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The triple bind of single-parent families
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The days when Tolstoy opened Anna Karenina with ‘Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way’, to reect a dominant discourse on the nuclear family as the singular form of happiness and wellbeing, are long gone. Alongside the second demographic transition – women gaining economic independence and better control over their fertility, improvements in gender equality and changing norms on family and gender – a diversity of family forms emerged. Wellbeing and happiness, as well as unhappiness, can be found in all families, regardless of family structure. This challenges the assertion that any one family form will always ensure wellbeing over another. Indeed, as Myrdal and Klein noted in 1956: ‘Though it is fairly easy to describe what constitutes a bad home, there is no simple definition of a good one. Conformity with the traditional pattern certainly is no guarantee of the happiest results’ (p.126).
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Maldonado, Laurie C. and Nieuwenhuis, Rense, "The triple bind of single-parent families: resources, employment and policies" (2018). Faculty Works: Social Work. 4.