A few weeks ago, the following headline caught my attention: “Now Two-Parent Families Are Racist Too.” I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t surprised; it seems that race has become the only thing that matters to some people, especially looking for examples of supposed “racism” and calling them out.
I had never heard of the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) before reading the article. Here’s a quote from it: “[The NFCR] claims that the nuclear family – consisting of father, mother, and children – is merely an extension of white supremacy. NCFR has joined with critical race theorists and Black Lives Matter in this outright attack on the foundational values and norms of American culture.” In the same article: “NCFR now says the family of mom, dad, and kids has mistakenly been upheld as ‘superior to all others’ and ‘creates systemic barriers to equal opportunity and justice for all families.'” (Here’s the link to the article in case you’re interested in reading further: https://thefederalist.com/2021/10/13/now-two-parent-families-are-racist-too/) As I read through the article, the first part of Isaiah 5:20 came to mind; here is the whole verse: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” So yes, the NCFR is in essence calling the traditional two-parent family evil as an “extension of white supremacy.” This is obviously ridiculous even taken at face value since whites are not the only race with “famil[ies] of mom, dad, and kids.” However, rather than rail against the NCFR even further, I thought it would be better to focus on the benefits of traditional two-parent families.
Here are some benefits, adapted from this article: https://www.usccb.org/topics/marriage-and-family-life-ministries/why-children-need-married-parents
- Children raised in intact married families are more likely to attend college, are physically and emotionally healthier, are less likely to use drugs or alcohol and to commit delinquent behaviors, and are less likely to be raised in poverty.
- Children receive gender-specific support from having a mother and a father. Research shows that particular roles of mothers (e.g., to nurture) and fathers (e.g., to discipline), are important for the development of boys and girls.
- A child living with a single mother is fourteen times more likely to suffer serious physical abuse than is a child living with married biological parents. A child whose mother cohabits with a man other than the child’s father is thirty-three times more likely to suffer serious physical child abuse.
- In married families, about one-third of adolescents are sexually active. However, for teenagers in step-families, cohabiting households, divorced families, and those with single unwed parents, the percentage rises above one-half.
- Growing up outside an intact marriage increases the chance that children themselves will divorce or become unwed parents. Children of divorce experience lasting tension as a result of the increasing differences in their parents’ values and ideas. Children of so-called “good divorces” fared worse emotionally than children who grew up in an unhappy but “low-conflict” marriage.
In summarizing the benefits, there are clear physical, emotional, educational, and financial benefits for kids raised in two-parent families. I find it particularly worthy of note that it’s better emotionally for kids to be raised in the context of an unhappy but low-conflict marriage than in a broken home, even if the broken home is the result of a so-called “good divorce.” Speaking of divorce: it should be no surprise that kids in divorced families are more likely to get divorced themselves; it should also not be surprising that teens in divorced families are more likely to be sexually active. Regarding abuse of children in broken homes: most of us have probably read and heard more than enough horror stories. Finally, there are intangibles regarding gender-specific support from mothers and fathers. I remember when I was a very young father, my pastor (also a young father at the time) told me that he had gone to a conference where one of the speakers talked about the incredible importance of fathers in raising children. He spoke of it with an air of wonder, as if he didn’t understand it well. I don’t claim to understand it well, either, but like my pastor back then, it encouraged me to be a very involved father. In addition, here’s a good quote (most commonly attributed to Theodore Hesburgh) for every father to remember and to put into practice: “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” In connection with this: A year ago, I wrote a post called “Keys to a Successful Marriage.” If you’re interested in reading it, click here: https://keithpetersenblog.com/2020/12/29/keys-to-a-successful-marriage/.
For those of you reading this who are a mother or father, I hope that you will give your kids the incredible gift of your time; they will thank you for it later.