On Single Parenting.

If you follow my Twitter, you have probably seen the following bit from The View where Ann Coulter opens her mouth and yet again shows the world what a complete waste of oxygen she is. (If you can’t sit through that, and I don’t blame you for it, here is a summary.)

To sum it up a little more succinctly even:

“Look at any societal problem, and it is a problem of single motherhood.”

Yes. Really.

I really try not to put too much thought into anything this woman says, because I know that it’s mainly a shock-rocky kind of act to sell books and get people talking about her. In her world,  any publicity is good publicity. I know this, and therefore, usually tend to laugh it off.  I can’t imagine many people take her seriously, I mean, really, how can you? She’s clearly batshit.

Just look at her, look at the expression on her face when she talks. I realize I am judging here, and I don’t actually care. She’s either full of shit, or crazy as a loon. Either way, she promotes ignorance and divisiveness with her books and her comments.

Her “Single mothers are responsible for most of the problems in the world.” spiel is hard to ignore, however. I am a single mother, technically. And I have seen, firsthand, the many issues facing women who end up, for whatever reason, raising children alone. The last thing we need is people like her spouting off ridiculous drivel like this just to sell books.

(What we need is help that actually helps.)

She also states that people shouldn’t willingly become single parents, pointing at the celebrities who have supposedly made it a fad to collect babies and raise them alone. She pushes the idea of the nuclear family as being the best environment for a child and says things like “Home with her husband is the safest place a woman can be.”

(What happens when her husband is an abusive alcoholic?)

I’m tired of the idea that the nuclear family is the idea we should all strive for. While I agree that kids do better when they have stable loving adults in the mix, I do not agree that those people have to be living in the same house, the same sex, or even that they must be the actual biological parents. Having loving people who care for you is important, yes. Having the stereotypical ideal of a perfect nuclear family, not so much. There are, for example, many homosexual couples out there that would willingly create a more loving and nurturing home for a child than many heterosexual couples achieve. And there are plenty of women who choose to get pregnant and raise children by more unconventional means who have lovely, happy, well-adjusted children who are going to become productive members of society.

She likes to throw out bits about how she is just stating the facts by saying these things. I looked around a little bit, to see what facts I could find.  The very first thing that came up when I googled “Single parenting and crime rates” was this. It’s pretty clear that she did the same when finding facts to back up her book, as some of her talking points  seem to be take word for word from this page. Which, is surely unbiased and agenda-free, as the name DivorceReform.org implies. <Insert sarcasm here>

I especially like how that article claims , “All but three of 23 recent studies found some family structure effect on crime or delinquency.” And then goes on to quote studies from the 1980’s and 1990’s almost exclusively.

I don’t actually know who she cites for her facts in the book, but I’d be interested to see those studies. I’d especially like to know where she got this:

It’s about 70% of the prison population, 60% to 70% of future unwed mothers — of murderers, of rapists, of juvenile delinquents, of teenage runaways. You could — you could, you know, you could solve many of the world’s problems, reduce all of these problems by 60% to 70% if women would just get married before having children.

Yes, if only seventy percent of the criminals out there had had Dads at home, they’d never have committed those crimes. Even if 70% of the prison population was from single parent families, that does not in any way indicate that it is the cause of their criminality.

I went looking for myself to see if I could find a somewhat legit source for stats on this, but it wasn’t easy.  The U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of statistics had this to say regarding family background of incarcerated criminals:

  • Thirty-one percent of jail inmates had grown up with a parent or guardian who abused alcohol or drugs
  • About 12 percent had lived in a foster home or institution.
  • Forty-six percent had a family member who had been incarcerated.
  • More than 50% of the women in jail said they had been physically or sexually abused in the past, compared to more than 10% of the men.

Note: No statistics regarding parents being single there.

She claims that the majority of criminals come from single parent homes. Therefore single mothers are to blame. What about drug abuse, and family history of felons? What about all the other factors?

What about poverty? She completely fails to take into account how hard it is to make ends meet. How near impossible it is in this society to raise a child on one income.  It’s tough making ends meet, for most, on two incomes, let alone one. And it is a fact that Children in father-absent homes are five times more likely to be poor. In 2002, 7.8 percent of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 38.4 percent of children in female-householder families. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Children’s Living Arrangements and Characteristics: March 2002, P200-547, Table C8. Washington D.C.: GPO, 2003.)

People on that side of the fence like to mutter about how women are out there just churning out kids so they can get their guv’ment cheese, or whatever, and while, granted, there are some instances of people abusing the system, the amount of “help” single parents actually get from the system in this country is laughable.

I am not going to get into my personal experiences with this today, although, believe me, I do have them, and I promise I will go there one day. But take it on faith that I do actually know what I am talking about here.

The celebrities and television shows that supposedly “glamorize” single motherhood do exist. But, most of the time, they portray a single woman who is a professional, who has money and resources and who chooses to have a child without a male partner for whatever reason.And there’s nothing wrong with it.

The kids that end up as her statistics, however, are likely those that are born into poverty, who have parents that work several jobs and are never there to supervise, or who have addictions or diseases to cope with. Or, as the numbers actually do seem to suggest, have a parent who is in prison, remember this from above, “Forty-six percent had a family member who had been incarcerated.”

To say that not having the traditional nuclear family is the cause of these criminals is flat out wrong. It may be a factor in many of their lives, something that many criminals have in common, but what caused them to become criminals was more likely the other conditions in which they live. Not the the fact that they have single mothers. Put another way, just because it happens to correlate, does not mean that it is the cause of all that ails this world.

Single parents need all the help we can get. Not bullshit “facts” claiming we raise criminals.  And,  No. I don’t suggest having babies at age 16 and parenting them alone, because it’s a very hard thing to do. But it does happen, and people do get divorced, and fathers do die, or go to prison,  and we, as a society, should have a better system of support in place for parents who end up going at it alone. One that actually makes it possible for people to move out of poverty, one that makes it easier to raise educated well fed and well adjusted children to become productive members of society.

Sitting around blaming people for being ” Guilty Liberal Victims” isn’t helping any.  You can sit around and bitch about who’s fault everything is, or you can try to come up with a way to make things better, for all children. Even those with single parents. I don’t care what your politics are, if you don’t like the way things are, shut up and do something about it.

You can start by figuring out a way to make good, quality childcare available and affordable so people can work.

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6 Comments

Filed under Books, Television, Movies, Music and Other Popular Things., Rants, Rambling, and Musing., Things That Suck

6 responses to “On Single Parenting.

  1. Now I’m curious about the market for her books. What portion of it is people angry at the welfare moms vs. those angry about violent crime vs. those up in arms over the moral corrosion, etc. of out-of-wedlock childbirth. I expect these markets spill into each other, but I’d love to see her publishers’ demo numbers.

  2. Pingback: Dear Random Googlers: « Pandemonium

  3. zimj

    I couldn’t agree more with your comments regarding Ann Coulter’s raging bull about single mothers. Usually, I, also, let her craziness roll off my back; however, being a single mother, her comments truly enraged me. I left an abusive husband, and believe, my children would have benefited from leaving him sooner. It was difficult, but no one is in jail and we are all productive members of society. My daughter and I are going to the 3/9th debate between her and Bill Maher. I do hope I get to meet her and, if so, plan to introduce myself as a “single mother”, a genre she knows nothing about, along with my very successful daughter.

    • pandorican

      Wow. First, thank you for the comment. And I am glad to hear that you are no longer in an abusive relationship. People seem to forget that there are many circumstances where staying married for the sake of being in an ” appropriate relationship” is often much much worse for the children than being raised by a single parent would be.
      Please do let me know if you get a chance to speak to her after this debate. Take pictures!

  4. osolomama

    Hey, this tidbit went nuts on my blog too and the responses are still coming!

    http://tiny.cc/umDdw

    I enjoyed your take on this. Good for you for looking up some of the ral research.

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