Sunday, February 9, 2014

Single mothers are bad for children

It seems strange to have to point out that single mothers are bad for children, but since Americans have lost all ability to utilize reason and common sense and only recognize appeals to what they recognize as authority, we have no choice but to hit them repeatedly in the head with scientific studies:
Just as some conservatives have started talking seriously about rising inequality and stagnant incomes, some liberals have finally begun to admit that our stubbornly high rates of poverty and social and economic immobility are closely entwined with the rise of single motherhood.

But that’s where agreement ends. Consistent with its belief in self-sufficiency, the right wants to see more married-couple families. For the left, widespread single motherhood is a fact of modern life that has to be met with vigorously expanded government support. Liberals point out, correctly, that poverty rates for single-parent households are lower in most other advanced economies, where the welfare state is more generous.

That argument ignores a troubling truth: Single-parent families are not the same in the United States as elsewhere. Simply put, unmarried parents here are more likely to enter into parenthood in ways guaranteed to create turmoil in their children’s lives. The typical American single mother is younger than her counterpart in other developed nations. She is also more likely to live in a community where single motherhood is the norm rather than an alternative life choice.

The sociologist Kathryn Edin has shown that unlike their more educated peers, these younger, low-income women tend to stop using contraception several weeks or months after starting a sexual relationship. The pregnancy — not lasting affection and mutual decision-making — that often follows is the impetus for announcing that they are a couple. Unsurprisingly, by the time the thrill of sleepless nights and colicky days has worn off, two relative strangers who have drifted into becoming parents together notice they’re just not that into each other. Hence, the high breakup rates among low-income couples: Only a third of unmarried parents are still together by the time their children reach age 5.

Also complicating low-income single parenthood in America is what the experts call “multipartner fertility.” Both divorced and never-married Americans are more likely to repartner and start “second families” than Europeans, but the trend is far more common among unmarried parents. According to data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study at Princeton and Columbia Universities, over 60 percent of low-income babies will have at least one half sibling when they are born; by the time they are 5, the proportion will have climbed to over 70 percent.

All of this would be of merely passing interest if it weren’t for the evidence that this kind of domestic churn is really bad news for kids. The more “transitions” experienced by a child — the arrival of a stepparent, a parental boyfriend or girlfriend, or a step- or half sibling — the more children are likely to have either emotional or academic problems, or both.
Considering that divorce and child support are justified on the basis of "for the children", shouldn't single motherhood be banned? You know, "for the children"? Or were the children always just a veil for the Female Imperative?

Also, before anyone is moved to leap to provide an anecdotal because feelbad, please keep in mind that we are talking about averages, probabilities, and statistical outcomes. Everyone already knows there are outliers. There is no need for anyone to demonstrate an inability to understand statistics.

37 comments:

Bob Wallace said...

As far as I'm concerned single mothers are automatically child abusers. These narcissistic mothers will never believe that, though. In reality it's always about them and what other people can do for them.

Trust said...

@: "Simply put, unmarried parents here are more likely to enter into parenthood in ways guaranteed to create turmoil in their children’s lives."
_______________

This hits home. My twin daughters are adopted, and they came so close to being born into turmoil. First, their birth mother got knocked up by a married man who already had two children with his wife. Then the birthmother almost arborted them, but was felt too much guilt after hearing about the horror the children would endure during the abortion. She thought about raising them and suing for child support, which would have resulted in clear turmoil with the wife and other siblings. Then the bio-father wanted his brother and his wife to adopt them, which still would have brought in the "these are the spawns of his adultery" at family gatherings.

Finally, a friend of her convinced her what was truly best for the children was to seek out an adoptive couple, and the rest is history.

This scenario is far too common, and the happy ending of our story is not so common. In most cases, it ends up a nightmare with the family courts, lawyers, money, resentment, and children getting whiplash from the moods and whims of their "family." Which resembles my two sisters and their three children with their three felon fathers... but hey, that started off like a Katherine Heigl movie.

Bottom line, as most here know, "best interest of the child" is usually only used when it results in money and power for the mother. Which, like most of the leftoid blatherings, makes it just one more "how can you hard hearted people argue with _____" noble sounding cover for the left's real agenda.

76a86186-641e-11e3-a4c7-000bcdcb5194 said...

Not banned - but you make contraception a requirement to receive welfare. As a cost-cutting measure alone, it's fully justified.

Black Poison Soul said...

Feeeeeeelings > science.

Paul, Dammit! said...

I just can't wrap my head around how people can argue against this obvious truth... but there I go again, throwing 'science' and 'statistics' into the argument because single motherhood is a noble calling now, or something.

Remo said...

I think the imperative would best be described as both a female and government imperative. These are not mutually exclusive and in fact usually work hand in hand. Stoke female fear with out-lier stories of men leaving their wives penniless and broke for the secretary to get the child support and alimony laws passed. Then rapidly expand the government bureaucracy to enforce your new "for the children" laws. Both moves get you votes as those same government offices are staffed by women. Win for the feminist female imperative, win for the male elites at the top who want to command larger and bigger government programs. Then you get the states on board by offering them a share of the child support booty via Title 9. When the inevitable enforcement problems happen (those evil evil men!) you empower fascist companies like Maximus with quasi police powers who kick back a good bit of the loot to the governments allowing them operate. Slavery returns, Q.E.D. for the children and your private for-profit prisons make a killing too.

Female imperative and feminism = slavery for all

Patriarchy = Enlightenment and freedom. Pick one. For the children.

RC said...

A preschooler whose mother has remarried is 40 times more likely to be sexually abused than one living with both biological parents. That statistic alone is reason enough to ban single motherhood.

Matt said...

"Single-parent families are not the same in the United States as elsewhere."

I've seen some data on this that might be worth trying to dig up again. The long and short of it is that in (say) Sweeden or wherever, a very large percentage of kids are born outside of legal marriage. But most of them are born into a de facto marriage - ie, the parents live together and are still together by the time the kid turns 18. So it's not that they're better at being single mothers, it's that they're not really single mothers.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Excellent, Vox.

I'm afraid we're going to need something heavier, sharper than scientific studies.

For starters, yes, single motherhood should be banned.

2870b918-77c0-11e3-b9bd-000bcdcb8a73 said...

"Single motherhood should be banned." Sounds great, but how, exactly?

Require unmarried pregnant women to abort? That proposal would accomplish something once thought impossible: unite feminists with the Christian right in opposition.

Put the children in foster care? Unless someone can show me studies proving otherwise, common sense tells me that the outcomes for the kids will be even worse than leaving them with their single mothers.

As someone above said, you could make contraception a precondition to receive welfare, but that only prevents (some) serial single motherhood, not first offenses.

Natalie said...

Just curious if the ill effects hold true for widows with young children? It seems that there has to be a huge difference between children hearing about "That bastard/shlub your father" and "That man who loved you/us with all his heart before he died." And yes my imperative is showing. Every time my husband walks out the door I beg God's mercy on our son. He just lights up around his daddy, and heaven knows I don't want to try making a man out of him alone. That and I'm a teeny bit fond of him myself.

b1bae96e-6447-11e3-b6bb-000f20980440 said...

As someone above said, you could make contraception a precondition to receive welfare, but that only prevents (some) serial single motherhood, not first offenses.

I bet if you offered free contraception and no welfare you would find women behaving more rationally. You can say that isn't fair to the kids that are born. But is the present situation better? not a chance. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

b1bae96e-6447-11e3-b6bb-000f20980440 said...

@ Natalie

Widows aren't single moms. They are widows. Unfortunately, they were used as a bait and switch for the current model.

Brad Andrews said...

2870,

Stop paying their support. It would be horridly rough for some, but that would help put a clamp on stupid behavior. At least it would reduce its likelihood to continue. We now reward them by giving them more benefits.

Truth,

I am not sure how far you are in the process, but watch when your daughters hit the teen years. Screwed up birth stuff seems to stay with such children far long than seems obvious at first. Ours were a bit older when we got them, but they all ingrained the dysfunction of their birth family, to our great chagrin and pain.

PVW said...

Now this is interesting; middle class and progressive types actually pursuing single parenthood, distinct from the lower class single mother: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/370648/new-site-helps-co-parents-raise-love-children-alec-torres.

They are "co-parenting," using a website to do it, to find partners with whom to have a child, with no interest in marriage, no interest in raising the child in a marital family, but through different arrangement of single-parenting. A leader in this movement is a "Roman Catholic" woman: http://www.partneredparenting.com/about-rachel-hope/. She has had two children by two different men, and is seeking another man to father a third child.

Natalie said...

Nothing like turning Father's Day into the Turkey Day Derby. "First we'll take Kim to her father's for breakfast. Lunch is pizza with Josh's dad. Supper will be with bun-father #3." And then on Mother's Day all the orbiters (ahem - male co-parents) can come worship her ability to pimp out her lady bits for feelgood. Ya know - sometimes your desires just don't get met in this life. I'd love to have a mother who understands healthy relationships, but I don't see that happening any time soon. I'd love for my kiddo to have not spent his first hours in the NICU instead of with me. Not things I can fix. Deal.

LibertyPortraits said...

Stefan Molyneux has been beating this horse for awhile, one of my favorite rhetorical arguments of his is that the far-left environmentalists should be campaigning to keep marriages together, since divorces lead to more materialism and waste and the damaged children don't become as productive and respectful of the environment.

Martel said...

I think it's important to point out that even though lots of the negatives associated with single mothers (rotating boyfriends, drug abuse, etc.) aren't common to all single mothers, single motherhood is still bad.

I had one of the "good" single mothers who didn't do any of that stuff and I still ended up a mess.

Martel

Shaun said...

Yeah not so much. Then you have single-fatherhood, which looks more like the mother dishing off her responsibility, which would also fall under the category of the Female Imperative. Mind you that the father goes into the pregnancy well aware that he's pre-emptively made the woman pregnant.

I dub this article "non-manly" for the implications of the father shirking responsiblity, specifically in the case of unmarried sexual intercourse.

Trust said...

it's amazing how we have no problems violating the constitution on the belief that men might be bad, but stating the obvious fact that children are best off born into a stable married home us somehow off limits.

You know how to tell a good mom raising child without a dad from a bad mom doing the same? The good mom understands that a good dad would be inyhe child's best interest. A bad mom cares first about squashing any opinion that portage her as less than flawless.

En-sigma said...

>2 N count, post wall, alpha widow, self absorbed, solipsistic women are also bad for kids. And they aint good for husbands either.

If you want to stop these things, you stop rewarding them. In fact, you make the consequences of these actions less desirable than the alternatives. You do this by NOT making the lazy equal to the industrious. By NOT making the orderly equal to the chaotic. By NOT making the sensible equal to the ludicrous..

Marissa said...

Stefan Molyneux has been beating this horse for awhile, one of my favorite rhetorical arguments of his is that the far-left environmentalists should be campaigning to keep marriages together, since divorces lead to more materialism and waste and the damaged children don't become as productive and respectful of the environment.

One of the greatest utilitarian arguments made against divorce--I try to whip it out whenever the topic arises. Think about it: 2 homes, 2 utility bills, 2 of everything: clothing, toothbrushes, food staples. All the gas wasted (even cross-country flights) on carting the kids back and forth. You can't even share a car. You definitely can't commute via bicycle to each other's homes lugging all the shared stuff (in fact, bicycle or bus only transportation exacerbates the dual versions of everything problem). Molyneux does an excellent job going into all the costs associated and how environmentalists' greatest effort should be put into marital counseling.

John Rampton said...

Child support court orders put on paper that both parents are paying a certain percentage of their incomes to "the child-support pot" And it'scertainly no secret the courts are quick to garnish paychecks of the non-custodial parent; the father, but not so quick to do so for the custodial parent. My point? Well, simply put, fathers are paying the mother's living expenses. If you can create a card that's designated for children, you can ensure that both parents are indeed paying, and you can also ensure that all expenses itemized are legitimate expenses, not boob jobs. I can only wonder if there wouldn't be a sizeable portion left over for the kids' schooling if we monitored child support in the way we monitored food stamps.

Res Ipsa said...

The modern womb/welfare state was brought about precisely because of "anecdotal because feelbad" situations. War widows and their offspring were the rational for what has become sexually irresponsible women with children and a taxpayer supplied check.

Bastards and their mothers should be denied government funds. If you end the taxpayer provided financial incentive and end the no-fault divorce financial incentive then you will solve most of the problem. After that is finished we can look at the war widow situation.

Lorraine Tipton said...

KEEP YOUR COCKS IN YOUR PANTS THERE WOULDN'T BE SINGLE MOTHERS YOU FUCKS

Sean Carnegie said...

Feminine user name? Check.
Caps lock stuck? Check.
Shaming men for behavior at least half caused by women? Check.

Boilerplate, meet Lorraine.

Trust said...

@Lorraine

Keep your legs closed and there wouldn't be deadbeat dads you bitch.

2870b918-77c0-11e3-b9bd-000bcdcb8a73 said...

Rather than just mock or insult Lorraine, let's look at what's actually wrong with her comment.

"Keep it in your pants" only reduces single motherhood if ALL the men within reach of willing women go along. Just one exception can impregnate all the unmarried women willing to sleep with him, no matter how many other men are dutifully abstaining.

By contrast, a woman who refuses sex outside of marriage is a woman who will never be a single mother, no matter what other women, or men, do.

Tercel Jiminez said...

I agree with the research wholeheartedly. I had a single mom. Now, I'm 24, still living with my grandmother, and I have been recently diagnosed with ADHD and not only that, but depression also.

Tercel Jiminez said...

I agree with the research wholeheartedly. I had a single mom. Now, I'm 24, still living with my grandmother, and I have been recently diagnosed with ADHD and not only that, but depression also.

Res Ipsa said...

@Trust,

Classic! Well done!

@Tercel,

Start going to the gym, work out and find something you are passionate about (not a chick). Pursue both. The depression will lesson, if not go away all together and the new activity will help focus your life. Everybody gets kicked sometime, get back after it.

Trust said...

@ 2870b918-77c0-11e3-b9bd-000bcdcb8a73 said... Rather than just mock or insult Lorraine, let's look at what's actually wrong with her comment.
___________

Women like her don't entertain logic. She fights with shame, and she gets burned by shame.

Brad Andrews said...

Tercel,

I was raised mostly by a single mother and am someplace on the ADHD spectrum. It can be an asset if used right, if you focus on accomplishing things rather than just goofing off. I regularly work on not doing the latter, but have been quite successful in my career because of my ability to produce.

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Unknown said...

I am floored at the negative comments. I was a single mother, and worked hard to raise two beautiful daugters. Who are beautiful, kind, strong, and both graduated from a good college. Yes it was hard, but I HAD NO CHOICE. I did it all right. I educated myself, got married, and ended up divorced. Believing that I would be married for life! WAKE UP LADIES> TODAY you have a 60% chance that you will end up being a single parent. How many woman I have known who wake up one day, and there husband wants out, or they themselves are done with the marriage. Yes there are many young woman, who make bad decisions, and end up being a poor struggling young parent. But I know MANY married couples who look like the perfect American family. Until you go behind their closed doors. I would take single parenting any day, than live in some of the hell holes, I have seen with so called two parent familys! So WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE. If you are a young mother, married with children. You will have a 60% chance of ending up a single parent. So educate yourself, and make sure you HAVE YOUR OWN MONEY! ---P S Being a single parent turned me into a strong, confident, caring woman!

Mitzidanti said...

I am floored at the negative comments. I was a single mother, and worked hard to raise two beautiful daugters. Who are beautiful, kind, strong, and both graduated from a good college. Yes it was hard, but I HAD NO CHOICE. I did it all right. I educated myself, got married, and ended up divorced. Believing that I would be married for life! WAKE UP LADIES> TODAY you have a 60% chance that you will end up being a single parent. How many woman I have known who wake up one day, and there husband wants out, or they themselves are done with the marriage. Yes there are many young woman, who make bad decisions, and end up being a poor struggling, young parent. But I know MANY married couples who look like the perfect American family. Until you go behind their closed doors. I would take single parenting any day, than live in some of the hell holes, I have seen with so called two parent familys! So WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE. If you are a young mother, married with children. You will have a 60% chance of ending up a single parent. So educate yourself, and make sure you HAVE YOUR OWN MONEY! ---P S Being a single parent turned me into a strong, confident, caring woman!

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