Peggy Drexler's highly publicized new book, "Raising Boys Without Men: How Maverick Moms Are Creating the Next Generation of Exceptional Men," contends that father-absent homes -- particularly "single mother by choice" and lesbian homes -- are the best environments for boys. Drexler recently told "Good Morning America" that boys do great without dads, and her "maverick moms" always seem to have a better way of handling their sons than a dad would. ...All of the actual scientific research has shown mother-headed households are the worst for both boys and girls. This book has no control group, no objective measure, and nothing scientific. It is mainly based on some interviews of lesbians about what is good for boys, and they are the least likely to have a valid opinion.
Drexler contends that sons from fatherless families "grow up emotionally stronger," "have a wider range of interests and friendships," and "appear more at ease in situations of conflict" than boys from "traditional" (i.e., father-present) households. Her research, however, is flawed.
For one, the families she studied were those who volunteered to have their lives intimately examined over a multi-year period -- a self-selected sample not representative of the average fatherless family. Also, Drexler's research suffers from confirmatory bias. Drexler is a passionate advocate for single and lesbian mothers. She personally conducted interviews of several dozen single and lesbian mothers and their sons in order to examine their family lives and -- no surprise -- found them to her liking. ...
The rates of the four major youth pathologies -- juvenile crime, teen pregnancy, teen drug abuse and school dropouts -- are more tightly correlated with fatherlessness than with any other socioeconomic factor, including income and race. While Drexler waxes poetic about fatherless parenting, she makes little attempt to explain why it results in bad outcomes for so many kids.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Lesbians trying to raise boys
A Glenn Sacks column says: