Externalizing behaviors in children and adolescents (such as physical aggression) are hard to manage negative behaviors, which can lead to more serious problems in adulthood (negative functioning in societal and occupational roles, sometimes leading to criminal behavior). The root cause of this behavior can be a dysfunctional family, lower family income and family stress. .
It is known that African American youth from single mother families are at an elevated risk of externalizing behavior, compared to those who are from European American two-parent families. One of the possible causes can be lower socioeconomic status of single mother African American families, which can have a detrimental effect on single mother's mental health, on mother-child communication and warmth as well as on child adjustment (leading to externalizing difficulties). But all African American youth from single mother family do not exhibit externalizing behavior. It has been observed that positive school functioning and right monitoring is associated with high self-esteem and low externalizing behavior. Earlier research has suggested that African American youth from two-parent families have higher self-esteem than those from single-mother families, which emphasizes the significance of both biological parents for children. Co-parent (an individual, who may or may not be a family member, significantly involves in child rearing and parenting), is present in many African American single mother families, and this can probably explain the variability in adjustment among African American youth from single mother families. It has been observed that quality of the relationship between single mother and the co-parent as well as between the child and the co-parent is associated directly with youth outcomes. No research was done before to examine the association of co-parents' parenting behavior with youth psychosocial functioning.