In almost half the American households with children, mothers are the sole or primary breadwinners. This victory for working women shows evolving family economics — or maybe, two very different types of families.Michele Weldon, an assistant professor of journalism:
So what is the purpose of men in modern families? We’re approaching the holiday that celebrates dads, but do fathers bring anything unique to the table?
The 24 million American sons and daughters growing up without fathers are not all doomed. Nor are the children of lesbian parents. Nor the children whose fathers were killed in the line of duty as policemen, firemen, soldiers. Nor the children who have lost fathers to disease, accidents or suicide. Our society must be careful not to assume these sons and daughters are damned.Jane Mattes, a psychotherapist:
In the cases where the father is far from heroic – even abusive – his absence is also the absence of the chaos, anger, pain and disruption he would bring to his family. Americans encourage women to leave abusive partners, but mothers who do this end up in a class we shame and pity. The government itself sends the message that children are better off with a father. The reality is, many children are better off without their fathers.
As more women are graduating from college and are able to provide a sufficient income to support a family, it is no longer necessary for them to marry in order to support a child. After looking for a partner for many years – or not, in a few cases – some have decided that they would prefer to have a child on their own rather than settle for a man who isn’t likely to be a good and loving husband or parent. We are called single mothers by choice. ...Hanna Rosin:
The organization I founded, Single Mothers by Choice, is more than 30 years old now. We have seen a generation of our children grow up – and turn out just fine.
I’m not sure whether a child needs a father. Sophisticated studies on single motherhood show that the circumstances surrounding such families – poverty, instability – can be rough on children, but not that single motherhood itself is an issue.