Monday, January 31, 2011

“Nobody Gets Married Any More, Mister”

From the City Journal, a moving and perceptive account of a teacher in an urban school, and the trials of his female students, quite frequently pregnant and never married.

In terms of the welfare of a child, having an unmarried mother is about the worst thing that can happen to the child. But having kids of out wedlock of socially acceptable. And these girls can’t imagine it being any other way.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Matt Wion said...

"In terms of the welfare of a child, having an unmarried mother is about the worst thing that can happen to the child."

"ABOUT THE WORT THING THAT CAN HAPPEN TO THE CHILD"!!!!!!!!!!!

Worse than having two married parents that physically and psychologically abuse the child? Or two married parents who neglect and manipulate the child?

I'll take a single parent who is loving and caring, over a married couple that is abusive, cruel, or just plain incompetent.

A fail to see what logic can justify the claim that "having an unmarried mother" is right up there with sexual, psychological, and physical abuse, or neglect.

8:40 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

I'm talking statistics, Matt.

All kinds of indicators show kids with only a mom to be vastly worse off than kids in a two-parent family.

As for "abuse," that's vastly more likely in a single-parent environment. (Didn't you read the article?) The single person most likely to abuse a kid is mom's live-in boyfriend.

Of course, the worst married-couple household is worse than the best single parent household. But then, some people who drop out of high school do better in life than some others who complete college.

That doesn't change the fact that being a high-school drop-out is bad.

The fact that you reacted negatively to the facts is an interesting sociological insight in itself. Secular liberals won't condemn any kind of family arrangement, even if it's demonstrably bad for kids.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Matt Wion said...

I'm willing to consider the argument that a child is best off in a two-parent home.

I am even willing to consider the argument that it is best for the parents to be "one-man" and "one-woman." I am unpersuaded that the matter is so clear, simple, and established .. but I think it is worth intelligent discussion and debate.

And it is probably right to worry about boyfriends abusing the children of single moms, which may very well be the most common abuse scenario.

My quibble is not necessarily with your claims, but, rather, with your language.

It seems to me that referring to single moms as "about the worst thing that can happen to a child" is (a) insensitive to the plight of single mothers, many of whom are not only loving parents, but who work themselves practically to death to support their children and give them a wonderful life; and (b) compares single-motherhood in itself to physical and psychological abuse (indeed, it even suggests that single mother hood may be worse). Such a claim is clearly untrue.

Now, I suspect you don't mean to say that having a single mom is as bad as child abuse .. your response shows me that you probably don't think this.

But I think the language is too strong. Which is my only point.

8:08 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Matt,

A couple of things you should look at:

Welfare Reform

Illegitimacy and abuse

It's good that women who have had a child out of wedlock love the child and do their best to raise it well.

But the simple fact is that they have had a child whose life-chances are damaged.

Of course, one could blame the culture. They may live in a culture where stable married life is a pipedream.

But then . . . we have to ask why this is so, and be clear on the evils that follow from that culture.

4:58 PM  

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