In the "age of Trump" though, that admonition has gone out the window. Politics are perfectly acceptable if they are of the "Trump is a chump" variety. We saw that most recently in commentaries related to George H. W. Bush's funeral. Pundits (and Facebook and Twitter mobs) made it about Trump. This is the age of Trump in which everything is about Trump. And while this will annoy some readers (assuming there are any readers) the fault for this can be laid squarely at the feet of the Trump haters. They are the ones creating the "every story is a Trump story" atmosphere.
Even the murder of eleven Jews by a lunatic Jew hater who also hated Trump, was blamed on Trump.
But that's not what I wanted to talk about.
While anti-Trump speeches were found appropriate, Reverend Jasper Williams spoke the wrong politics. He condemned single mothers. Statistically, children of single mothers suffer more from pathologies of poverty, drug use, teen pregnancy, dropping out of school, and criminal behavior than children of two-parent families. Anecdotally, it was part of my daily life as a teacher in a small "urban" school district. I worked with some of these children. And yes, they had issues that children from two-parent families never had to deal with.
It cannot be denied that these children have a much harder time of it. Although, Nancy Kaffer, in a Detroit Free Press editorial does try to deny it. The problem is that she has no facts to prove Rev. Williams wrong.
It's actually a rather confused (or maybe just confusing to me) piece that tries to make the case that single parenthood is not as bad as we're led to believe.
That's not a problem with the Census; its purpose is to quantify. The problem lies with folks who use a simple measure of marital status and primary custody to draw sweeping conclusions about family relationships, the people in them, and what it all means — and who prescribe solutions for a social problem diagnosed using the wrong tools.
While half of such children living in single-parent households don't live in poverty, half do — a much higher rate than the children of married parents.
And that's the problem that misconceptions about single moms fuels: attacking single moms, or single parents of any gender, looks past the real problems parents face — and that means solutions to those problems will continue to elude us.The problem is that when you bring in actual statistics on the effects of growing up in a single parent household, those statistics show that there are problems that come with growing up minus a father.
Was Moynihan right in suggesting that children whose parents divorce or never marry have more than their share of problems? This question has been hotly debated ever since the publication of Moynihan’s report. On the one hand, growing up without both biological parents is clearly associated with worse average outcomes for children than growing up with them. Specifically, children growing up with a single mother are exposed to more family instability and complexity, they have more behavior problems, and they are less likely to finish high school or attend college than children raised by both of their parents. On the other hand, these differences in children’s behavior and success might well be traceable to differences that would exist even if the biological father were present.
In recent years, researchers have begun to use what they call “quasi-experimental” approaches to estimate the causal impact of growing up apart from one’s biological father. Some studies compare the outcomes of children living in states with liberal versus restrictive divorce laws. Others compare siblings who were different ages in the year when their father moved out. Still others compare the same child before and after the father left the child’s household. One important limitation of these studies is that while they all focus on children who are not living with both of their biological parents, they differ with respect to their comparison group, whether it is children raised by their mother alone, by their mother and a new spouse, or by their mother and a new partner to whom she is not married. Nonetheless, when taken together these studies are beginning to tell a consistent story. A recent review of 45 studies using quasi-experimental methods concluded that growing up apart from one’s father does reduce a child’s life chances in many domains.
The review’s authors examined the effects of a father’s absence on outcomes in four domains: educational attainment, mental health, labor market performance, and family formation. Growing up with only one biological parent reduces a child’s chances of graduating from high school by about 40 percent, which is similar to the effect of having a mother who did not finish high school rather than one who did. The absence of one’s biological father has not been shown to affect a child’s verbal and math test scores, however. The evidence for other indicators of educational performance, such as high school grades, skipping school, and college aspirations, is mixed, with some studies finding that father absence lowers school attendance and aspirations and others finding no effect. Most studies find larger effects on boys than on girls.