America’s Babies

Here’s an interesting excerpt from the October 8 Chronicle Independent. In the “Noted and Passed” column, the editors say:

In reading the birth announcements in a recent edition of this newspaper, we noticed something that might have occurred before but which we hadn’t seen: Not a single of the babies listed was born to a married couple. Yes, we know that’s the way it’s happening these days, but it doesn’t make us like it. Kids growing up without a father in the home have sociologically recognized disadvantages that make their route through life more difficult.

I wonder if the editors of the Independent realize the magnitude of this phenomenon. Would they be surprised to learn that one of every four children born in America is to a single mother? When I shared that startling statistic with my husband, he asked me why I used the term “single mother.” I said, “You figure it out, Hon. How many single fathers are taking care of these children?” I know that in many situations, it’s the father who takes responsibility for the child, but most of the time the mother is the primary caregiver, a mother who is often young, financially challenged, uneducated, and so forth.

My earlier background in sociology taught me about cultural universals, traits that are part of every known culture, and one common element among the dozens of universals is the family. Family functions everywhere include the control of sexual reproduction and the care and upbringing of children.

What has happened in the United States? Who’s raising America’s children? What might be some sociological, psychological, emotional, financial, and educational consequences for these children if this trend continues? Yes, I realize that’s a lot of questions. Just pick something and react.

Author: jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer

12 thoughts on “America’s Babies”

  1. So true in a lot of ways, however, it is better to have one good parent in the home than two bad ones. I have found this to be true in many cases. My home life was miserable as a child because of my Dad’s alcoholism and violent nature when drinking. My Mom was a co-dependent and it was terrible. She was having babies one after another and back then, the husband had to sign for the wife to have her tubes tied, etc. He would not do it until she almost died with the 7th child. I come from a family of 3 boys and 3 girls in ages from 68 to 53. The oldest just died in July from cancer. My Dad died in an accident while drinking 22 years ago. My Mom died in 2002 from numerous health and heart problems. She had been blind the last 10 years of her life. We all exhibit some form of faulty coping mechanism because of this home life situation as a child. My Mom did not drink and I believed that is what saved us.

  2. That is so sad, clowncollector, and so true that one good parents is better than two bad. Our generation didn’t “broadcast” things and I have been shocked to learn how things really were for some I knew! It’s like note comparing for some. I know a lady who overcame enormous odds and is quite successful and high ranking with a science lab…by the Grace of God, she is quick to say.
    It seems that we are supposed to be more “enlightened” and one could jusifiably presume that somewhere along the line figure out what’s best for the child, rather than just “wanting a baby”…I’m referring to personal knowledge of some who are deliberately getting pregnant knowing they’ll go it alone, without higher education/higher income and so forth. Thank you, Lord, that gone are the days when husbands had so much control!!!

  3. Thanks for checking out the blog and responding. Your comments serve as a great reminder that every situation is different; there are no blanket theories or solutions that cover every situation. I feel compassion for you and your family, especially your mother. She must have been a strong woman who really loved you and your siblings. I’m not making excuses for him, but your dad must’ve had his own demons to deal with.

    But what are some answers for the increasing numbers of children born to single mothers? Do you understand this social phenomenom?

  4. Odale, this is too weird. Looks like we were both posting our comments about the same time. I agree with you and clowncollector that one good parent is better than two bad ones. I have a friend who was afraid to leave her jerk of a husband because of how it might affect her young son, and some of hte best advice she received was, “If the custodial parent is okay, then the child will be okay.” And believe me, this woman was more than okay. She was and is terrific and has her “head on straight.”

    I too am glad that the days when men have so much control are coming to an end…or at least dwindling. I still know plenty of women (single and married) who have to check with the men in their lives about so many things that it’s crazy. I think it was Susan B. Anthony who said that marriage for women should be like it is for men…a luxury and not a necessity. Economics is the factor here, I guess.

    Seems like I went off on a tangent and got away from the original theme, but I really feel strongly about these things.

  5. In my work (grant proposals) I read statistics and surveys and asssimilate a lot of info. One guy, George Barna, and his group have such excellent sources because he tells it like it is, especially to pastors(sociological and theological research).
    It hurts me to say this, but so many do not want to hear the bad news. Just add a new program, keep people entertained, and keep the numbers up…that’s not to say secular entities are any better off in their “operations” but we are supposed to be “set apart”…I am positive that this has to do with permissiveness in sex and across the board in things that used to be taboo.
    Did I mention the very filthy comment a (seemingly drunk) guy left me late one night because of my stand for God? He cussed the President, the Army, the war, and me, among other issues he made in to nonsense. He then cussed me for being a child of God! Not one ccomment, but two! It was deranged… that’s the heart we are, and are going to be, dealing with, I’m afraid…

  6. Marla Jayne, forgive my typos! I have trouble seeing this print in the comment box sometimes when I’ve been at this screen too many hours!! Been here since 5:15 this a.m. with only a couple of breaks! 😉 It starts running together! :-)) Trying to get caught up from being in church so much getting things ready and will have Camp Meeting until Thursday. You know how it is!! Fun, but busy!
    God Bless You and I am always praying for you!!

  7. Just a quick thought. I think the problem has always been around, but I would rather have a single parent than have a woman abort her child.

  8. Odale, I think we’re singing from the same song sheet about the stats and information that no one really wants to discuss, but I’m not sure. An example of what I’m talking about is that America has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the civilized world (whatever that means), that one of every four teens has contracted at least one STD before graduating from high school, that four in ten babies are born to single moms, that the numers of couples cohabitating are increasing, and so forth. I’ll even put out a “feeler” post in the online courses and mention that SES often figures into maybe of the issues we’ll discuss ranging from mortality rates to health care. I ask them if they think we should sweep such “troubling” things under the rug or bring them out into the open. They ALL say they they want to be open about it, but when we begin discussing topics that “hit home” and make some feel uncomfortable, then some accuse other of being prejudiced in some way, shape, or form. Okay, that’s it. I’m off of my soapbox.

    5:!5 a.m.??

  9. Marlene, I agree that the problem has always been around; it just seems to be of greater magnitude today. And yes, I’d opt for a single parent over an abortion any day.

  10. Yes, it’s amazing, my dear Marla Jayne, that so much is sighed about and treated as if it’s going to fix itself. I just upset some people at church because one lady actually said that we can’t and should not “do” anything. God will take care of everything. Yes, I believe God can take care of everything but aren’t we His shepherds, tending the sheep so that none become lost? It’s so frustrating to hear people say our role is silence.. We are supposed to speak up at some point, aren’t we? You are right on the money about our young folk and I was told that we should empathize. Of course we empathize but what action are we to take?!? You know, there was a time when unmarried couples living together could not take communion or be church members. One in four teens contracting an STD would be horrifying and teen pregancy was a thing families kept secret, as much concerned about being a hindrance to others as due to shame. I was basically told that I was off topic (I was leading Bible Study, I thought) and we were supposed to be discussing reconciliation and resolution…??? God is love, indeed, but we live in a time that that’s all people want to hear, no boundaries. Sigh…
    I agree, Marlene, that a single parent is better than abortion but somewhere along the line it became commonly accepted to have babies out of wedlock. I am not for abortion but, at the same time, I hate the thought of “back alley” operations, coat hangers, etc. Another one of the deceptions…

  11. Yes, I sincerely believe we are to speak up. I’m thinking of a quote that goes something like, “Stand for something or fall for anything.” God is love is still true, but it’s also still true that His commandments are true. Just because the world has changed, it doesn’t mean that His message, commandmants, or expectations have.

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