Social Institutions

Divorce: Remarried vs. Single Parents

Kayla Glassman


"'Til death do us part…." A commitment of one's all to another's, to start a life and family together for mutual benefit; or so we thought. Today, it seems as though couples go into marriage with divorce as a solution if, for any reason, the marriage fails. Dissolved marriages are not uncommon, and sometimes for the best. But when the marriage involves children, the situation becomes much more difficult. After dealing with emotional distress of divorce, some divorcees decide to give marriage another try. With children to raise, both remarried parents and single-parents have advantages and disadvantages. To get a better understanding of the general overview of the two, the following will provide a basic outline of remarried-parent families versus single-parent families.

It seems like families in today’s society have way more struggles and long-term disadvantages than families did many years ago. Instead of cautiously taking on problems and working things out, couples seem to find it easier to just give up. There are many reasons why young couples, who are unsure about marriage, are getting married. What they really need to think about is what might happen in the future, not just right now. Some reasons for marriage may be that the couple already has one or more children together, they think they’re in love but aren’t really sure, or they believe in abstinence until marriage and they are marrying for sex. This is just how divorce may occur, but after it is all said and done it has a major impact on everyone around, especially the children of the divorced couple, which leads me to the point I am trying to make. One thing that does keep families together is the children, but sometimes that’s not enough. Once a couple is divorced and the children are used to the parents being together, should the parents ever move on even if it hurts the children? There are many pros and cons of remarried parents as well as single parents.

“Single-parent families in today's society have their share of daily struggles and long-term disadvantages. The issues of expensive day care, shortage of quality time with children, balance of work and home duties, and economic struggle are among the seemingly endless problems these families must solve.” (Newman and Grauerholz, 2002) Obviously, there are many duties of a single parent, but if they had the chance would they want to move on and remarry? Some reasons why one may not want to remarry are: It may hurt the children, the parent may never recover from the previous marriage, or they have been single long enough that they are perfectly content with their lifestyle and it would be too hard to take such a big step.

Remarriage also has its pros and cons. Remarriage has a huge effect on the children involved. Children may be happy to finally have a family unit or rebel in the fact there is another authority figure introduced into a lifestyle they are used to. If remarriage does take place, it is very important for the newly added to develop a good relationship with the children for the effects to be positive. The child needs to feel he is just as important now as he was before and not just to one, but to both parents. This will make the transition easier and more comfortable for everyone. (Turpin, 2009)
It doesn’t matter if each parent stays single or remarries, there are always going to be certain problems. What really matters is that the children have a safe environment to live in where they are comfortable and their needs are taken care of. There needs to be more focus on how families are doing after divorce rather than divorce itself. The best has to be made out of each situation, because sometimes the outcome cannot be controlled.



Katelyn Schiltz

Parenting isn't easy. Let alone parenting as an individual. Single-mother families are common to most American children, and although a number of them, at some point, will be part of a stepfamily, those stepfamilies are more likely to separate than biological-parent families. Single-parent families increased by over 30 percent from postwar generation to 1980. Most research states that children of single-parent families "have a harder time achieving intimacy in a relationship, forming a stable marriage, or even holding a steady job" (Swisher.)

In a survey of just under 700 middle school students, death of a parent or close family member was the only event more stressful than divorce. Many kids have also stated that they'd endure their parents arguing than get divorced (Roleff.) This is a common misconception. Many think they'd find fighting more tolerable than the stress of divorce, disregarding the effects constant fighting has on a family. The key is happiness. Generally, the difficulty of coping with stress from divorce seems simple compared to finding happiness in home with constant disagreement.

Coming from a single-parent family, the situation never seemed horrible. Often times the grandparents rearrange their lives to furnish the unfulfilled duties of the children's guardian and main provider. While the non-custodial parent's day-to-day absence, except for birthdays and holidays, becomes the norm for the children. Proving, divorce weakens parent-child relationships, one of the most important of many relationships (Swisher.) This stands as one of many issues with divorce that society has yet to acknowledge. When a child's relationship with a parent weakens, the child seeks that bond, usually turning to peers or siblings.

Unfortunately, research shows that the effects are much worse than anyone would expect. "A 1988 survey by the National Center for Health Statistics found that children in single-parent families are two to three times as likely as children in two-parent families to have emotional and behavioral problems. They are also more likely to drop out of high school, to get pregnant as teenagers, to abuse drugs, and to be in trouble with the law. Compared with children in intact families, children from disrupted families are at a much higher risk for physical or sexual abuse" (Swisher.) However, the misbehavior is not always the child's natural instinct, but the negatively influential friends which have provided the longed for bond.

The Newest Social Institutions

A social institution is “a set of organized beliefs and rules that establishes how a society will attempt to meet its basic social needs” (Kendall, 574). And for a long time our social institutions have remained the same. But as we are progressing in generations, we are learning and inventing new objects, ideas, and philosophies. Among these new ideas and philosophies are these new “emergent” social institutions. There are 4 new social institutions, and I will talk about all 4 of them.
If almost everybody wanted to find something in common with each other, then sports would be one of the biggest things to talk about. It is becoming a new social institution because it is fulfilling the 5 tasks that make up a social institution. I’ll prove my examples with the sport of football.
Replacing members: When a football player transfers to another team, then people that root for him have the choice of either rooting for the team that the player transferred to, or they can stay with the original team.

Teaching new members: Almost every person has a certain team that they go for, and with little kids you can persuade them to join your team. Also, people have certain “customs” that they do for “Game Day”, and you can teach other people to try out your “customs”.

Producing, distributing, and consuming goods and services: Wal-mart and other places will show decorations and other things for when football season starts, so that people will be prepared. Also, people can receive money and prizes for the people that figure out the stats (or win).

Preserving Order: Football has certain rules and regulations that helps make the game fair for everybody. For example: If a cornerback touches a receiver that the official (an official is somebody who preserves the order) deems interfered with the receiver making the catch, then the referee can through up a yellow flag and penalize the team that had the interference called on.
Providing and maintaining a sense of purpose: Football teams provide merchandise to fans. So people wear jerseys, have mugs, and put decals on their cars to show their sense of purpose in showing their team pride.

Mass Media:
For a reason that will be hard for me to explain, people are starting to realize that the media is becoming a social institution. It really emphasizes on how people should be (by showing famous people and what they wear or do). These are the 5 very important tasks that would make mass media a social institution:

Replacing members: When the media finds something big to talk about, they will usually only show what they find is interesting. Yet, when this big something starts to become boring to the public, the mass media will find something else to talk about.

Teaching new members: Young people everywhere are starting to really look at what the mass media wants them to look. So, the mass media is teaching them how to live their lives, how to look, and what to do in situations.
Producing, distributing, and consuming goods and services: Everything that we eat, drink, or wear is a part of advertising from the mass media. There is virtually nothing that companies won’t advertise.
Preserving order: Mass media helps preserving order by stating what is morally right and wrong in modern times. While mass media may not have true authority, they still find a way to help.
Providing and maintaining a sense of purpose: If there is one thing that the mass media is good for, is its way of making people feel like they have purpose. Support groups and clubs find ways to compromise with the mass media to help spread the word of these groups and clubs.
With all the technology coming out, science and medicine is definitely becoming a social institution. Everybody has used science or medicine at least twice or more in their life, whether they admit it or not.

Replacing members: Science and medicine try to find ways that will either help someone die faster, tries to ease death, and/or tries to prevent death, so this is a little iffy task.

Teaching new members: Scientists help other scientists to teach them to figure out how to help the world with all kinds of different problems. Scientists will even build educational facilities to help teach people to become scientists.

Producing, distributing, and consuming goods and services: If there is any institution that is all about carrying out their inventions for the greater good of the people, it’s the science and medicine institution. From the little convenience store on the corner, to some of the biggest stores in the world; everything sells some kind of science or medicine.

Preserving order: It’s a very simple to be able to explain on what happens if you decide to not take medicine, you cease to exist (to put it lightly). So really, science and medicine does not need to have something to punish people for not taking medicine or using science.

Providing and maintaining a sense of purpose: Scientists and Dr.’s do not really help in providing and maintain a sense of purpose. But then again, they wouldn’t need to, because there is an infinite amount of people that want to be in this institution.


The military was always a social institution, or at least so I thought. Almost everything about it is based on a social institution. It can almost be its own country (yet I know this is impossible because you have a military for the purpose of defending a country.

Replacing members: Say a soldier gets wounded in battle, then another citizen from the country that it is defending suddenly trains and becomes a soldier now. Same for if a soldier is to die; the military will just train another citizen to handle the job.

Teaching new members: It is very easy to train a citizen to become a soldier, because everybody is so patriotic today. Some may do it because they want to serve their country, some may do it because they want revenge from a fallen cousin, and some may do it just for the heck of it; but, all in all, the military does teach new members.

Producing, distributing, and consuming goods and services: The host country that the military is defending will supply the military with any kind of goods that it asks for. If the country runs out, then chances are they’ll ask an ally for that good.

Preserving order: The military is very good at disciplining if need be. Their tactics are old-fashioned, but still very effective. The other way of thinking about preserving order, is by defending something, and that is exactly what the military is for.

Providing and maintaining a sense of purpose: Just being in the military, you feel like you have a sense of purpose since you are defending your country. And also, once you decide to get out of the military and start a family, then the military helps you out with getting a house. It also helps when you go to a military base (which you are still allowed access), because there is no tax and everything is cheap. So by helping you out with daily needs, basic essential, and just the feeling of being in the military, that is how the military makes you feel like you have a sense of purpose.


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