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Op-Ed: Epidemic of Single Parent Families In U.S. Undermines Our Future

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File photo: Ground Picture, Shutter Stock, licensed.
In America, single parent children have a higher risk of using drugs or alcohol, living in poverty, quitting school, violence, lower self-esteem, distrust of others, committing crimes and long-term relationship problems than do children of two parent families. File photo: Ground Picture, Shutter Stock, licensed.

SPRING HILL, FL – In the past, traditional households had a clear division of roles between the husband and wife. Men went to work on the land, in businesses or manufacturing industries. The wife prepared meals and took care of the home and children. The entire family usually ate together discussing their events of the day. Often both parents arrived at the appropriate method of discipline with the father taking the lead role in enforcing the agreed upon consequences. 

This united parental approach is too often not possible with over 40% of U.S. homes having a single parent raising the children. Divorce also creates single parent homes when one spouse lives somewhere else. In the rest of the world only 7% of the nations’ families have only one parent. 

In America many of these single parent children have a higher risk of using drugs or alcohol, living in poverty, quitting school, violence, lower self-esteem, distrust of others, committing crimes and long-term relationship problems than do children of two parent families. Obviously single parent families are difficult, not optimal in raising children.

Mothers and fathers are genetically, socially, and emotionally different. Mothers are maternal by nature. A mother’s instincts cannot be duplicated by a male. A mother will instinctually flick an infant on the cheek if they bite her breast while feeding. Mothers can differentiate the child’s cries. Almost immediately she will tell if the child’s cry is genuine or a sign of defiance to get their way. Mothers are especially important in the early years of the child’s life. 

Many married couples with youngsters are switching roles especially if the wife has a higher-level profession that pays significantly more. The “home husband” is a fish out of water. Often these house husbands want to imitate the wife’s subtle, calm mannerisms without realizing the baby has been trained by the mother’s nonverbal cues to stop the child’s cantankerous behavior. Additionally, the mother will put the baby in the crib and let them cry until they stop. This takes and intuitive sense that the child is not in danger and just needs to stop crying. 

On the other hand, the father’s strong voice and short temper usually plays a more powerful role as the child becomes more physically independent and mobile. Father’s role modeling makes it clear for the child to comprehend strength and tenacity is necessary to reach their goals. The father’s powerful and strong method of attacking problems straight on gives them authority to prevent any acting out shenanigans. When the child demands attention, it is usually easier for fathers to get them under control than the wife. 

Besides this fundamental difference between fathers and mothers leaving the family, it has terrible consequences. Divorce is the death of the family. Obviously, children are devastated emotionally and socially. Either parent abandoning the children will have a negative impact on the child which too often is not resolved. In many countries where an increase in population is desirable, a monetary stipend is given when a child is born. The United States can incentivize marriages on the brink of divorce by providing marriage counseling sessions. There should be no penalizing a family by the welfare authorities if the father decides to return to the home.

These are significant differences between single and two parent families. Replacing a father or mother in the 40% of households in the US might be compensated by enlarging our social welfare system. Inevitably child and daycare centers would have to be staffed and operational throughout the day and night. Schools would have to expand breakfast and lunch programs to include weekends. 

A parent’s work schedule might be flexible, but caregivers should be available every day for the child’s protection. Even adolescents would need to be fed, clothed, and taught many social skills to be successfully functioning adults. This would put greater pressure on our government schools not only to teach academics but to handle the more psychological issues. 

It is true that single parents have raised wonderful children, but they are rare. For the sake of our nation’s future, we need to attempt to keep families together. We should allow money and tax breaks to families to assist them to provide the material needs of the family. We should help these troubled families to understand the terrible consequences to their children’s future if they actually divorce. 

The media, especially Hollywood and television, need to return to portraying families as wholesome and fully necessary to the soul of our nation. The strength of our nation’s vitality is derived from healthy families. 

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