Here’s one of my favorite sociologists W. Bradford Wilcox writing about single motherhood in the left-leaning Slate.
Take two contemporary social problems: teenage pregnancy and the incarceration of young males. Research by Sara McLanahan at Princeton University suggests that boys are significantly more likely to end up in jail or prison by the time they turn 30 if they are raised by a single mother. Specifically, McLanahan and a colleague found that boys raised in a single-parent household were more than twice as likely to be incarcerated, compared with boys raised in an intact, married home, even after controlling for differences in parental income, education, race, and ethnicity. Research on young men suggests they are less likely to engage in delinquent or illegal behavior when they have the affection, attention, and monitoring of their own mother and father.
But daughters depend on dads as well. One study by Bruce Ellis of the University of Arizona found that about one-third of girls whose fathers left the home before they turned 6 ended up pregnant as teenagers, compared with just 5 percent of girls whose fathers were there throughout their childhood. This dramatic divide was narrowed a bit when Ellis controlled for parents’ socioeconomic background—but only by a few percentage points. The research on this topic suggests that girls raised by single mothers are less likely to be supervised, more likely to engage in early sex, and to end up pregnant compared with girls raised by their own married parents.
It’s true that poorer families are more likely to be headed by single mothers. But even factoring out class shows a clear difference. Research by the Economic Mobility Project at Pew suggests that children from intact families are also more likely to rise up the income ladder if they were raised in a low-income family, and less likely to fall into poverty if they were raised in a wealthy family. For instance, according to Pew’s analysis, 54 percent of today’s young adults who grew up in an intact two-parent home in the top-third of household income have remained in the top-third as adults, compared with just 37 percent of today’s young adults who grew up in a wealthy (top-third) but divorced family.
Why is this? Single mothers, even from wealthier families, have less time. They are less likely to be able to monitor their kids. They do not have a partner who can relieve them when they are tired or frustrated or angry with their kids. This isn’t just a question of taking kids to the array of pampered extracurricular activities that many affluent, two-parent families turn to; it’s about the ways in which two sets of hands, ears, and eyes generally make parenting easier.
I think that people who think that it is hatred and bigotry to say that there should be rules around marriage and sex understand the reasons for these moral boundaries. We are trying to protect the children, and so we have boundaries about who can have sex and who can get married. Children need a mother and a father, and we need to promote and celebrate that as marriage, and not anything else. We should be rewarding people for getting married and staying married.
- New study finds that boys benefit from bonding with Dads in first three months
- New large-scale UK study confirms the importance of fathers to children
- Why is it so hard for a working man to provide for a family these days?
- What causes women to become single mothers by choice? Are men to blame?
- Can recreational sex turn a selfish, irresponsible man into a marriage-minded provider?
- UK police knew about Muslim child sex gang but refused to prosecute
- Loosening of UK IVF laws causes spike in fatherless children
- New study: low family income not a major cause of low student achievement
- “Problem families” cost British taxpayers £9 billion per year
- A feminist explains why she wants to be a single mother by choice
- Pro-lifers should not condone premarital sex as a pathway to marriage
- Is it moral for a woman to conceive a child from an anonymous sperm donor?
- How do donor-conceived children cope with not knowing their biological fathers?
- Marriage researcher Brad Wilcox’s lecture on marriage and society
- Dennis Prager offers the best concise analysis of the effects of feminism ever
- Bradford Wilcox: Is cohabitation a bigger problem for society than divorce?
- New study: marriage and church attendance help kids finish high school
- New study finds that cohabitation is harmful to children
- How feminism led to increased child abuse and child neglect
- For women under 30, most births occur outside of marriage
- UK Liberal Democrats oppose tax breaks for getting married and staying married
- Should Christians support social justice? Is wealth redistribution good for the poor?
- FRC releases new study on marriage and economic well-being
- New study finds that fathers and marriage reduce drug use in children