Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mounting Data on Families

In case you doubted the data I used in last Friday’s blog post, coming from a few years ago, it has been updated in a recent report: “Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-4) Report to Congress.” It comes down to this: “Children living with their married father and mother are significantly safer from physical, emotional, and sexual abuse than children living with single or cohabiting parents,” which continues to verify similar findings from the last such report in 2006. 

The results show that children living with a single parent and the parent’s live-in partner were “eight times more likely to suffer any form of maltreatment, ten times more likely to suffer abuse, and nearly eight times more likely to suffer from neglect, than children living with their married, biological parents.” It isn’t a matter of how many adults are present in the child’s household; it is a matter of who those adults are in relation to the child. 

Another interesting data point is that children living with their biological but unmarried parents are less well off than those living with their married biological parents—four times more likely to be physically, emotionally or sexually abused, three times more likely to be neglected physically, emotionally, or educationally. Marriage status of the parents significantly affects the well-being of the child. 

According to analysis by University of Virginia Professor W. Bradford Wilcox, executive of the National Marriage Project, the benefits are seen with both biological and adoptive fathers, but not so with stepfathers or other unrelated males. Stepfathers do provide security better than cohabiting males, so the married state of the parents is always a factor. 

So, the evidence continues to mount, to support what common sense has told humanity for millennia, that married parents are best equipped to love and nurture their own children into adulthood. It’s time the “progressive” agenda people stopped trying to throw out what has always worked and regressively replace it with what has never worked for a community. 

If adults care about their own health and happiness, a stable married relationship with their children is preferable to all other household forms. If adults care about providing a world where their children can enjoy equivalent or better health and happiness, then a stable married relationship throughout their childhood is the most likely path to that outcome. If civilized society is preferred over savagery, then society as a whole must value and support stable married relationships with children. Every percentage point decrease from the critical mass required for civilization sinks the whole of society further into savagery, with added difficulty of climbing back up. 

So people’s private decisions related to sex and marriage do indeed affect others beyond themselves. They are free to choose unwisely and suffer the consequences. But when they do, not just their immediate family feels the loss of civilization in the aggregate.

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