Who is “to blame” for single parent households?

I just want to start this out by saying that I don’t think being a single parent means that your child is going to grow up to be a criminal.  I think that the children of single parents, given that everything else in their lives is the same as children in dual parent households, are just as likely to become criminals as any other child. 

I think we’ve all heard people (particularly people of certain political bents) talk about how being a child of a single mother is the #1 indicator of whether or not a child is going to grow up to be a criminal, or a drug addict, or another single parent, etc.  On the surface, the statistics sort of lean that way, so I can see why people might come to that conclusion.  But statistics are notoriously inaccurate, and can be made to say anything.

If we were to conduct a scientific study to determine whether or not those statistics do represent the truth, we would need to observe from conception to adulthood, a large number of children who were all EXACTLY the same (in economic status, education access, education level of the parents, the parenting style of their parents, work habits of the parents, number of siblings, number of aunts/uncles/grandparents/cousins, how far extended family is from them, type of community grown up in, dietary preferences, cultural histories, etc) in every way, except half of them would come from single parent homes, and half of them would come from dual parent homes.  We would need to observe them from conception to adulthood to make sure all variables stay the same, and see how many of the children from each group became criminals.  We would need them to be the same in every other way so we can isolate the status of their parent’s marriage as the only possible contributing factor towards whether or not these children become criminals (that’s called a control).

Obviously, this could never be done.  You’d be hard pressed to find four kids who could fit this description, let alone the thousands it would take to get an accurate scientific conclusion.  So to start with, we have to take any kind of interpretation of the statistics with a grain of salt.  How many other factors could contribute to the children becoming criminals?  There are no controls in those studies.

But lets for a minute, pretend they are true.  Pretend in some magical universe we were actually able to scientifically prove that being the child of a single parent makes you more likely to grow up to be a criminal.

What in God’s name would make anyone think that this is the single mother’s fault?

These people go on and on about how important it is to have two parents.  So why isn’t it the dead beat dad’s fault that the child grows up to be the criminal?  Why are we placing blame on the one parent who actually sticks around and lives up to their responsibility?  If both are so important, don’t both bear at least equal responsibility?

If dads are so important, then isn’t it their fault if the children grow up to be criminals in their absence?  I mean, its at least as much their fault as it is the mothers, right?  So why does all their blame fall on the single mother?

Single mothers are bad parents?

Dads who abandon their children bear no responsibility for any negative outcomes abandonment produces?

Now, there are lots of different kinds of single mothers.  The Anne Coulters of this world seem to have it out for single mothers by choice.  Women who, for a variety of reasons, choose to have children outside of marriage.  Of course, only single mothers who willfully deny a father to their children are bad, right?  The Anne Coulters of this world do not seem to take into account us mothers who did not want to be single mothers, but are doing the best we can to raise our children on our own, because the men who sired them refused to take responsibility.   Single mothers NOT by choice far outnumber single mothers by choice, and we did not push our childrens’ fathers out, they abandoned us.  They abandoned their children. 

The Anne Coulters of the world over look the fact that the children of single mothers by choice are much less likely, according to the statistics, to grow up to be criminals.  Single mothers by choice are more likely to be financially stable, well educated and healthy, they planned their pregnancies and had preparation opportunities that unplanned pregnancies don’t have, among a variety of other factors that very likely play a significant role in whether or not a child grows up to be a criminal.  

So if the majority of single mothers who are “creating” the statistic that these people deplore are not single mothers because they want to be, but rather because the men they were with ran away and refused to take responsibility, isn’t it the dead-beat-dad’s fault that these children are growing up to be criminals (or whatever) and not the moms fault?  Isn’t it the fault of the person who ran away?  The person who created the single parent household?

Anne Coulter recently wrote a book with a chapter titled, “Victim of a Crime?  Thank a single mother”.  She is entitled to her unscientific review of the statistics, I suppose.  But I don’t understand why she wouldn’t title the chapter “Victim of a Crime?  Thank a dead-beat-dad”.  Why is it the mother’s fault that these children grow up to be criminals?  Why isn’t it the dad who ran away’s fault?  What Anne is basically saying here is that an absent father does more good raising a child than a present mother does.  That a mother alone is a danger to a child, and only the presence of a father can undo that danger.  But the absence of a father is not a big deal, as long as the child isn’t left with a mother.

If this is the case, perhaps then the Anne Coulters of the world should support gay adoption.  Surely two fathers are even better than a father and a mother!  Of course, I suppose they would be REALLY against lesbian adoption.  Two mothers must be even worse than one single mother!

Its just ridiculous.  These people are just spiteful and sexist.  I would have a lot more respect for their views (even though I disagree with them) if they would hold all parties equally responsible.

This society does not hold men responsible for parenting (as the “single moms are responsible for violent crime” hypothesis proves), and yet bemoans men’s lack of parental rights.  I have said it a million times, rights exist only in conjunction with responsibility.  When men have equal responsibility, they will get equal rights.


About Rockingthehomestead

Badass feminist environmentalist.
This entry was posted in Education, News, Politics, Single Mom and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Who is “to blame” for single parent households?

  1. Katy says:

    It is always easier for people to lump people into groups and point fingures at them than it is to actually address this issues. Its hard to not take it personally though.

  2. thesingleparentblog says:

    Statistics are merely a sampling of individuals and does not reflect a true and accurate portrait of American society. Additionally, many researchers are biased in their approach in arriving at their desired result – which is usually proving their hypothesis. I don’t believe that growing up and being a criminal has to do with whether you were raised in a single parent household our dual-parent household – I think it has to do with your upbringing. It has to do with whether you were shown affection and loved as a child and if the parent supported the child during their educational process, sporting events and other activities the child may have been involved with. It all boils down to the emotional development of the child.

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