Tag Archives: Children

New study: what lifestyle allows women to be happiest and most fulfilled?

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

In preparation for this blog post, I read an article from a far-left source about the decline of women’s happiness.

Excerpt:

As women gain political, economic and social freedoms, one would expect that they should feel even more contented relative to men. But this isn’t so.

The “paradox of declining female happiness” was pointed out by economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, who also happen to share a house and kids. They analyzed the happiness trends of US citizens between 1970 and 2005 and found a surprising result.

Stevenson and Wolfers discovered that American women rated their overall life satisfaction higher than men in the 1970s. Thereafter, women’s happiness scores decreased while men’s scores stayed roughly stable. By the 1990s, women were less happy than men. This relative unhappiness softened after the turn of the century, but men continue to enjoy a higher sense of subjective wellbeing that is at least as high — if not higher — than women’s.

Those 35 years saw advances in American women’s rights and financial power.

Let’s take a look at a recent study that the Daily Wire reported on, to see what really makes women happy:

Despite the onslaught of propaganda telling young girls otherwise, a recent research paper distilling data from over 30 European countries concluded that mothers find homemaking preferable to working full-time.

Doc. PhDr. Dana Hamplová, Ph.D., a senior scientist at the Institute of Sociology, ASCR, and a current representative of the Czech Republic in the International Social Science Program, authored the paper. Addressing Betty Friedan’s narrative in the book The Feminine Mystique, which claims that women are happiest and most fulfilled at work, Hamplová “explores the link between employment and subjective well-being among mothers with children under 3 years of age,” reads the paper’s abstract.

“Analyzing multiple measures of subjective well-being, the paper shows that homemakers are generally happier than full-time workers,” the scientist found.

“Contrary to our expectations, homemaking was positively associated with happiness particularly among mothers who left higher quality employment for childcare. Though some variation across countries exists, it is not linked to the provision of formal childcare, duration of parental leave, or tax system,” Hamplová explains.

[…]”Thus, similarly to several other studies, the ESS [European Social Survey] data do not corroborate Betty Friedan’s idea that domesticity and housekeeping leaves women unhappy and unsatisfied,” she writes. “As all 12 measures of happiness/satisfaction point to the same direction, the conclusion that mothers with younger children tend to be better off if they are not engaged in paid employment seems to be robust.”

We’ve had lots of advancements in women’s power, often coming at the expense of men (i.e. – husband candidates). For example, anti-male schools staffed by feminist administrators and feminist teachers might be great for women, but they don’t produce high-earning men for women to marry. And when women vote to expand government, taxes must increase to pay for all the spending. This reduces even further the pool of men who can take on a wife and family shrinks even more because of the increased tax burden.

This article from the leftist The Atlantic explains:

In the view that has prevailed in American education over the past decade, boys are resented, both as the unfairly privileged sex and as obstacles on the path to gender justice for girls. This perspective is promoted in schools of education, and many a teacher now feels that girls need and deserve special indemnifying consideration.

[…]A review of the facts shows boys, not girls, on the weak side of an education gender gap. The typical boy is a year and a half behind the typical girl in reading and writing; he is less committed to school and less likely to go to college. In 1997 college full-time enrollments were 45 percent male and 55 percent female. The Department of Education predicts that the proportion of boys in college classes will continue to shrink.

Data from the U.S. Department of Education and from several recent university studies show that far from being shy and demoralized, today’s girls outshine boys. They get better grades. They have higher educational aspirations. They follow more-rigorous academic programs and participate in advanced-placement classes at higher rates. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, slightly more girls than boys enroll in high-level math and science courses. Girls, allegedly timorous and lacking in confidence, now outnumber boys in student government, in honor societies, on school newspapers, and in debating clubs. Only in sports are boys ahead, and women’s groups are targeting the sports gap with a vengeance. Girls read more books. They outperform boys on tests for artistic and musical ability. More girls than boys study abroad. More join the Peace Corps. At the same time, more boys than girls are suspended from school. More are held back and more drop out. Boys are three times as likely to receive a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. More boys than girls are involved in crime, alcohol, and drugs. Girls attempt suicide more often than boys, but it is boys who more often succeed. In 1997, a typical year, 4,483 young people aged five to twenty-four committed suicide: 701 females and 3,782 males.

It’s important to note that women are not victims here, they are actually the ones who created the shortage of men who could earn enough money to support a family, and allow them to stay home with their children. Their “advancements in power” came at a cost: they undermined the system that produced men who were capable of handling the financial demands of a family where the wife can raise her own children.

Look at this study of how women have voted to expand government and therefore raise taxes on working men for social programs that replace husbands:

This paper examines the growth of government during this century as a result of giving women the right to vote. Using cross‐sectional time‐series data for 1870–1940, we examine state government expenditures and revenue as well as voting by U.S. House and Senate state delegations and the passage of a wide range of different state laws. Suffrage coincided with immediate increases in state government expenditures and revenue and more liberal voting patterns for federal representatives, and these effects continued growing over time as more women took advantage of the franchise. Contrary to many recent suggestions, the gender gap is not something that has arisen since the 1970s, and it helps explain why American government started growing when it did.

Bigger government means higher taxes means men earn less money, after taxes. How are you supposed to keep your wife home to watch over the little ones when taxes are higher? You can’t.

Democrats vote against tax cut for parents of homeschooled and disabled children

Ted and Heidi Cruz have a plan to simplify the tax code
Ted and Heidi Cruz have a plan to cut taxes for parents

I blogged recently about an amendment to the tax bill that Ted Cruz had put in to help parents with the costs of educating their children. It was a good amendment, and the Democrats even let some of it remain in the final version of the bill. But they voted against the tax cuts for parents who homeschool their children, or who have children with disabilities.

Here’s an article from Town Hall to explain what happened.

Excerpt:

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), one of the Senate’s most outspoken advocates for school choice, introduced an addition to the tax bill called the Student Opportunity Amendment. The amendment would expand 529 college savings plans to also include K-12 education, allowing parents and grandparents to use these tax-advantaged plans to save up to $10,000 per child per year for private schools, religious schools, or even homeschooling.

This represented a significant change in policy that would benefit more than 50 million children. The Senate voted in favor of the amendment, 50-50, with the Vice President breaking the tie.

However, Democrats weren’t about to let a beneficial piece of legislation pass without a fight. Party leaders ran to the Senate Parliamentarian to complain that the entire amendment ran afoul of the Byrd rule — another one of those arcane Senate rules that no one understands. But while the Parliamentarian disagreed with the Democrats’ argument about the majority of the provisions in the amendment, she unfortunately found their argument compelling when applied to homeschooling and struck the language from the bill.

In response, Senator Cruz rushed to the floor and pushed a Motion to Waive the Parliamentarian’s changes, which solely affected the homeschooling provision. This motion would require a 60-vote majority to succeed.

As Senator Cruz explained in a passionate speech on the Senate floor, one of the provisions that was to be eliminated from the amendment was particularly important — it would allow parents with a child with disabilities to use a 529 plan to pay for educational therapy, which can often be prohibitively expensive.

How could the Democrats vote against that?

“We’ve got right now a motion to waive this mean-spirited, vindictive point of order that discriminates against homeschoolers and carves out kids with disabilities,” Cruz charged. He argued that the vote “ought to be 100 to nothing.”

Nevertheless, not a single Democrat voted for Senator Cruz’s motion. Not one. The Democrats knowingly and proudly discriminated against homeschooled kids and kids with disabilities, in many cases destroying their access to quality education. Even by the Democrats’ woefully low standards, it was a shameful display.

I found the video of the 13-minute speech – the part about the schools starts at 6 minutes in:

The whole thing is worth watching, just to understand what a tax cut really is, and to accept that Democrats don’t want you to have the money you earn. They want the money you earn – they want to spend it. They want to spend it buying the votes of people who don’t agree with your values, and who don’t respect how hard you worked in order to earn that money.

Let me tell you what this means to me. When I was young, I realized that getting married and having kids would require me to work an extra twenty years. Instead of retiring at 45, I would have to work until I was 65. I thought and thought about this, and I realized that the only reason to do this extra work would be if I could have several children  and raise them to be effective and influential Christians. So, I went to work getting multiple degrees in computer science and then working to earn and save money for this plan.

And this is what I learned while learning about politics along the way. There is one political party, the party of Ted Cruz, that wants me to keep my own money, and to educate my children as I see fit. They want me to marry, and they want me to have children, and they want me to lead my family the way that I see fit. After all, these conservatives say, he is the own earning the money. He should keep what he earns, and he should spend it how he needs to to achieve his goals. He shouldn’t be forced to pay into any education system that works against his values and against his worldview. That’s what Ted Cruz was trying to help me with with his amendment.

But there is another political party which believes in big government. They want to confiscate what I earn to create a system of government-run schools. And in those government-run schools, the children will not be taught anything useful for getting a job, getting married, having children, etc. They will be taught how to have premarital sex, how to stop global warming with socialism, how to have an atheistic worldview, how to blame capitalism for the failure of socialist policies, and how to embrace gay rights and radical feminism. If I tell those Democrats that I don’t want to send my schools there, they tell me that I have to pay for those schools, and there will be no tax cuts for me to homeschool my kids. Democrats are fascists – they want the government to be everything, and the family to be nothing.

I don’t know if the Democrats really realize the message they are sending to the last good men. The men who don’t drink, don’t take drugs, who are chaste, and who do want to marry and have children. But I am watching what happens in the world of politics, and I am getting the message. They don’t want me to pass on my values to my kids, they want their public school allies to pass progressive values on to my kids. And when Ted Cruz tries to do something to stop them, they shut him down. I hope more people realize how the government sees my priorities. They want to take what I earn, but they don’t let me have the freedom to lead a family. This is why men are not interested in marriage and children like they used to be. We don’t like the idea of being robbed by the government tax collectors and then being replaced by government educators.

If you want to have children, then you need to make wise choices

Why are millenials acting like children into adulthood?
Why are millenials acting like children into adulthood?

My good friend Lindsay has written a post about women, and the choices they make.

Most women will tell you that they want to be married and have children “some day”. But many of them don’t really mean it, they’re just trying to fit in and appear a certain way to others. How can you tell the ones who mean it from the ones who don’t? Simple: you need to see which ones are making choices right now that will really move them to marriage and children in the near future.

Here’s Lindsay’s introduction:

The common feminist advice given to women to live in the moment, travel the world, go drinking, hook up, and have fun in your 20’s and even 30’s and then settle down and be a mom when you’ve had your fill is absolutely terrible advice for many reasons.

Here are the ones I want to talk about:

1) A woman’s fertility is not guaranteed. Waiting until the 30’s or 40’s to have children all too often means not being able to have them at all. Not naturally, anyway, and often reproductive technologies can’t even help. Fertility, unlike travel or luxuries, won’t wait. Use it while you have it.

4) Being a party animal doesn’t prepare a woman for being a wife and mother. Quite the opposite. It teaches her to live for her instant gratification and not consider others or the future. It teaches her to resent children as little burdens that stop her from doing what she wants to do. It teaches her to care only about herself. In short, it turns her inward rather than outward and fuels her natural selfishness, which is exactly the opposite of what is needed in a good mother.

5) Partying, drinking, and hooking up make a woman a bad wife, and bad wives are also, by definition, bad mothers. The kinds of habits that cause a woman to be a good wife, to knit her heart with her husband’s, and to put others before herself also help to ensure that her children will grow up in the stable, married home they need. Premarital sex undermines marital stability. A habit of selfish indulgence doesn’t magically end when the wedding is over. The habits we make follow us for a lifetime.

7) Smart, loyal men who want to settle down and have a family don’t pick partying women for that role, and for good reason. The 30-something living weekend to weekend just to party or hooking up with a string of different men is not good wife material. So when she finally decides, in her mid-30’s, after being all used up, that she wants a husband and children, she is very likely to find she has zero prospects. Men aren’t going to marry her now. They’re not stupid.

Here’s what I’ve found out about young women by meeting a few who said they wanted marriage and children, but did everything except the things that would lead to marriage and children.

First of all, it’s important to note that marriage and children cost money. If the woman is still in debt at age 30, and still in school at age 30, and still avoiding getting a real job and paying off her debt and saving money, then she isn’t interested in marriage and children. Men today are paying 40% of their income to taxes. It’s expected that women will make good choices to study hard things (STEM degrees!) and then get to work in a full-time job, as soon as possible. And then keep earning and saving, until the first child arrives. Money is needed for things like a downpayment on a home, etc.

Second, I have talked to women who delayed marriage for perpetual travel, perpetual school, and serial cohabitations with younger, penniless, unemployed students. Some of these women were raised in church-going intact-marriage homes. When I talk to them about why they are indulging in skydiving, ziplining, traveling, and serial relationships with little boys, they tell me that they are being adventurous. They don’t want to settle down and focus on marriage and child-bearing early because that’s boring. They also tell me that my plan of doing hard degrees, hard jobs, and saving money is boring. If a woman’s first priority is to have fun, then you know right away that her life us not going to be focused on things that require effort and self-sacrifice. There is no “fun” way to be educated in fields that pay well. Every degree that that results in a good paying job will be challenging, i.e. – “boring”. If the woman has a fear of not having fun, then her fear means that she isn’t going to be disciplined enough to be able to marry and handle the needs of children.

Women who prefer to stay in school rather than growing up and getting a job are not good for marriage or children. People learn more at work than they do at school, and work actually pays you, unlike school. And the money you earn and save by working is what gives you the ability to marry, and the ability to have kids. People who can barely take care of themselves certainly can’t take care of children.

Houses are not free, and houses are needed to put a roof over the head of the children. Not only that, but child care, education, health care, etc. all go much better when money has been earned and saved. Money gives you freedom to raise kids how you want, and to counter the culture. You can’t bumble away your peak earning years, and then wonder why your children lost their faith. Why do couples divorce? It’s often caused by lack of money, or poor stewardship of money.

Not everything that takes effort produces practical results
Not everything that takes effort produces practical results

My older advisers tell me that working does not get any more easier or more fun after age 50. It gets harder to do the later you start. Hard things are easier for people who have a pattern of doing what needs to be done, and doing the things today that lead to where they want to be tomorrow. Do what works. Feminist Dance Therapy and Electric Engineering cost the same money, and take the same time and effort to complete. Students in both programs think they are working hard and studying interesting things. But only one degree is a step towards getting married and having children.

The Economist: marriage is still the best place for children

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

I stopped reading The Economist when they endorsed the socialist failure Barack Obama, who doubled the national debt to $20 trillion in only 8 years. However, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. And here is one of those times.

Excerpt:

However, there is one big reason to worry about the quality and longevity of people’s intimate bonds. It is that relationships often produce children, and children are profoundly affected by how their parents get on.

You could make enough confetti for a summer of weddings with all the academic papers that show how much children gain from being brought up in stable, loving families, and how much they suffer when those families break down. Culture and customs make little difference. In Japan, four-fifths of single-parent households emerge when couples divorce—a much higher share than in the West, where people usually slip into single parenthood without marrying. Japanese children living with only one parent nonetheless perform significantly worse in school tests, just as children from single-parent families do in Europe and America. In poorer countries, family breakdown can kill. According to one recent estimate, the chance that an African child will die before turning five is about 25-30 per 1,000 for those born into stable families, but 35-40 per 1,000 for the children of single, divorced or widowed parents.

Marriage is not always good for children. They do not benefit when a parent marries somebody who is not their mother or father, and seem to suffer if the parent they live with cycles through several relationships. What they seem to need most is for their biological parents to stick together. And one strong claim that can be made for marriage is that it appears to glue parents together more tightly than any other arrangement.

This part is key, especially for those millennials who think that cohabitating before marrying makes the marriage more secure:

Analysis of one large American data set by Kathryn Edin and Laura Tach, two sociologists, shows that 27% of marriages broke down within nine years of a child being born. By contrast, among couples who were merely cohabiting when a child appeared, 53% separated within nine years—and most of the remaining 47% were married by that point. Among couples who were dating but not living together when the child was born, 81% had split up.

Again, this pattern runs across national and cultural borders. Cohabiting couples behave a bit more like married couples in countries where giving birth outside marriage is very common, such as Estonia and Norway. But they seldom attain the same level of stickiness as married couples, even after controlling for the mother’s level of education.

Cohabitation doesn’t work, because it’s basically saying that I’m going to try the other person and see if I like the other person, and that sex is required to know if I like the other person. It doesn’t really matter that you know the other person really well, because you can always get out of cohabitation just by leaving. Marriage says that I’m going to commit to the other person for life, through thick and thin. Here, both people tend to do a more thorough job of selecting their partner, perhaps even consulting fathers for advice. Why? Because getting out of a marriage is a lot harder to do, and more expensive.

In the past, I’ve blogged about some factors that can make your marriage pretty much divorce proof: things like chastity, not spending too much on the wedding, age of the man and woman at marriage, education levels of each spouse, number of people attending the wedding ceremony, isolation from other divorced people, church attendance, and so on. The truth is that you can engineer a marriage that’s practically divorce proof. But if you insist on spontaneity and following your heart, then you aren’t going to care what studies say works best.

The importance of Christian men setting an example of benevolent authority

A conflict of worldviews
A conflict of worldviews

I think that children are more likely to accept theism if they have a father who is able to lead them in a loving, caring way. And I also think that children who grow up with an authoritiarian or absent or defective father are more likely to reject theism. The father needs to be strong. The father needs to be good. Otherwise, it’s harder for the kids to believe in God.

Let’s start proving this with a lecture from psychologist Paul Vitz:

Here’s an article by Paul Copan (related to the lecture) which points out how father presence/absence and father quality affects belief and disbelief in God.

Excerpt:

Seventh, the attempt to psychologize believers applies more readily to the hardened atheist.It is interesting that while atheists and skeptics often psychoanalyze the religious believer, they regularly fail to psychoanalyze their own rejection of God. Why are believers subject to such scrutiny and not atheists? Remember another feature of Freud’s psychoanalysis — namely, an underlying resentment that desires to kill the father figure.

Why presume atheism is the rational, psychologically sound, and default position while theism is somehow psychologically deficient? New York University psychology professor Paul Vitz turns the tables on such thinking. He essentially says, “Let’s look into the lives of leading atheists and skeptics in the past. What do they have in common?” The result is interesting: virtually all of these leading figures lacked a positive fatherly role model — or had no father at all.11

Let’s look at some of them.

  • Voltaire(1694–1778): This biting critic of religion, though not an atheist, strongly rejected his father and rejected his birth name of Francois-Marie Arouet.
  • David Hume(1711–76): The father of this Scottish skeptic died when Hume was only 2 years old. Hume’s biographers mention no relatives or family friends who could have served as father figures.
  • Baron d’Holbach(1723–89): This French atheist became an orphan at age 13 and lived with his uncle.
  • Ludwig Feuerbach (1804–72): At age 13, his father left his family and took up living with another woman in a different town.
  • Karl Marx(1818–83): Marx’s father, a Jew, converted to being a Lutheran under pressure — not out of any religious conviction. Marx, therefore, did not respect his father.
  • Friedrich Nietzsche(1844–1900): He was 4 when he lost his father.
  • Sigmund Freud(1856–1939): His father, Jacob, was a great disappointment to him; his father was passive and weak. Freud also mentioned that his father was a sexual pervert and that his children suffered for it.
  • Bertrand Russell(1872–1970): His father died when he was 4.
  • Albert Camus(1913–60): His father died when he was 1 year old, and in his autobiographical novel The First Man, his father is the central figure preoccupation of his work.
  • Jean-Paul Sartre(1905–80): The famous existentialist’s father died before he was born.12
  • Madeleine Murray-O’Hair (1919–95): She hated her father and even tried to kill him with a butcher knife.

We could throw in a few more prominent contemporary atheists not mentioned by Vitz with similar childhood challenges:

  • Daniel Dennett (1942–): His father died when he was 5 years of age and had little influence on Dennett.13
  • Christopher Hitchens (1949–): His father (“the Commander”) was a good man, according to Hitchens, but he and Hitchens “didn’t hold much converse.” Once having “a respectful distance,” their relationship took on a “definite coolness” with an “occasional thaw.” Hitchens adds: “I am rather barren of paternal recollections.”14
  • Richard Dawkins (1941–): Though encouraged by his parents to study science, he mentions being molested as a child — no insignificant event, though Dawkins dismisses it as merely embarrassing.15

Moreover, Vitz’s study notes how many prominent theists in the past — such as Blaise Pascal, G.K. Chesterton, Karl Barth, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer — have had in common a loving, caring father in their lives.16

Not only is there that anecdotal evidence of a psychological explanation for atheism, but there is also statistical evidence.

Excerpt:

In 1994 the Swiss carried out an extra survey that the researchers for our masters in Europe (I write from England) were happy to record. The question was asked to determine whether a person’s religion carried through to the next generation, and if so, why, or if not, why not. The result is dynamite. There is one critical factor. It is overwhelming, and it is this: It is the religious practice of the father of the family that, above all, determines the future attendance at or absence from church of the children.

If both father and mother attend regularly, 33 percent of their children will end up as regular churchgoers, and 41 percent will end up attending irregularly. Only a quarter of their children will end up not practicing at all. If the father is irregular and mother regular, only 3 percent of the children will subsequently become regulars themselves, while a further 59 percent will become irregulars. Thirty-eight percent will be lost.

If the father is non-practicing and mother regular, only 2 percent of children will become regular worshippers, and 37 percent will attend irregularly. Over 60 percent of their children will be lost completely to the church.

Let us look at the figures the other way round. What happens if the father is regular but the mother irregular or non-practicing? Extraordinarily, the percentage of children becoming regular goesupfrom 33 percent to 38 percent with the irregular mother and to 44 percent with the non-practicing, as if loyalty to father’s commitment grows in proportion to mother’s laxity, indifference, or hostility.

[…]In short, if a father does not go to church, no matter how faithful his wife’s devotions, only one child in 50 will become a regular worshipper. If a father does go regularly, regardless of the practice of the mother, between two-thirds and three-quarters of their children will become churchgoers (regular and irregular). If a father goes but irregularly to church, regardless of his wife’s devotion, between a half and two-thirds of their offspring will find themselves coming to church regularly or occasionally.

A non-practicing mother with a regular father will see a minimum of two-thirds of her children ending up at church. In contrast, a non-practicing father with a regular mother will see two-thirds of his children never darken the church door. If his wife is similarly negligent that figure rises to 80 percent!

The results are shocking, but they should not be surprising. They are about as politically incorrect as it is possible to be; but they simply confirm what psychologists, criminologists, educationalists, and traditional Christians know. You cannot buck the biology of the created order. Father’s influence, from the determination of a child’s sex by the implantation of his seed to the funerary rites surrounding his passing, is out of all proportion to his allotted, and severely diminished role, in Western liberal society.

So, I think we can make a case that anyone who doesn’t have a benevolent, involved father is going to have a more difficult time believing that moral boundaries set by an authority are for the benefit of the person who is being bounded. They may not see the value of a relationship with someone who uses their power for to grow them and guide them. They may view the leadership of a powerful person skeptically, because they have been disappointed by father figures in their own lives.

I think the best way for a Christian man to to lead someone who is less powerful, is to explain why they want the person to grow in a particular dimension. Why are the moral boundaries there? Why is one course of action more practical than another? Why is it worth it to give up pleasure and do hard things? The experience of trusting male leadership as a child, and seeing it work out, helps a person keep their belief in God. In my own case, I trusted my Dad on things like saving and investing, studying computer science instead of English, living at home instead of going away to college, and many other things, and because I have seen that leadership produce dividends, it’s much easier for me to accept that I can be a disciple of Jesus and trust him when things don’t go my way. I am used to not getting my way right now, but having it work out well later. I have experienced it with my Dad.