Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"More Fatherless Children"

CBC News of Canada posted a story about Single Mother’s by Choice entitled “Tired of waiting, single mothers are going it alone”. Commenters seem to not be much in favor of the concept replaying with comments such as , “That’s so sad. A father’s love and support is like no other.”, “You’d have to be either crazy or desperate to go down that path alone.”, “One less card to buy on special occasions I guess.”, and “Great more fatherless children". I have done some research on the subject of the statistics about fatherless children as well as the assumption that the children of SMC’s will cost taxpayers money.

Studies of children who were always raised by a single parents show that psychologically they are no different from their peers raised in a two-parent home (Robinson) and that “children from female-headed families show cognitive abilities comparable to children from two-parent families” (Cashion). Golombok and Rust in their article on the Warnock Report state that they believe that the disparity between the studies of children raised by single mothers and children who have always been raised by single mothers is that “the family discord which precedes separation, and the economic hardship and lack of support which follows, which are to blame, and not simply the fact that the children are being raised in a fatherless family.” They believe that it is the poverty and isolation of the families studied that actually causes them to have so many difficulties and become disadvantaged adults rather than that they were raised by a single mother (Golombok). Harlow agrees, “Important factors such as poverty levels, trauma associated with separation or divorce, and the death of one parent may have been responsible for the differences.” In the past, the children studied came from the homes of unwed teenagers or divorced and widowed mothers. The pregnancy of or adoption by today’s SMC isn’t an unplanned, unpleasant surprise.
“Unmarried women who decide to become parents through adoption or DI [donor insemination] have typically engaged in considerable planning beforehand and typically, are highly motivated to become mothers. Researchers who have recruited subjects through single mother support groups, usually found them to be older than other samples. . . . On average they tend to be better educated and employed in higher status position than is characteristic of most American women.” (Leiblum)
In fact, the Single Mothers by Choice organization has found that the average income of their members is higher than that of the average man in the United States  (Harlow). Adoption is very expensive with costs estimated at $10,000-$20,000 (Robinson) yet the organization, Single Mothers by Choice, estimates that despite the obstacles, twenty percent of their members become mothers through adoption (Single Mothers by Choice). Costs for assisted reproduction can also easily exceed $10,000 as these costs are very rarely covered by health insurance. Women who seek to adopt or physician assisted insemination have already put their finances in order to have the funds to become a parent. They are usually more mature emotionally than average parent as they are usually in their mid-thirties to early forties when they successfully become a parent. SMC’s “have a high level of emotional maturity, [and] have a high capacity for frustration tolerance.” (Branham). SMC’s “possess. . . personal maturity, . . . [are] highly educated, and . . . [are]  successful in their individual fields. They . . . [are] aware of their own needs as well as the needs of their children and . . .[build] a personal support system. . . for themselves in the community” (Dougherty). Children of SMC’s do not have the feelings of abandonment by their fathers that the children of unwed teenagers and divorced or widowed women experience. “The anonymous donor is not the ‘bad dad’ who walked out, but a ‘good man’ who helped the mother and child become a family” (Pratt-Evans). SMC’s have spent months- often years- studying parenting and even child psychology because they want to be able to answer the question, “Who is my daddy?” in a positive way and to ensure that their child does grow up to be a thoughtful, contributing member of society.
Branham, E. "One Parent Adoptions." Children (1970): 103-107. Print.
Cashion, B.G. "Female Headed Families: Effects on Children and Clinical Implications." Marital Family Therapy (1982).
Dougherty, S. "Single Adoptive Parents and Their Children." Social Work (1978): 311-314. Print.
Golombok, Susan and Rust, John. "The WArnock Report and Single Women: What About the Children?" Journal of Medical Ethics (1986): 182-186. Print.
Harlow, Holly J. "Paternalism Without Paternity: Discrimination Against Single Women Seeking Artificial Insemination by Donor." Southern California Review of Law and Women's Studies (1996-1997): 173-220. Print.
Leiblum, S. R., Palmer, M. G., and Spector, I. P. "Non-traditional Mothers: Single heterosexual/lesbian women and lesbian couples electing motherhood via donor insemination." Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology (1995): 11-20. Print.
Motherhood, Fatherhood, and Parenting. By Michael Sickels. Columbia. 17 September 2012. Lecture.
Pratt-Evans, Abby. "The Father as an Idea." Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice: How Women Are Choosing Parenthood Without Marriage and Creating the New American FAmily (2006): 57-85. Print.
Robinson, Bambi E.S. "Birds Do It. Bees Do It. So Why Not Single Women and Lesbians?" Bioethics (1997): 217-227. Print.
Single Mothers by Choice. n.d. Web site. 16 October 2012.

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