Families Are Fragile
Kay S. Hymowitz wrote about the fragile family effect, 3 weeks ago.
One of the study's most surprising initial findings was that the large majority - 80 percent - of poor, unmarried couples were romantically involved at the time of their child's birth. In fact, 50 percent of the couples were living together. Fathers almost always visited the mothers and children in the hospital and usually provided financial support. Even better, most of these new parents said that there was a 50-50 chance that they would eventually marry each other. They spoke highly of their partners' commitment to their children and of their supportiveness.
But within five years, a tiny 15 percent of the unmarried couples had taken wedding vows, while 60 percent had split up. At the five-year mark, only 36 percent of the children lived with their fathers, and half of the other 64 percent hadn't seen their dads in the last month. One-half to two-thirds of the absent fathers provided little or no financial support.
These families -- and society as a whole -- would have been far, far, far better off had these parents stayed together, instead of splitting up.
I don't know the full story of why 85% of the unmarried parents parted ways. But I can speculate as to one cause. Is it possible, is it conceivable, that welfare and broad societal support for "single mothers" is making mom feel comfortable about life without dad? Is it possible that welfare is making Dad feel okay about walking out on Mom?
I can only speculate but it would seem that Dad doesn't have to deal with the guilt of leaving Mom penniless and unsupported if he knows that Mom can register at the welfare office. And Mom doesn't have to worry about the implications of life without Dad if she knows that she can get a monthly support check with or without him.
I think it's a question worth asking. Is our compassion towards single moms leading us into a policy that creates more single moms and more "fragile" (broken) families?