Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Can the negative effects of fatherlessness be attributed to other factors, like poverty?

Marriage and family

Marriage and family

Here’s a blog post from the Institute for Family Studies to answer that question.

Introduction:

Growing up without a father—whether that’s due to divorce, a nonmarital birth, or a father’s death—is associated with a host of negative effects. But given that children from low-income families, for instance, are more likely to live apart from their father in the first place, it can be hard to tell to what extent an absent father causes the problems that father absence is associated with, and to what extent other factors related to both family structure and child outcomes (like household income) are to blame.

Researchers Sara McLanahan, Laura Tach, and Daniel Schneider published a paper last year on exactly this problem. They reviewed 47 studies that used a variety of methods designed to uncover the causal effects of father absence, such as lagged dependent variable models, natural experiments, and individual fixed effects models.

Here’s one of the findings:

Labor Force: McLanahan and her colleagues found few studies on how father absence affects children’s employment and income in adulthood. The handful of analyses they did find are not entirely comparable; however, some of their findings were consistent. “Divorce was associated with lower levels of employment” in two studies, and in two other studies there were “higher levels of labor force inactivity among those who experienced divorce in early childhood.” In a fifth study, growing up with stepparents and with a single divorced mother had negative effects on occupational status, while growing up with a single widowed mother was not a disadvantage relative to growing up with stably married parents.

Here is Dr. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation to add some more evidence for this view.

He writes:

Census data and the Fragile Families survey show that marriage can be extremely effective in reducing child poverty. But the positive effects of married fathers are not limited to income alone. Children raised by married parents have substantially better life outcomes compared to similar children raised in single-parent homes.

When compared to children in intact married homes, children raised by single parents are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems; be physically abused; smoke, drink, and use drugs; be aggressive; engage in violent, delinquent, and criminal behavior; have poor school performance; be expelled from school; and drop out of high school.[19] Many of these negative outcomes are associated with the higher poverty rates of single mothers. In many cases, however, the improvements in child well-being that are associated with marriage persist even after adjusting for differences in family income. This indicates that the father brings more to his home than just a paycheck.

The effect of married fathers on child outcomes can be quite pronounced. For example, examination of families with the same race and same parental education shows that, when compared to intact married families, children from single-parent homes are:

  • More than twice as likely to be arrested for a juvenile crime;[20]
  • Twice as likely to be treated for emotional and behavioral problems;[21]
  • Roughly twice as likely to be suspended or expelled from school;[22] and
  • A third more likely to drop out before completing high school.[23]

The effects of being raised in a single-parent home continue into adulthood. Comparing families of the same race and similar incomes, children from broken and single-parent homes are three times more likely to end up in jail by the time they reach age 30 than are children raised in intact married families. [24] Compared to girls raised in similar married families, girls from single-parent homes are more than twice as likely to have a child without being married, thereby repeating the negative cycle for another generation.[25]

Finally, the decline of marriage generates poverty in future generations. Children living in single-parent homes are 50 percent more likely to experience poverty as adults when compared to children from intact married homes. This intergenerational poverty effect persists even after adjusting for the original differences in family income and poverty during childhood.[26]

Yesterday, on the Dennis Prager show, Dennis was discussing this article and this article during the male – female hour. He made the point that children raised by single mothers and divorced mothers don’t have the experience of growing up and seeing their mother love her husband and act like a wife towards him. No government program can provide that. It is important that boys and girls have that experience of seeing a woman love her husband, and seeing a man love his wife. Of seeing them in a committed, stable, purposeful relationship, trying to provide for and raise their children.

Today, a lot of women are watching Hollywood movies and TV shows where men are portrayed in a very negative way, e.g. – Mad Men. These shows are often written by people on the hard left – radical feminists and/or gay activists. A girl growing up in this environment is just not going to have access to a positive view of how men and women get along in a marriage, making them less marry-able. Less safe to marry. That example of man and wife would act as a counter to Hollywood, but too many boys and girls are growing up without it.

So what’s the take-home lesson? The take-home lesson is that we need to be more careful about choosing partners and having children. It’s probably a good idea to be less driven by emotions, peer approval and hormones, and more driven by rational thought and studies. Choose wisely, and test well.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New study: the presence of a father helps improves children’s mental health

Science Daily reports on a new study from McGill University.

Excerpt:

New findings from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) show that the absence of a father during critical growth periods, leads to impaired social and behavioral abilities in adults. This research, which was conducted using mice, was published today in the journal Cerebral Cortex. It is the first study to link father absenteeism with social attributes and to correlate these with physical changes in the brain.

[...]Dr. Gobbi and her colleagues compared the social behavior and brain anatomy of mice that had been raised with both parents to those that had been raised only by their mothers. Mice raised without a father had abnormal social interactions and were more aggressive than counterparts raised with both parents. These effects were stronger for female offspring than for their brothers. Females raised without fathers also had a greater sensitivity to the stimulant drug, amphetamine.

“The behavioral deficits we observed are consistent with human studies of children raised without a father,” says Dr. Gobbi, who is also a psychiatrist at the MUHC. “These children have been shown to have an increased risk for deviant behavior and in particular, girls have been shown to be at risk for substance abuse. This suggests that these mice are a good model for understanding how these effects arise in humans.”

In pups deprived of fathers, Dr. Gobbi’s team also identified defects in the mouse prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that helps control social and cognitive activity, which is linked to the behavioral deficits.

“This is the first time research findings have shown that paternal deprivation during development affects the neurobiology of the offspring,” says Dr. Gobbi. These results should incite researchers to look more deeply into the role of fathers during critical stages of growth and suggest that both parents are important in children’s mental health development.

This study is important because although we have a lot of data showing that fatherlessness children exhibit many problem behaviors when compared to children in married households, corelation doesn’t imply causation. Now we know about the causation that is behind the corelation. It’s the progress of science. It might not fit with feminist ideology, which claims that men in the home are dangerous and harmful to children. But you can’t argue with science – especially not with ideology.

Let’s talk another look at some of the problems with fatherlessness.

Here is Dr. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation to explain:

Census data and the Fragile Families survey show that marriage can be extremely effective in reducing child poverty. But the positive effects of married fathers are not limited to income alone. Children raised by married parents have substantially better life outcomes compared to similar children raised in single-parent homes.

When compared to children in intact married homes, children raised by single parents are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems; be physically abused; smoke, drink, and use drugs; be aggressive; engage in violent, delinquent, and criminal behavior; have poor school performance; be expelled from school; and drop out of high school.[19] Many of these negative outcomes are associated with the higher poverty rates of single mothers. In many cases, however, the improvements in child well-being that are associated with marriage persist even after adjusting for differences in family income. This indicates that the father brings more to his home than just a paycheck.

The effect of married fathers on child outcomes can be quite pronounced. For example, examination of families with the same race and same parental education shows that, when compared to intact married families, children from single-parent homes are:

  • More than twice as likely to be arrested for a juvenile crime;[20]
  • Twice as likely to be treated for emotional and behavioral problems;[21]
  • Roughly twice as likely to be suspended or expelled from school;[22] and
  • A third more likely to drop out before completing high school.[23]

The effects of being raised in a single-parent home continue into adulthood. Comparing families of the same race and similar incomes, children from broken and single-parent homes are three times more likely to end up in jail by the time they reach age 30 than are children raised in intact married families. [24] Compared to girls raised in similar married families, girls from single-parent homes are more than twice as likely to have a child without being married, thereby repeating the negative cycle for another generation.[25]

Finally, the decline of marriage generates poverty in future generations. Children living in single-parent homes are 50 percent more likely to experience poverty as adults when compared to children from intact married homes. This intergenerational poverty effect persists even after adjusting for the original differences in family income and poverty during childhood.[26]

My next post talks about the rise of women-perpetrated domestic violence in the UK. Maybe the increase in fatherlessness in the UK is to blame for women becoming more violence? And what causes fatherlessness? Well, the main driver of it is social programs that literally pay women welfare money to have children before they are married. Maybe we should stop doing that, because that seems to be causing children to become more violent – especially the next generation of women, as we’ll see in tomorrow’s article. In the meantime, I would just urge men to be very very careful about getting involved with women who grew up without a father. It’s something you need to account for.

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New study: casual sex linked to poor mental health and suicidal thoughts

Dina messaged me about this new study reported at Ohio State University, and published in the Journal of Sex Research.

Excerpt:

A new study suggests that poor mental health and casual sex feed off each other in teens and young adults, with each one contributing to the other over time.

Researchers found that teens who showed depressive symptoms were more likely than others to engage in casual sex as young adults.  In addition, those who engaged in casual sex were more likely to later seriously consider suicide.

“Several studies have found a link between poor mental health and casual sex, but the nature of that association has been unclear,” said Sara Sandberg-Thoma, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in human sciences at The Ohio State University.

“There’s always been a question about which one is the cause and which is the effect.  This study provides evidence that poor mental health can lead to casual sex, but also that casual sex leads to additional declines in mental health.”

Sandberg-Thoma conducted the study with Claire Kamp Dush, assistant professor of human sciences at Ohio State.  The research was published online recently in the Journal of Sex Research and will appear in a future print edition.

One surprising finding was that the link between casual sex and mental health was the same for both men and women.

“That was unexpected because there is still this sexual double standard in society that says it is OK for men to have casual sexual relationships, but it is not OK for women,” Kamp Dush said.

“But these results suggest that poor mental health and casual sex are linked, whether you’re a man or a woman.”

The study used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.  Adolescents from 80 high schools and 52 middle schools were interviewed when they were in grades 7 through 12 and then again when they were aged 18 to 26.

In all, this study involved about 10,000 people who were surveyed about their romantic relationship experiences across time, as well as depressive symptoms and thoughts of suicide.

Overall, 29 percent of the respondents reported engaging in any casual sexual relationship.  These were defined as any relationship in which the participant reported he or she was “only having sex with partner” as opposed to dating.  This included 33 percent of men and 24 percent of women.

The results showed that participants who reported serious thoughts of suicide or more depressive symptoms as teens were significantly more likely to report having casual sexual relationships when they were young adults.

Casual sex, in turn, was linked to further declines in mental health.  Specifically, those who had casual sex in their late teens and early 20s were significantly more likely to have serious thoughts of suicide as young adults, results showed.  In fact, each additional casual sex relationship increased the odds of suicidal thoughts by 18 percent.

However, casual sex in late teens and early 20s was not associated with changes in depression as a young adult.

I don’t think that parents cannot rely on the schools and universities to tell their children the truth about research like this. You’re more likely to get stuff like “Sex Week” at our institutions of higher education.

Here is what happens at Yale University’s “Sex Week”:

Yale has a long history of hosting sex-themed events at the university that appear, on the whole, to be intended more to titillate students than to educate them. Sex Weekend is organized by students, but is overseen and approved by university administrators, who grant the use of classrooms and university facilities for the events.

Numerous U.S. universities have begun to host “Sex Weeks” in recent years, a trend that was pioneered by Yale. Past events at Yale have included appearances by porn stars, live nudity, sex-toy giveaways, and screenings of a hard-core porn films, including one that reportedly depicted “fantasy rape.”

And don’t forget the workshops taught not by researchers, but by sex shop owners:

The workshop was taught by Jill McDevitt, a 27-year-old “sexologist” who also owns a sex shop in West Chester, Pennsylvaina, which sells vibrators and various sex toys.

She has posted videos of her educational workshops online, including one in which she demonstrates oral sex on a carrot.

So the university administration at Yale is presenting sex to students one way, but not really appealing to their minds with research studies. I think that they want to push young people to engage in premarital sex, especially hook-up sex, without telling them a thing about the consequences of doing so. Doing immoral things definitely breaks down your ability to be moral, and to make moral judgments. And that’s what the left does in order to make sure that the next generation is not conservative. People who have been socialized to think that promiscuity is normal are going to have a much more difficult time transitioning into marriage and parenting. And people who are not married and not parenting typically vote for parties on the political left.If we want to do something to counter what kids are told on university campuses during “Sex Week”, it’s up to us to use evidence from studies like the one above to make a case to them before they get the propaganda.

Filed under: News, , , , , ,

Mark Steyn and Thomas Sowell on “the knockout game”

First, Mark Steyn writing in National Review. (H/T Jay Richards)

Excerpt:

In his book The Abolition of Man, he writes of “men without chests” — the chest being “the indispensable liaison” between the head and the gut, between “cerebral man” and “visceral man.” In the chest beat what Lewis calls “the trained emotions.” Without them there is no honor or virtue, but only “intellect” and/or “appetite.”

Speaking of appetite, have you played the “Knockout” game yet? Groups of black youths roam the streets looking for a solitary pedestrian, preferably white (hence the alternate name “polar-bearing”) but Asian or Hispanic will do. The trick is to knock him to the ground with a single punch. There’s a virtually limitless supply of targets: In New York, a 78-year-old woman was selected, and went down nice and easy, as near-octogenarian biddies tend to when sucker-punched. But, when you’re really rockin’, you can not only floor the unsuspecting sucker but kill him: That’s what happened to 46-year-old Ralph Santiago of Hoboken, N.J., whose head was slammed into an iron fence, whereupon he slumped to the sidewalk with his neck broken. And anyway the one-punch rule is flexible: In upstate New York, a 13-year-old boy socked 51-year-old Michael Daniels but with insufficient juice to down him. So his buddy threw a bonus punch, and the guy died from cerebral bleeding. Widely available video exists of almost all Knockout incidents, since the really cool thing is to have your buddies film it and upload it to YouTube. And it’s so simple to do in an age when every moronic savage has his own “smart phone.”

There’s no economic motive. The 78-year-old in New York was laden with bags from department stores, but none were touched. You slug an elderly widow not for the 50 bucks in her purse but for the satisfaction of seeing her hit the pavement. In response, some commentators are calling for these attacks to be recategorized: As things stand, if white youths target a black guy it’s a hate crime, but vice versa is merely common assault. I doubt this would make very much difference. “No justification of virtue will enable a man to be virtuous,” wrote Lewis — and, likewise, no law can prevent a thug punching an old lady to the ground if the thug is minded to. “A society’s first line of defense is not the law but customs, traditions, and moral values,” wrote Professor Walter Williams a few years ago. “They include important thou-shalt-nots such as shalt not murder, shalt not steal, shalt not lie and cheat, but they also include all those courtesies one might call ladylike and gentlemanly conduct. Policemen and laws can never replace these restraints on personal conduct.”

Restraint is an unfashionable concept these day, but it is the indispensable feature of civilized society. To paraphrase my compatriot George Jonas, punching a spinster’s lights out isn’t wrong because it’s illegal, it’s illegal because it’s wrong. But, in a world without restraints, what’s to stop you? If a certain percentage of your population feels no moral revulsion at randomly pulverizing fellow citizens for sport, a million laws will avail you naught: The societal safety lock is off.

Let’s hear from black economist Thomas Sowell about why this is not widely reported. (H/T Mysterious WGB)

Excerpt:

The main reason for many people’s surprise is that the mainstream media have usually suppressed news about the “knockout game” or about other and larger forms of similar orchestrated racial violence in dozens of cities in every region of the country. Sometimes the attacks are reported, but only as isolated attacks by unspecified “teens” or “young people” against unspecified victims, without any reference to the racial makeup of the attackers or the victims — and with no mention of racial epithets by the young hoodlums exulting in their own “achievement.”

Despite such pious phrases as “troubled youths,” the attackers are often in a merry, festive mood. In a sustained mass attack in Milwaukee, going far beyond the dimensions of a passing “knockout game,” the attackers were laughing and eating chips, as if it were a picnic.

One of them observed casually, “white girl bleed a lot.”

[...]Some in the media, as well as in politics, may think that they are trying to avoid provoking a race war by ignoring or playing down these attacks. But the way to prevent a race war is by stopping these attacks, not trying to sanitize them.

If these attacks continue, and continue to grow, more and more people are going to know about them, regardless of the media or the politicians. Responsible people of all races need to support a crackdown on these attacks, which can provoke a white backlash that can escalate into a race war. But political expediency leads in the opposite direction.

What is politically expedient is to do what Attorney General Eric Holder is doing — launch campaigns against schools that discipline a “disproportionate” number of black male students. New York City’s newly elected liberal mayor is expected to put a stop to police “stop and frisk” policies that have reduced the murder rate to one-fourth of what it was under liberal mayors of the past.

I think that the biggest cause of crime in this society is fatherlessness, which we not only refuse to judge on moral grounds, but which we actually subsidize with our taxpayer dollars.

Dr. Michael Tanner of the libertarian Cato Institute explains one of the causes of fatherlessness in his testimony to Congress:

Welfare contributes to crime in several ways. First, children from single-parent families are more likely to become involved in criminal activity. According to one study, children raised in single-parent families are one-third more likely to exhibit anti-social behavior.(3) Moreover, O’Neill found that, holding other variables constant, black children from single- parent households are twice as likely to commit crimes as black children from a family where the father is present. Nearly 70 percent of juveniles in state reform institutions come from fatherless homes, as do 43 percent of prison inmates.(4) Research indicates a direct correlation between crime rates and the number of single-parent families in a neighborhood.(5)

As Barbara Dafoe Whitehead noted in her seminal article for The Atlantic Monthly:

The relationship [between single-parent families and crime] is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime. This conclusion shows up time and again in the literature. The nation’s mayors, as well as police officers, social workers, probation officers, and court officials, consistently point to family break up as the most important source of rising rates of crime.(6)

At the same time, the evidence of a link between the availability of welfare and out-of-wedlock births is overwhelming. There have been 13 major studies of the relationship between the availability of welfare benefits and out-of-wedlock birth. Of these, 11 found a statistically significant correlation. Among the best of these studies is the work done by June O’Neill for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Holding constant a wide range of variables, including income, education, and urban vs. suburban setting, the study found that a 50 percent increase in the value of AFDC and foodstamp payments led to a 43 percent increase in the number of out-of-wedlock births.(7) Likewise, research by Shelley Lundberg and Robert Plotnick of the University of Washington showed that an increase in welfare benefits of $200 per month per family increased the rate of out-of-wedlock births among teenagers by 150 percent.(8)

The same results can be seen from welfare systems in other countries. For example, a recent study of the impact of Canada’s social-welfare system on family structure concluded that “providing additional benefits to single parents encourages births of children to unwed women.”(9)

So what can we do? We can bring back moral judgments. I think that we have to get to the point in society where we realize that all of this permissiveness about “forgiving” people who fail to be responsible with sexuality and marriage actually does harm to society. When you refuse to pass judgment on premarital sex and divorce, and even make it financially lucrative for the people who engage in it (single mother welfare, alimony, child support) then you get more fatherless children, not less.

Although it is tempting to want to be liked for being “compassionate”, we have to look beyond our feelings and our vanity and start to think about the big picture. We need to shame people who are unchaste. We need to shame single mothers. We need to shame people who divorce and blame them for marrying badly. We need to cut off all the subsidies for people who make decisions that deprive children of their fathers. We need to stop the normalization of premarital sex that occurs in our schools. We need to shame women who choose men for sex when those men are not capable of being husbands and fathers.

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Should college students be allowed to opt out of graphic sex education?

Life News reports.

Excerpt:

When 18-year-old twins Bella and Angelica Ayala found out that the sexual harassment session in their freshman orientation program included a graphic sex-ed presentation, they decided to opt out. The pro-life Catholic students respectfully voiced their desire to not partake in the program prior to its start.

Bella told the pro-life group Survivors, “My sister actually contacted the orientation program beforehand to request that we be exempt from attending this part of orientation, but was given an ambiguous answer.”

A week after Angelica called the orientation program, a mass e-mail was sent out from the New Student & Transition Programs citing UCLA’s policy codes and federal/state laws saying the presentation was mandated. Regardless, the Ayalas later received permission from their counselors to leave the program. The option to not partake in the sex-ed part of the program was not given to any other students.

Angelica was told she wouldn’t have to be present during the sex ed portion, but after she walked out, she was later reprimanded and told she’d have to make up the session. If she refused to make up the session, she was informed that the university would put a hold on her academic records.

Before the session, the twins distributed literature to their peers that discussed STDs and risks of having sex prior to marriage. A counselor seeing the students reading the literature said, “This is not the message we want to communicate.” The counselor told Angelica she knew she was responsible for passing out the literature and it wasn’t allowed because the talk was a private event and she’d need permission from the dean’s office to hand out information. A counselor took the pamphlets from the students by demanding they pass back the materials.

Jewish radio show host Dennis Prager often calls universities and colleges “left-wing seminaries”, and stories like this help us to see why. More examples can be found in Prager’s story on Florida Atlantic University and Prager’s story on the University of Southern California.

If you are going to college, I really recommend that you try to focus on STEM areas (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). You do not want left-wing radicals taking your money and using the power of grading to indoctrinate you in false views. University is not the place for you to critically examine the views of leftists. There is no critical thinking in a left-wing seminary. It’s better to get your degree in computer science, get a job, and then work on the big questions on your own without having to face coercion and narrow-mindedness.

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