Came across a few articles lately on the importance of kids having a married mother and father. Although many in our society are blase about single moms or unmarried couples having kids, there is no denying that children do best in a home with married parents. This simple fact affects schools, neighborhoods, crime rates, delinquency, and kids' economic mobility.
First, Claudia Anderson writes at The Weekly Standard about a report produced by the Commission on Parenthood's Future, an independent, nonpartisan group of scholars and leaders. From the report:
“The two-person mother-father model of parenthood is being changed to meet adults’ rights to children rather than children’s needs to know and be raised, whenever possible, by their mother and father,” according to the report, The Revolution in Parenthood: The Emerging Global Clash Between Adult Rights and Children’s Needs."
"Trends driving the revolution in parenthood include high rates of divorce and single-parent childbearing, the growing use of egg and sperm donors, support for same-sex marriage, increasing interest in group marriage arrangements, and proposals to allow children conceived with the use of sperm and egg donors to have three legal parents."
".... the report is calling for a moratorium or “time-out” on further changes to the institution of parenthood until more research has been done about those policies and practices that will best serve the interests of children."
I like the idea but wonder how to enforce that moratorium. Anderson asks "If all this legal and genealogical confusion is not good for the children involved, or ultimately good for society, is there nothing we can do to stop it or slow it down--or must individual adults' freedom to choose always prevail?" In boomer generation, adults' freedom trumps all, but that may not be the case in another generation or two.
Kay Hymowitz was interviewed over at Front Page Magazine about her recent book Marriage and Caste in America: Separate and Unequal Families in a Post-Marital Age. Hymowitz has written extensively about the many benefits accrued to children who grow up in a home with a married mother and father. She says that the "marriage gap" is increasingly responsible for the growing divide between economic classes:
"It turns out that the dramatic rise in illegitimacy and divorce during the last forty years - what I call the unmarriage revolution - has been largely limited to less educated men and women. College educated women have never gone in for having babies outside of marriage.... the large majority of well educated women are raising their children with their children's father."
"This is not the case with less educated women. They are much more likely to have a child without getting married first - over half of births to women without a high school diploma are non marital. And when they do marry, they are far more likely to divorce than college educated women."
"Given that children who grow up with their married parents do better on a wide variety of measures, that means family structure is playing an important role in the rise of inequality and the decline of immobility. Worse, because the children of single mothers are more likely to become single parents themselves, the marriage gap is self-perpetuating. The children of college educated women will go on to become college educated, to marry, only then have children, as well as to be affluent. The children of less educated women are more likely to graduate high school, or if they do, to drop out of college and to go on to have children when they are not married who will go on to repeat the cycle. Hence, my title: Marriage and Caste in America."
Great, provocative interview, read the whole thing.
I saw a news story a few days ago about the increased demand for food pantries to serve needy people. The customers for the food pantry were largely single women with children. Where are their fathers? Why aren't women waiting to have children until they get married? Shifting our society back to that line of thinking (marriage and fathers) would result in a lot less people lined up at the food pantries.
The Brookings Institute has determined that if people 1) graduate from high school, 2) get married, 3) don't have kids until after they're married, and 4) have small families, they're virtually guaranteed to avoid poverty. I don't know how we shift ourselves back to committing to marriage and bringing back a social stigma to single parenting, but we need to swing that pendulum back.