The Breakdown of Society

: Over the years, people have brought forward hundreds of proposals for the breakdown of society. One of the more

popular, or perhaps notorious, depending on your point of view, has placed the blame on the rising predominance of

single parent households in society. I personally have trouble believing that one problem can be held responsible for

all of societys ills. However, I can definitely see how some people could feel so strongly about this.

Coming from a two-parent family, I cannot speak from experience about life in a single parent household; but I do

have friends and acquaintances that were brought up in single parent households. When I spent time with these

people and their families, it became quite clear to me that their way of life, though not necessarily better or worse

than mine, was certainly not the same. They were clearly missing certain aspects of life that I was accustomed to.

For instance, while growing up, I always had the experience of two adults on which I could draw in order to form

my own opinions, whereas the children who had grown up with only one parent were not afforded this luxury. I

always felt bad for them because I had something that they didnt have. Whenever I brought it up, they became very

defensive of the parent they lived with, and accused me of being shortsighted.

Financially, single parent households seem to be at a definite disadvantage compared to households with both

parents. There are many statistics showing how difficult it is to support a family on one income. Even the United

States department of Health and Human Services has declared, It is no longer feasible in America to enjoy a middle

class standard of living without the presence of two incomes (Burk, 1). This problem seems to be worsened by the

unfair system of transfer payments that has been implemented by our government. It becomes a case of two families

living on two incomes, rather than the traditional system of one family living on the same two incomes.

Recent efforts to criminalize non-payment of child support are ludicrous. It gives boys the message that when they

grow up and foolishly become fathers themselves, their lives will be destroyed by bitter wives, just like their fathers

before them had their lives ruined. Girls, on the other hand, get the impression that they can grow up and become

breeder mommies whose lives will be subsidized by government sanctioned child support. The net effect is bitter

children with a warped sense of values. In addition to marring the children, this also poses the question of how a

father would be able to pay child support from prison (Burk, 2).

Clearly, this is a very obtuse point of view. To blame all of this problem solely on either the mothers or the fathers

would be cruelly unfair. Obviously both parents should be held both financially and emotionally responsible for the

raising of a child, even if the child only lives with one of these parents. Some fair system must be designed so that a

child can be financially supported, without draining the assets of the non-custodial parent. I personally feel that a

child would be able to get just as much love and emotional nourishment from one parent as a child would get from

both. Though there may be more of a financial burden, I think that children of single parent families can live as full,

happy, and successful a life as their two-parent counterparts. Surely, there must be thousands of children from single

parent households who have made very successful lives for themselves despite their upbringings. Or, maybe their

single parent upbringing actually contr!

ibuted to their success. Perhaps some children thrive on the difficulties that they faced as children and are all the

better for having gone through it.

Statistically, however, far more social pathologies can be found among children from single parent households than

can be found among children from two parent households. There is a broad spectrum of these problems, obviously

rooted in single parenting: 63% of all youth suicides are committed by children from single parent households; 70%

of all teenage pregnancies occur in women from single parent families; 71% of all adolescent chemical and

substance abusers reign from households with only one parent present; 80% of all prison inmates grew up with only