Let’s cut right to the troubling statistics:
In every state, the portion of families where children have two parents, rather than one, has dropped significantly over the past decade. Even as the country added 160,000 families with children, the number of two-parent households decreased by 1.2 million. Fifteen million U.S. children, or 1 in 3, live without a father, and nearly 5 million live without a mother. In 1960, just 11 percent of American children lived in homes without fathers.
The subject of single parents is an explosive one, generating heated emotions that make assessing the big picture a challenge. I marvel at how much work single moms take on. They balance careers with parental duties without a steady partner to give them a hand or, at the very least, an occasional break from the 24/7 nature of parenting.
Single parents often react emotionally to statistics like the ones listed above. Read between the lines, and the message behind the numbers is clear – they can’t measure up to a two-parent household. Yet those numbers don’t tell the whole story. What about single parents who opt to keep a child rather than abort it? Some single parents got married in order to build a strong nuclear family and discovered their spouses weren’t as faithful, or kind, as they hoped. Others do a remarkable job raising a family, period. And some two-parent families are chock full of dysfunction and abuse.
The cold statistics still reveal something fragile about our social fabric. Our culture values two-parent households less than ever before, and it’s often fathers who are disconnected from the parental unit. It’s hard to believe society is the better because of it.