News and Noteworthy


Putting a ring on it, for the children’s sake

Hollywood's Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson and his partner have another daughter on the way.

By Carolyn Moynihan

This article was first published April 13, 2018, at Mercatornet.com.

 

Hollywood actor, producer and professional wrestler Dwayne Johnson might be good at a few things, but marriage isn't one of them. He is divorced from his first wife (mother of his 16-year-old daughter) and has not married his current partner. It's a pity, because he is about to become a dad for the third time and his new daughter, like her two-year-old sister, will not have best chance of success in life.

The data show that children are more likely to flounder when they face a revolving cast of caretakers and unrelated adults in their lives. That's more likely with unmarried parents.

Family sociologist Brad Wilcox writes in USA Today:


Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Lauren Hashian recently announced they’re expecting their second child this spring — outside of marriage. Although cohabiting Hollywood couples present an unusually glamorous and attractive model of unmarried family life, their path into family formation is not as unusual as it once would have been. A study examining U.S. births between 2006 and 2010 found that almost one-in-four children (23%) are born to cohabiting couples.

But theirs is not an example that should be imitated. It’s true that cohabitation has become a normal and accepted practice in the United States in recent years. While cohabitation was frowned upon in the age of Leave It to Beaver, today most adults will cohabit at some point in their lives. But even though cohabitation is increasingly appealing to adults, that doesn’t mean it is good when children are involved.

You can read the rest of his article at USA Today, but the facts are also summarized in this excellent video.



Is cohabitation the new marriage? Not for kids

Children born in cohabiting unions experience more family instability, a new study finds.

by Carolyn Moynihan for mercatornet.com on February 9, 2017

One thing the same-sex marriage debate has done is shine a light on why marriage is even worth arguing about. If it is just about loving couples, forget it. But it is not just about that; it is about children.

After decades of “soul mate” marriage, it has been brought to our attention again that marriage not only unites a couple with each other but it unites children with their own mother and father. It exists for the sake of the children a couple may have. It is society’s way of ensuring that children thrive and grow up to be responsible citizens.


At the same time the gay marriage issue has diverted attention away from something else: the number of (heterosexual) couples who are not marrying but having children anyway. Cohabitation has been increasing around the world for decades, but whereas middle and upper class couples once tied the knot before starting a family, many are no longer waiting for marriage before having a child.

In the United States between 2002 and 2010 births to cohabiting couples jumped from 41 percent of all non-marital births to 58 percent. In France and Sweden one in four adults aged 18 to 49 is cohabiting, while in South America families based on non-marital “consensual unions” are a longstanding tradition.

Does it matter?

It should, because it’s about the children. As everyone who has had anything to do with children knows, they thrive on stable routines with stable caregivers, and there is plenty of evidence that cohabitation is less stable than marriage.

Thiere is new evidence for this in a report from the Social Trends Institute and the Institute for Family Studies this week. It is based on data from 68 countries around the world, including individual data for children in the United States and 16 European countries.

In an essay introducing the 2017 World Family Map, “The Cohabitation Go-Round: Cohabitation and Family Instabimfor lity Across the Globe”, Laurie DeRose and W. Bradford Wilcox report that:

* Children born into cohabiting families are more likely to see their parents split by age 12 than children born into married families in almost every country.

* In the United Kingdom these children are 94 percent more likely to see their parents break up by age 12.

* For the United States the increased risk of a such a family “transition” is 102 percent.

Of course, these figures indicate a correlation between cohabitation and unstable families, and do not prove that one causes the other. Although many of us would think it common sense that a less committed relationship would be less stable, even with – or perhaps especially with – children, other factors may be at work.

Here are three alternative explanations that the World Family Map scholars studied – and found wanting:

Cohabitation is less stable only because poorer people are more likely to choose it. Using the individual data for the US and Europe, WFM sorted the children in their study according to their mother’s education level (a proxy for family income) and found that cohabitation is less stable regardless of the mother’s education. “In the overwhelming majority of countries, the most educated cohabiting parents still have a far higher rate of break-up than the lowest educated married couples,” comments DeRose.

In fact, DeRose and Wilcox report: “The largest absolute stability gap between children born to cohabiting vs. marital unions is among children whose mothers have high levels of education in the United States: 49 percent of children born to cohabiting couples experience parental union dissolution as compared to 18 percent of children born to married couples. At other education levels, the United States is more similar to Europe in the size of the stability gap.”

As cohabitation becomes more common it becomes more similar to marriage in stability for children. Using data for 100 countries, WFM found no evidence for this. “Higher proportions of births to single women and cohabiting couples are both significantly associated with lower proportions of children living with both biological parents.” There are wide variations in the degree of this relationship, but Northern Europe was the only place where it did not hold.

What about Latin America? Some scholars assert that “where cohabitation has been a long-standing alternative to marriage (scholars writing on Latin America and the Caribbean refer to a “dual nuptiality” system), further growth of the institution will not affect children’s lives,” comments DeRose. “Again, that’s not the case.”

Cohabitation was, it should be noted, much more stable (nine times more) than single motherhood -- although the possibility of a mother becoming single after cohabiting should not be discounted. But the important comparison from children’s point of view is with marriage, which, as this study shows, offers the best chance of stable family life – even in countries where it is in retreat.

There you have a few facts that need a good airing.


Long and Winding Road out of the gay lifestyle: a story of forgiveness

The headline over at LifeSiteNews says this is a story out of the gay lifestyle. And so it it. But it is first and foremost an inspiring story of forgiveness and repentance. Any Survivor of the Sexual Revolution, any person seeking peace, can benefit from this article. 

A sample: 

 

I embarked upon an incredible journey of forgiveness, having many people from my past, and especially men, that I needed to forgive. The therapy and prayer sessions I now regularly engaged in never focused solely on my being sexually attracted to men, but I was encouraged to look every aspect of my present and past in the eye. This included the painful process of accepting that I had been consistently sexually abused by a number of men as a child over a three-year period.

Much of my spiritual journey became concerned with recognizing where, during my infancy and childhood, my little soul had chosen to build walls within myself against significant others in my life, especially against my parents, siblings and other prominent people from my past.

He faced the wrong that was done to him (child sexual abuse) and at the same time took responsibility for the ways he had built walls around himself. Eventually, he became able to forgive those who had wronged him. 

Survivors of all sorts: please study this! 


 


Single Mothers by Choice

Are any of you single mothers, raised by a single mother, or have friends or family members who are single mothers?

Are any of you Donor Conceived?

Many Danish women have given up on finding the right man and are opting to raise children on their own through donor conception.

What do you think of that? Good idea or bad idea?

Can you relate to their difficulties in finding the right man?

Do you think they should be patient and just keep looking, or not fight the biological clock?

This article appeared in Mercatornet.com on September 18, 2015.

Image from The Huffington Post

I just read an article in The Guardian about how more Danish women are opting to become single mothers via sperm donation, and now I feel a little sad. Because while I think the author wanted to make it sound like an upbeat, promising and independent-women trend, too many lines give away the fact that it is actually not a good time, so to speak.


But first some background: since 2007 in Denmark, from when single women have been offered free fertility treatment, there has been a huge increase in single mothers by choice (known as “solomor”). Now, one in 10 babies conceived with donor sperm is born to a single mother, which says a lot in a country which has the highest number of births by assisted fertility treatment in the world. And it seems that the trend is so present that the stigma is supposedly starting to shift.

Now usually I’d have to voice my opinion in my own words, but this article just gives away all the sad stuff. Here are some excerpts and my thoughts:

It’s a last resort decision

The majority say that becoming a solomor was Plan B,” says Lone Schmidt, associate professor at the University of Copenhagen Department of Public Health: “Two thirds had been in a relationship and wanted to become pregnant but their partners weren’t ready… In other words, women are waiting it out, and when it becomes clear that there isn’t going to be a man in the picture, they’re taking action themselves.

No one dreams of being a solo parent. As one interviewee in the article admitted, after her partner at the time didn’t want children, she thought about adoption (too long and expensive), having a baby with a friend (too complicated) and one-night stands (that would be stealing sperm) before deciding on donor conception. And why is it a last resort? I think it’s because we all intrinsically know that the most ideal, and least complex, situation for a child to come into the world is in the natural way - with a mother and father who love each other.

Who needs men anyway?

Everyone I talked to was really supportive, apart from my dad who found the idea weird at first – as though it was negating the role of ‘fatherhood’.

My dad was funny about me using a donor at first – he’s from an older generation and I think it made him feel a bit redundant, as a man.

I find it interesting that more than one interviewee’s father had a problem with the whole solomor situation. Because to be honest, anything that makes a whole gender redundant seems unnatural, doesn’t it? However, the dads in question make a very valid point. Yes, there are irreversible situations where a father is no longer present, but overall a world without present fathers would not be a good one. There are so many studies that show the importance of a father in their child’s life, and I hope anything else is never in style.

On the flip-side, the solomor trend commodifies men. In a subtle but sure way, it reduces them to their sperm.

The child’s needs come last

“I’d still love to meet someone and give my little girl a dad. For me, a father is so much more than a blob of sperm. A father is someone who makes the lunch boxes, says, ‘Good morning,’ and kisses good night. He’s the one who is always there for the child during its upbringing. I just haven’t met him yet.”

“Of course, the children of solomor may face other issues – like not knowing the identity of their donors. But Golombok’s research suggests that this needn’t be a problem if they’re told about how they were conceived early enough.”

Right, because learning about your conception nice and early will void all need of a father and replace the paternal role. And having a new dad will make you stop wondering about your biological father. Unfortunately, I don’t think so.

Yes, the solomor concept does present a better situation financially than a single mother who is not so by choice, and I think the women feel that they’re doing the right thing. But still, I find it somewhat selfish. A defenseless child’s needs should come first, whereas this sounds like it’s all about what’s convenient for the mothers in question.

Difficulties of assisted fertility

One thing that wasn’t mentioned is the difficulty and trials of fertility treatment. The article makes it sound so easy breezy to get pregnant this way, but from what I know, it’s invasive and can often take multiple attempts. And I’d assume there’d be quite a lot of stress and anxiety throughout the process.

We can see the consequences of other unhealthy trends

My child won’t have a father,” says Christensen, “but lots of people grow up without a dad - my parents divorced when I was five. You never know how life will turn out.

I’d always dreamed of having three or four kids but the man I was in a relationship with in my 30s wasn’t ready. I met other men who mostly seemed to be interested in their careers – or their PlayStations – so I began to lose faith. I wasn’t anti men: I adore men! I just couldn’t find one who wanted kids. I saw lots of friends choose to become pregnant with boyfriends they knew wouldn’t last – purely because the desire to have a child took over. I also saw ‘traditional’ families breaking up all around me, so I thought, ‘Maybe I should just make this happen on my own.’

These quotes, clear as day, show how other unhealthy trends have led to this. The first is divorce: it’s so common that people don’t realise the importance of two present parents; and everyone seems to assume it’ll happen anyway. What a sad way to be living! And the other trend: “man boys,” or men that don’t seem to ever grow up. Because as we now see, women are getting sick of waiting and are taking matters into their own hands, with potentially negative consequences.