22 Scarey Statistics on Dysfunctional Families

Dysfunctional families have some unique aspects to the home environment that make it a rather unsatisfying place for children to grow up. Because the dysfunction is seen as “normal,” it also becomes part of an ongoing cycle where kids in dysfunctional families grow up to create their own families with dysfunction.

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1 in 2 children in the United States will live with a single parent at some point in their lives.

Dysfunctional Families

Although living with a single parent or a blended family isn’t by itself considered a dysfunctional family, it does increase the chances of dysfunction occurring. Any family is at risk of developing a dysfunctional relationship. When there is drug use, threats of violence, or a non-commitment from one of the parents to bring up a child in the way they should go, the risks increase with each additional factor.

  • 1 in 8 children today are born to a teen mother.
  • 1 in 3 children today are born to parents that are unmarried, although they may be cohabiting.
  • 1 out of every 25 kids in the United States does not live with either one of their parents.
  • More than two thirds of children today are living in what would be considered a non-traditional family environment.

Traditional families can be dysfunctional and non-traditional families can be “normal.” The issue to be addressed here is how that family unit is operating. If the parents are not actively involved with their children or they are consumed by the power of an addiction, then dysfunction is bound to occur. Sometimes this happens because of necessity. If a single parent must work 12 hours per day in order to make ends meet, then even with resources present to help, dysfunction can occur. Sometimes, however, it is the parents who are causing the dysfunction because they are refusing to put their children first – for whatever reason.

Is Corporate America To Blame For Dysfunctional Families?

  • More than $15 billion is spent by corporations on advertising that directly targets children every single year.
  • The amount spent to advertise to children in the year 2000: $2 billion.
  • In a survey of 1,000 US families, 90% of kids watched television, movies, or DVDs on a regular basis.
  • The average household spends an extra $172 per year on items that are directly advertised to children that they would not normally purchase.
  • A key advertising demographic is to the under 3 years of age population, which is estimated to be a $20 billion annual market.
  • 40% of 3 month old children regularly watch television every day.
  • It isn’t until the age of 8 that children begin to realize that advertising isn’t always as truthful as the ad claims.

The argument here is that corporate greed is what causes a foundation of family dysfunction. There certainly is some parental responsibility involved because parents who let the television be a babysitter end up exposing their children to advertising. On the other hand, when advertisers are specifically creating campaigns to target children 3 or younger, they are specifically causing a reaction that is designed to cause the child to beg and plead with a parent for the product that they’ve seen on the television. What happens when this pattern repeats itself? A child begins to place value on material possessions and when the parent won’t provide them, a feeling of dissent begins to grow. A mutual feeling of dissent grows within the parent and then you have the foundation of dysfunction.

Can Work and Family Time Be Balanced?

  • 56% of working moms and 50% of working dads say they find it very or somewhat difficult to balance their responsibilities.
  • The percentage of fathers who say that they don’t spend enough time with their children: 46%.
  • 40% of working mothers and 34% of working fathers say they always feel rushed.
  • 1 out of every 3 parents say that they don’t spend enough time with their kids.
  • 69% of parents believe that they are doing a “very good job” at minimum with their children.
  • More than one-third of women say that being a working mother is the ideal solution. That percentage increases to 47% of women who identify themselves as not being able to meet basic financial needs.

Finding the right balance in life is what it takes to prevent dysfunction from occurring. When more than half of all parents say that they can’t find this balance, then the roots of dysfunction start growing. When these parents who say that they don’t spend enough time with their kids, yet give themselves excellent scores as a parent, then even more dysfunction can make itself known. We could blame poverty or plenty of others, including corporate America, and this factors likely contribute, but the bottom line is this: parents who love their children enough to be involved with them on a daily basis in meaningful ways are less likely to create a dysfunctional environment for their children.

Is There a Connection Between Welfare and Dysfunction?

  • About 40% of custodial single mothers receive some form of government assistance.
  • Only 6.8% of single moms receive TANF benefits.
  • The percentage of single fathers who receive government assistance of some form: 21%.
  • More than a third of single mothers are over the age of 40.
  • More than half of single mothers have just one child.

For every story of abuse that occurs, there are a number of families that are greatly benefiting from government benefits. The benefits themselves don’t cause dysfunction. If anything, it would be how those benefits are used. A vast majority of people are looking to forge their own way in life and don’t want to live on the small amount of benefits that government assistance provides. Family dysfunction, it seems, comes when roles aren’t properly fulfilled.

Signs of Dysfunction