problems - common problems for people who are less flexible (disabled other carers etc)
Lone parenthood is constructed as a social problem through media and
reporting of sensationalised cases rather than giving the whole picture.
Tabloids are far reaching.
Social exclusion widely associated with sterotypes and the attitudes and behaviours associated with them. Public has been socialised into believing stories about minority cases and therefore assume that all single mothers are the same. We are also conditioned
to notice sterotypes.