There has been a good deal of media commentary recently on the riots in London and "flash mob" activity in Philadelphia and elsewhere in the US. Many...commentators have noted that the teens involved in the rioting were largely from single-parent homes. Given the recent dramatic increases in the number of single-parent families in U.S. society, a serious problem may be developing here as well. The cause of this developing problem has been assumed to be the lower economic status of single-parent families and the likelihood that the mothers raising these children are "overwhelmed." But decades of research on single-parent families in the U.S., almost all of them headed by women, have made it pretty clear that the problems of the children raised in these families have very little to do with poverty and very much to do with father absence. [There are] startling differences in the social health and academic achievement between those children raised without biological fathers in their homes as compared with children raised in intact, two-parent families, even when research results are adjusted for factors such as family income.The data that confirms the objective superiority of the nuclear family model over the single-parent "choice mommy" family model has been available for a long, long time. It just apparently takes, well, decades for the edgy, modern zeitgeist to acknowledge that yes, there was significant wisdom embedded in the traditions of lifelong monogamous marriage and a model of family that consists of a bio father, a bio mother, and their children. Moreover, those that have gone before us weren't necessarily the ignorant rustics, racists, sexists, and reactionaries our conceited self-absorbed culture casts them as. They recognized, accepted, and lived out a knowing that we ignore to our own detriment.
Almost no one will claim that the investment of a mother is not important to the healthy development of a child. But our society seems to say, in word, in social habit, and as a function of government policy, that the investment of a father is not. Thus I find it curious that leaders such as President Obama and Mayor Nutter of Philadelphia, rather than acknowledging that fathers and men have been deemed irrelevant and therefore free to act as the fashionable accessories that they now are, instead choose to lambast men for their "irresponsibility". In other words, we say that mom is essential, dad is a nice-to-have luxury, but out of the same mouth, dammit, you men are irresponsible for abandoning those hapless women and the children you so recklessly sired:
...it is somewhat absurd to hold men accountable for the problem of father absence in the society as a whole. Today, women initiate somewhere between two-thirds and three-quarters of all divorces in the U.S. and get sole custody of the children in 85%-90% of the cases. So it is interesting...that well into our society's current era of equal rights, our instinct is still to protect women--even if it means that we must blame men for a problem over which they have virtually no control. [A]sking dads to be "responsible"--the popular but simplistic pitch now endorsed by President Obama -- doesn't scratch the surface of this problem. [emphasis mine]While I agree with what the author has to say here, divorce, while symptomatic of the problem as a whole, is only part of the picture. For all over the culture we see evidence that couples are, well, coupling irresponsibly. And by "irresponsibly" I mean that they engage in congress without first marrying. Or bothering to marry after several sessions of congress have been held. Or failing to take their coupling seriously enough to give much thought to mate selection or, if they do marry, to hack their way through tough times. The other, much larger part of the problem is indicated by the text that I bolded above. We as a society seem afraid to hold women--the poor, fragile dears--accountable for their lifestyle choices, whatever they may be. Instead of letting women be fully accountable and fully responsible for their choices, our society is structured to soft-pedal the consequences of women's choices and blame-shift the cost to someone else. Usually men or "society" in general. And in doing so, we encourage more of the same irresponsible behavior that gets us the Milwaukee, Denver, Philly, and London riots.
The problem is choice...we have chosen to support, excuse, and even subsidize the choice mommy family model...and now we must deal with the unhappy and sometimes deadly consequences.