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Debating Single Parenthood
a blog by Mikki Morrisette, May 28, 2010
A long time in the making, the point/counterpoint debate between a Glenn Sacks father's rights crony, Robert Franklin, and me recently launched on PublicSquare.net. I love the opportunity to offer a rational perspective on choice parenting, even if my opponent has a decidedly different viewpoint.
You can read the full debate here, including an interesting set of comments from readers (that I'd love you to contribute to), but here's a synopsis of how I describe our community, and why Franklin believes single parenting is not good for children:
"The women I know who choose this path tend to be highly self-sufficient, 'can-do' women who find solutions, build strong networks, and are devoted to motherhood. Like our successful counterparts who are widowed or divorced, we seek out male role models and build support within our families of origin and our school, church, and fellow parenting community. Like a family quilt, we blend together the many good materials we have in ourselves and our networks to create something greater than the sum of its parts."
"The major problem with single-parent child-rearing is not what’s in the hearts of the parents, it’s how the children fare. As over four decades of social science tell us, children of single parents tend to fare worse than do those of intact families. Morrissette prefers to mostly ignore that fact; wiser parents will not....
'Choice Moms' had...strong feelings of insecurity and lack of rootedness that they tried to assuage by becoming mothers. In short, for those women, motherhood was more about them than about the children . . . . That continuing parade of males through the child’s life creates continually changing loyalties both on the part of the child and on the part of the mother as well."
"Robert Franklin is concerned about the struggling children in single-parent households, but in criticizing the decisions of hundreds of women to raise children on their own, he fails to make crucial distinctions between good parenting and bad parenting. Franklin’s use of statistics is misleading. You can base any number of generalized opinions on what certain numbers tell you.
I take offense at the idea that a child is likely to suffer in a single-parent home. The majority of single-parent households are good environments for their children."
"Not only does Morrissette abjure science, but she also neglects to mention just how a woman comes to be a single mother by choice....The decision to become a "Choice Mother" is the decision to have a child without a father involved in the child’s life. One way utilizes the services of a sperm bank, and another is adoption, but both are fairly rare. The dark side of 'Choice Motherhood' includes things like paternity fraud and the simple expedient of the woman lying to the man about whether she’s pregnant or, if he knows about the pregnancy, lying about the identity of the father."
Alas, my debate with Franklin is obviously a reminder that not everyone will understand who we are and the strengths we bring to our children. The point is NOT to butt our heads against a wall. Some people will never get it.
Let's keep finding opportunities to let people know that Choice Moms (and Dads) are rational, thinking people who carefully consider what we are doing in raising a child on our own.
We can proudly point to our own successes as parents -- including that of our Single Mother by Choice pioneers whose children are now grown -- to remind anyone who actually wants to listen that we are smart, capable parents, not perfect or stress-free at all, but certainly doing very well even without a second partner in the home.