Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Truth That Dare Not Be Spoken...

Happiness has certainly become the god of this age and few dispute it -- although there is dispute over whether this is a good or bad thing.  One of the most commonly accepted theses is that when the parent(s) are happy, the children will be happy (or at least happier).  The idea behind this is, of course, if mom and dad or parent and spouse are in an "unhappy" marriage, the children will benefit from that divorce just like the parent(s).  A child's happiness is directly related to the happiness of the parent(s).  Well, it turns out that this is a politically correct truth but not a factual truth.  It is a truth we want to believe and a truth we promote because of the dramatic numbers of divorce, separation, and living together but it is a truth without factual basis.  What is remarkable is not that children are happier when both mom and dad are together under the same roof -- any idiot can figure that out -- rather, the remarkable part of this story is the deafening silence of researchers and studies willing to admit that this is true.  They have gone out of their way to prop up the great lie that it is better for kids to have the parent(s) ditch a bad marriage or live together with someone they "love" than for mom and dad to stick it out.

The National Catholic Register has reported that Social scientists are concealing the harm that divorce, single parenting and stepfamilies do to children. Not only that, they are also hiding the benefits which even unhappy marriages bestow, not just on children, but on the couples involved.  a report from Child Trends, a research organization based in Washington, D.C., that showed the happier the parents’ relationship is, the happier, better socialized and more successful the children are.  The report, “Parental Relationship Quality and Child Outcomes Across Subgroups”, found couples’ satisfaction correlated positively with child behaviors regardless of the family structure, class and ethnicity.  But why didn’t Child Trends even mention that its data also showed that the positive outcomes across all “subgroups” trended significantly upwards the more traditional the parents’ relationship?Children living with biological or adoptive parents did better than those with their unmarried biological or adoptive parents; the outcomes were significantly worse for children in a married stepfamily and worst with one biological parent and an unmarried partner.

Blankenhorn says researchers on family and child outcomes have told him they suppress their findings when they reflect badly on one family structure or another.  Research really shows: that your children will be much better off — much better off, according to every measure researchers can think of — if you can hang in there with the father of these children and make it work.”  “Longevity studies show the mother will live longer, the father will live longer, and the children will live longer. They also show that the majority of couples who reported being deeply unhappy in their marriage and for whatever reason stayed in the marriage, in five years reported being happy, and many couldn’t even remember being unhappy.”

In other words, we have built so much of our public policy upon a lie.  We have told ourselves for so long that it does not matter what kind of home the kids grow up in as long as the parent(s) or adults living in that home are happy that we have begun to believe our own deception.  Studies have and continue to show that kids do best where mom and dad work it out and live together under the same roof.  Shacking up is a killer on our kids and the explosive growth of untraditional families is not indifferent to the problems the children living in those homes face.  Just recently we heard of the High Court in England suggesting that religious views against homosexuality unfairly shape and victimize the children and therefore are cause to prevent those who believe such from becoming foster or adoptive parents.  In other words, Christianity went from being a positive value in the home to a neutral value and now is a negative value.  All because we have believed the deception we have told ourselves for too long -- that what makes the parent(s) happy makes the kid happy.

We are worried about the narrow mindedness of Christians who do not go with the flow when it comes to the latest prevailing social trends but we ought to be worried about the lies we tell in order to justify the uniform and positive acceptance of those social trends and ignore the cost borne by the children.  I am not against anyone and certainly applaud those who against their will or because of physical violence live on single parent homes and raise their children.  God bless you.  But lets be clear.  The cost of broken homes is not just borne by the spouse who leaves but also by the children themselves.  Lets be honest here.  If there is absolutely no choice but divorce, don't compound the pain for the children by shacking up.  Parenthood, like marriage itself, is a sacrificial love and the choice to have children automatically brings with it the choice to sacrifice self for the sake of your children.  Perhaps the sooner we admit this, the better off our homes and families will be...


Anonymous said...

Yes, whatever happened to the old idea of "staying together for the children's sake?"

Appears people often know what's best without the meddling of researchers, psychologists, and politicians.

Anonymous said...

There have been 4 well known attacks
on marriage in recent decades:
1) Situation Ethics...There no moral
absolutes and the 10 commandments are
obsolete. As a result Shacking up
and living in sin has replaced the
concept of Christian marriage.

2) No Fault-Divorce Law...It began
in California in 1972 and is now in
all 50 states. It is easy to break
up a relationship intended to be

3)Feminist assert
economic independence of the husband and to move on when you
outgrow your need for marriage.

Redefinition of Marriage as a civil
right so the gay community can be
"married.",,,,Marriage is now
defined as "any two people who love
each other" rather than a husband
and wife in a life long commitment
instituted by God.

Anonymous said...

Our current culture has centered
marriage around the children. As a
result the married couple spends
so much energy in being good parents. They have no time to focus on being a good husband or wife. If
the only thing that holds the
marriage together is the children,
then the relationship as husband and wife will suffer. This is why
couples get divorced after 25 years
of marriage, their children are gone and they are now strangers.

Lee said...

Very good post. The only thing that gives me pause is this: those who need to hear this message the most will not and those who are in truly abusive, lift-threatening marriages will perceive it being aimed straight at them.

Those who are victims of severe spousal abuse often times already think it is their fault and that if they just tough it out someday it will be better. Meanwhile, those who find that marriage or their spouses do not meet expectations see their discomfort and disappointment as the supposed "abuse" that justifies divorce. A tough pastoral care tightrope.