Even in Sweden’s generous welfare state, kids in single parent homes more at risk

“If children without fathers fare worse than children in two-parent families, say defenders of single mothers, the answer is better pay for women and better social programs. Yet even in Sweden with its generous welfare state, a major 2003 study found that children raised in single-parent homes were at significantly higher risk for addictions and serious psychiatric problems.”

A nice piece from Cathy Young in the Boston GlobeSingle mothers and the baby boom (5/26/09). She writes:

In the past 10 years, with my biological clock winding down and no husband in sight, I have been asked quite a few times if I had considered having a child on my own. What used to be scandalous is now practically a conventional life choice.

The economic and social pressures that used to propel people into marriage no longer exist; even Bristol Palin, the daughter of Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, a conservative Christian, can opt out of marrying her baby’s father without opprobrium. Expectations of love and emotional satisfaction in marriage are much higher than they once were. Gender roles are in flux. In today’s economy, working-class women often have better job opportunities than men, yet men’s marital desirability is still linked to the traditional notion of the “good provider.”

Judging personal choices is tricky; while I strongly believe in the importance of fathers, I cannot be sure what choice I would have made if children were a higher priority for me. Certainly, many single parents do a wonderful job of raising their children and many married couples do not. But in general, the two-parent family does work best for children, women, and men, and marriage seems the best way to ensure it. No one wants to go back to the day when unwed mothers and their children were outcasts. But restoring a cultural commitment to married parenting is a goal that should unite sensible conservatives, sane fathers’ rights advocates, and reasonable feminists.

Read the full article here.

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