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Thursday, June 7, 2012

"Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father" Argument Pisses Off Straight Son of a Single Mom

Posted by on Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 11:02 AM

When bigots search wildly for a "rationale" to deny same sex couples basic human rights they usually claim that children need both a mother and a father to succeed.

My father died when I was very young leaving my mother single and needing to care for four children. She never remarried. Of the four children in our family two have grown up to be medical doctors, one is a college professor, and the youngest will soon have a PhD. We are all in healthy, long-term relationships and my mother now has grandchildren. Both of the male children (of which I am one) are rather stereotypical guys. We somehow managed to figure out what being a guy was without a father at home explaining it to us. It's almost like there are other sources for this information.

So, on behalf of the offspring of single mothers I want to say fuck you to people who say I can't be healthy because I was raised without a father. It's important to note that there is one factor that confounds the bullshit bigots use to malign single parents, nontraditional families, etc. Single parent families are highly correlated with poverty. For this reason, we were lucky. My mother is a medical doctor who was able to provide for a five person family by herself. So I am aware that my experiences are not typical, but they do speak to the arguments that "every child needs a mother and a father" to succeed and be healthy. We can succeed just fine.


P.S. I am aware that this isn't the most important point. But this argument about needing a mother and a father is a slap to my mother's face. And it pisses me off every time I see it.


Comments (41) RSS

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Knat 1
Oh sure, you publish this guy's letter, but do you publish mine, about a kid who grew into a mess, despite having both a mother and father? NooooOOOOOoooo. I'm sure it's a simple oversight. Look through the Capt. Kirk/Cmdr. Taggart fan fiction I've mailed you over the years; it's in there somewhere.
Posted by Knat on June 7, 2012 at 11:15 AM · Report this
Whew. The headline made me wonder if the argument he was mad at was yours. Happy to read otherwise.
Posted by gloomy gus on June 7, 2012 at 11:17 AM · Report this
Posted by Leoba on June 7, 2012 at 11:24 AM · Report this
4 guys really need to meet some black people. This isn't cute or amusing anymore.
Posted by Savage or it didn't happen on June 7, 2012 at 11:24 AM · Report this
Allyn 5
This, Dan, this is what the argument is. Good work. Thank you, Kyle, for writing.

He points out, rightly, that his family was not impoverished as most single parent-run families are. But that seems to better support that not every child needs a bio-mom and bio-dad in the home. What every child needs is to not be impoverished.

Fancy that, it’ll be social programs and not religious doctrine that’ll save the American family.

@1 bwahahahaha
Posted by Allyn on June 7, 2012 at 11:43 AM · Report this
TVDinner 6
I had a coworker who refused to send her kids to summer camp, "Because there are a bunch of kids from single-parent families there, and they're messed up and might be mean to mine."

I'm pretty sure it wasn't the kids from the single parent families that were the messed-up ones.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on June 7, 2012 at 11:47 AM · Report this

When he was quite young, my grandfather lost his father to a ball lightning strike. My great grandmother never remarried, in part because my grandfather was scary bright and ADHD. She told him later "I was afraid that if I married, any husband I had would beat you." I'm sure her resolve to stay single made a huge difference in the happiness of several succeeding generations.
Posted by tdonut on June 7, 2012 at 11:49 AM · Report this
@6 BARF.
Posted by Shannon Murphy on June 7, 2012 at 11:54 AM · Report this
TheLando 9
My great grandmother immigrated from Germany by herself around 1890 at the age of 19. She married an older German man, and they had 4 daughters, the oldest of whom was a neighbor's child who they adopted after her parents died in a house fire.

When my great grandfather died, all of the children were under the age of 12. My great grandmother didn't feel that she'd be able to trust another man around her girls, and so, despite having very little money and no family to help, she worked and raised them herself.

I can only imagine how hard she toiled to accomplish this. What I do know is that my grandmother (who was the youngest) was quite possibly the kindest, funniest, most thoughtful and insightful person I have ever known. Every one of those girls went on to have lives and families of their own, and there must be 100+ descendants running around.

Those girls did just fine without a father, and I have my great grandmother's perseverance to thank for my own existence. I'm proud to be carrying around her mitochondrial DNA, and hope it gives me half the energy it obviously gave her.
Posted by TheLando on June 7, 2012 at 12:03 PM · Report this
urn 10
My mother raised me by herself in near-poverty. A loving parent is what makes a healthy kid. Two loving parents is twice the awesomeness, but not a necessity. And the gender of those parents is just as relevant as the color of their skin or the language they speak. Anyone is capable of loving their kid.

Thanks for writing, Kyle. And thank you, Dan, for continuing to point out the ridiculousness of the argument that "every child deserves a mother and a father."
Posted by urn on June 7, 2012 at 12:03 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 11
My uncle lived past 80 smoking a pack a day. So fuck you to everybody who says smoking is bad for you.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on June 7, 2012 at 12:13 PM · Report this
@6: "What is this I don't even..."

Seriously, where do you start with that?
Posted by MLM on June 7, 2012 at 12:26 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 13
Tell that to Tony Perkins.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on June 7, 2012 at 12:27 PM · Report this
@4 WTF does meeting black people have to do with anything?

My dad's mother raised him and 6 other kids, by herself, in the Depression. Some of them are quite successful financially now (or were at the time of their deaths) and the rest, while not well off, are/were fully functioning responsible members of the community.
In spite of not having a father figure (his mother left an abusive marriage) he managed to be a very good man. He knew that being a man was more about being mature, being responsible, and taking care of his family than it was about being hateful and discriminating against someone.
Posted by geminilee on June 7, 2012 at 12:52 PM · Report this
So, to sum up, what every child truly deserves is:

1) At least one person to love them.
2) Support. To not be impoverished.
3) Education.
4) Peace. To not be abused, physically or emotionally.
5) Respect.

The Tony Perkinses of this world need to check themselves. It seems to me they're contributing to the problem (especially see #4 & 5, above.)
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on June 7, 2012 at 1:07 PM · Report this
As someone who grew up raised by a single mom, and who is now a single mom too, I'm angered and insulted by this as well. I've had my issues but not much of it is due to my father being absent, he was mentally ill so I think it was best he wasn't present most of the time. It's very sad I wasn't able to know him but my issues stem from the lack of support from both my parents families, lack of any other community support, lack of higher education and most of all poverty. So I know poverty plays a much bigger role in what your chances are than how many parents you have, especially if you were born in the last 30 years.
Besides I've known plenty of people who grew up in a mother+father household who were much more emotionally/mentally twisted than xboyfriend/sperm donor comes to mind in a big way!
Posted by enoneo on June 7, 2012 at 1:26 PM · Report this
He makes a sharp point but I wish we could go one step further so that we could be a part of a world where being a hardworking medical doctor is no better than being a hardworking trash collector. Where having a certificate with some abbreviation isn't something to wave around for show. I understand he is not necessarily doing that as he is trying to make his point about being "well-raised" by a single mother but just saying.
Posted by pageofabook on June 7, 2012 at 1:53 PM · Report this
On average, I think it's safe to say children usually have an easier time in a 2-parent home, but not because they need a male parent and a female parent. They have an easier time because it's two adults contributing their time and resources to that child's welfare. They don't need male role models or female role models - they need HUMAN role models. It shouldn't be "you must behave this way because you are a man" - it should be "you must behave this way because you are a human being." And growing up in a single-parent household isn't the kiss of death on a kid growing up into a functional adult, for crying out loud. And certainly when one of the parents is abusive, cutting them out of the kid's life is the best possible option.
Cripes. These are not difficult concepts.
Posted by JrzWrld on June 7, 2012 at 2:09 PM · Report this
This is so wonderful.

And anecdotal evidence is, as everyone knows, the best basis upon which to base social policy...

Perhaps one of Kyle's educated siblings can explain to him that; yes, "(his) experiences are not typical" and that is why every child does need and deserve a mother and a father.

Posted by if Kyle had a dad he wouldn't be such a douche on June 7, 2012 at 2:23 PM · Report this
there is this guy who doesn't use a condom but he has NEVER gotten an STD or gotten anybody pregnant.

which obviously proves that not using a condom is JUST AS GOOD! as using a condom.

just like Danny has been saying for years...
Posted by Danny is Smart. Condoms Suck.... on June 7, 2012 at 2:29 PM · Report this
@19 and 20

Were you born a jerk, or did you have to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and work hard to become one?
Posted by Clayton on June 7, 2012 at 2:39 PM · Report this

gosh clayton we're sorry statistical reality pops your little unicorn bubble and makes you cranky.....
Posted by try Midol on June 7, 2012 at 2:47 PM · Report this
@19/20: Nice job, once again repeating the classic conservative non-sequitur "problem of poverty, therefore male+female as solution." Was it your intent to serve as example of the exact piece of stupidity that Letter Writer was pointing out?
Posted by avast2006 on June 7, 2012 at 3:08 PM · Report this
I don't recall Dan ever saying that not using a condom is just as good as using one; in fact, I seem to recall him emphasizing safe sex practices time and again.

And statistical evidence may prove that children in two parent families do better *on average* than children in one parent families, but NO statistical evidence shows that children raised with two parents of the opposite sex do better than children raised with two parents of the same sex.

As for what you term the "anectodal" evidence from various SLOG posters who are defending their single-arent households, they are demonstrating the flaw with inductive data: it can tell you a great deal about overall patterns, but it can't tell you squat about individual cases. I would refer you to @10 and @15, who both bring up excellent points.
Posted by Clayton on June 7, 2012 at 3:11 PM · Report this
@11: More like, "My uncle lived to 80 smoking a pack a day. So fuck you to everybody who says getting run over by a badly tuned, smoking, wreck of a car is bad for you."
Posted by avast2006 on June 7, 2012 at 3:14 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 26

Because according to Mr. Troll, all the problems in the black community are the fault of single-parent households.
Posted by keshmeshi on June 7, 2012 at 3:36 PM · Report this

Statistical evidence DOES demonstrate that children in two parent families do better on average.

And the two parent pairs in those studies happen to be opposite sex.

When you rustle up some statistical evidence that children raised by two gays do as well please come back and share.
Posted by gosh we're glad we cleared that up... on June 7, 2012 at 3:44 PM · Report this

actually the other troll highlights a good point.

black social pathology highly correlates with the out of wed birth rate.

as it does in all demographics.

it is not a coincidence that the black community's rates of illegitimacy and social mayhem are both sky-high.
Posted by little bastards usually end up in prison on June 7, 2012 at 3:48 PM · Report this
Butt this argument about needing a mother and a father pisses in my mother's face every time I see it.
Posted by g798 on June 7, 2012 at 3:51 PM · Report this
Vince 30
I wondered if I'd ever hear from you. I know you're there, millions of you, but standing up to be counted is what I wanted. Thank you. It's love and caring a child needs.
Posted by Vince on June 7, 2012 at 3:54 PM · Report this
TrevCat 31
Ah, it's wonderful to see that conservatives still aren't above discarding one type of evidence, such as anecdotal, when it hurts their arguement, but gleefully accepting it when it supports them. Nice to know that some things will never change.

Its also good to see that conservatives must steal psychic paper from Doctor Who and print the graphs, reports, etc, on it. This ensures that they see only what they want to see. For I can not fathom that they are merely overlooking the fact that those studies show that while a child does better in a household with two parents, it speaks nothing of the genders of the parents. Surely their data must be changed as they read, the only other answer is that they willing ignore and misinterpret data to fit their views.

Can we just stop now conservatives? You don't like gays, we get it. The thought of a child growing up with gay parents scares the living shit out of you because those children are going to be the ones that grow up to run the world. Having gay parents may, horror of horrors, make them more inclined to treat gays like human beings. Also, -10 internets to the first person that brings up the "gay agenda" to counter my last point. The "gay agenda" is to live life free of asshattery with the same right, benefits, and responsibilities as everyone else.
Posted by TrevCat on June 7, 2012 at 4:01 PM · Report this
venomlash 32
@27: H0: μ(same sex) = μ(opposite sex)
Ha: μ(same sex) ≠ μ(opposite sex)
In the absence of statistically significant data, we fail to reject H0.
You really don't know anything about statistics, do you. Let me put it differently:
"Studies have shown that people who eat leafy vegetables are healthier than people who don't. And the people in those studies were eating spinach. So until you can rustle up some evidence showing that arugula is as good, we have to assume that spinach is healthier than arugula."
Do you see the fundamental error in your logic?
Posted by venomlash on June 7, 2012 at 5:13 PM · Report this
"Kyle" touched on the real point that the presumption that a Father and Mother are needed for a "successful" raising, is often more about the resources (often financial) that are required to raise a family. In his case, this was mitigated by a educated, well employed single mother, and that does defy the odds a bit on the "single parent" scale.

With Gay couples, of course, this same mitigation can be applied, because there are no "accidental children". Same sex couple make the conscience choice to create a family, and this greatly tilts the odds in their favor of being able to properly provide a stable financial foundation for that family.

It all comes down to $$$ and a willingness to be a parent. Not so much about one of each gender.
Posted by bgix on June 7, 2012 at 6:36 PM · Report this
From a single mom who worries a lot, thank you for writing and thank you for posting this.
Posted by SmallTownMainer on June 7, 2012 at 8:05 PM · Report this
That, friends, is one very well chosen "fuck you".
Posted by gromm on June 8, 2012 at 1:17 AM · Report this
Oh, and @1:

He does. Frequently and often. Especially when dad turns into a mess and goes postal on everyone.
Posted by gromm on June 8, 2012 at 1:19 AM · Report this
the title "every child deserves a mother and a father" is SARCASTIC! usually the story points at a situation where there *is* a mother and a father but somehow the kids get murdered, raped or beaten.
the whole point is to show that having both a mother and a father in the home might not be the best solution.
Posted by vegansaladparty on June 8, 2012 at 3:45 AM · Report this
@19, 20, 22, ad nauseum:

May I direct your attention to just a few sources that suggest that children in households with two same-sex parents do as well or better than children in households with two opposite-sex parents:

Same-Sex Parents Raise Well-Adjusted Kids:…

Children of Lesbian Parents May Do Better than Their Peers:…

What Happens To Children Raised by Same-Sex Parents? (the answer is—they do no better and no worse):…

Same-Sex Couples Can Be Effective Parents:…

NB: These articles are based on scientific studies and statistical data, not the “anecdotal” information you so deride.

Posted by Clayton on June 8, 2012 at 9:03 AM · Report this
@17 "being a hardworking medical doctor is no better than being a hardworking trash collector"

There is some soul-crushing levels of stupid in this thread, but this is plumbs new depths of dumbfounding.

There is intrinsic human dignity and value, and nothing shameful about manual labor, but what are you, some sort of predestination fatalist or garbage removal fetishist?

Even in the great and glorious future, when both of these jobs are performed by robots, the medibot will have to be smarter, more infallible and most likely much more expensive than cleanlibot.
Posted by Ray Bradbury's Swiftly Rotating Corpse on June 8, 2012 at 9:29 AM · Report this
watchout5 40
While single mothers are all well and good mine was an alcoholic who drove a wedge between her children and their father because she refused to admit she needs help. I've always enjoyed Dan's work on this subject, I'm really glad this guy did too.
Posted by watchout5 on June 8, 2012 at 10:21 PM · Report this
Um, a bit late to the game, here, but ... my mother was widowed when I was 4. She raised us 3 kids on her own and never remarried. While I had my dad until the age of 4 (almost 5), honestly, and I feel weird saying this, but ... I don't now and never truly felt emotionally or psychologically impoverished by not having a dad growing up. Maybe because I didn't know any better. My mother worked full time beginning right after he died, and all through the rest of my childhood. She did get his pension, thankfully, which is the only thing that kept us out of poverty. It allowed us kids to grow up middle class, so I'm sure that helped.

My mum did her best, though was hardly without her issues and certainly not a perfect parent, and yet all of us are gainfully employed, none of us grew up into addicts, none of us have been to jail, none of us beat our spouses, etc. Part of the 'success' of us not ending up jailed might be in part, I suspect, to growing up in the 70's in cramped/crowded Boston, when people on the street all knew each other and other parents would automatically watch out for you/report to your mother if you'd been 'fresh'.

I don't honestly know how parents do it today. I feel bad for them, gay or straight.

But anyway ... CLEARLY people who question gay marriage and gay adoption are blinded by their fears and prejudices. As has been said elsewhere - unlike straight, drunken slip ups, gay folks becoming 'with child', whether adopting or reproducing, doesn't/can't happen "by accident". What a sweet and loving and positive start to a kid's life that his/her parents wanted him/her that bad.
Posted by Velvetbabe on June 10, 2012 at 3:22 PM · Report this

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