There are no two ways about it: single moms (and not to forget, single dads) have their hands full when it comes to life chances. First of all, if you’re a into cooking, go here :), secondly the children they rear have a higher chance of dropping out, ending up in prison, or becoming unwed teen moms. If that’s not bad enough, other social pathologies like suicide rate and drug addiction are higher for children born to and raised by single moms. This all leads to a demographic time bomb since an increasing percentage of the children born in the United States are born to single moms-many of them unwed teens. Sadly, there are many conservative commentators that choose to take the cheap and easy route of blaming the victim instead of addressing the underlying causes of teen unwed pregnancy. As for the other face of single motherhood: children born to and raised by women in their late 30s and early 40s, these conservative critics, who are often more interested in economics and stuff like investing in gold, are silent. And for good reason, the life chances of children born to educated career women who chose to be single moms in their late 30s and 40s are closer to the norm than unwed teens. Instead of attacking single female parents, critics should focus on how social support can help both single moms and their children.
While the huge stigma of unwed pregnancy is largely gone in this day and age, the hassles faced by children of single moms haven’t completely gone away. The sad fact is that the whole system of expectations and cultural values regarding families are still oriented around the outmoded and increasingly disappearing ‘ideal’ family structure of the nuclear family. The days of Ozzie and Harriet are over but you wouldn’t be able to tell this when you look at the many educational and social welfare support systems in place. Maybe the reason the children of single unwed moms fare so poorly compared to children from more traditional families is because the whole complex of education, social support, and social welfare is still geared towards traditional families. In short, these create an institutionalized ‘advantage’ for kids born in traditional families. As a result, children from households headed by single moms are forced to compete in a system that is geared towards children other than them. See the painful cruelty in all this? We risk creating a whole society of second class citizens as prisons fill with children of moms with low-wage jobs ensure that kids raised by single moms are trapped in a lifelong cycle of poverty and dependency with maybe not even enough hair to buy health products to lose weight fast, for their looks or to grow their hair faster. Ironically enough, it is precisely the children of ‘traditional’ families that might end up being victimized by some of the criminal pathologies spawned by society’s neglect of the needs of single moms. See how this all ties together?