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June 13, 2007

It's not about 'daddy's ego'

Amanda on why her 'traditional family' hostile self is on a "Parenting blog"

There are a lot of families that are left out of the "family values" crap because their families are not structured around the idea that everything is about Daddy and his ego.
She wants to destroy the family in order to "save it".

Yeah, right. That's the ticket.

It is not about 'traditional' families as "the only authentic", it's about ideals.

For instance, it is "ideal" for parents to encourage their kids to be serious in school, learn the subjects well and get "A"s in class. However, as long as they've worked up to their potential, there is no shame nor anything wrong with "B"s and "C"s.

The ideal place for children is in an intact, loving family with married mom and dad. That doesn't mean there is anything wrong with single parenthood or blended families or even same-sex couple parenthood. It is just not the ideal.

Do you think getting rid of the grade system in schools would benefit or harm students? Do you think getting rid of traditional families would benefit or harm children?

Posted by Darleen at June 13, 2007 07:14 AM

Comments

The ideal place for children is in an intact, loving family with married mom and dad. That doesn't mean there is anything wrong with single parenthood or blended families or even same-sex couple parenthood.

Then why are driven to such a frenzy by the fact that there's a blog about the latter three?

Posted by: Josh at June 13, 2007 07:31 AM

Then why are driven to such a frenzy by the fact that there's a blog about the latter three?

Frenzy? LOL. I don't think you'd know a "frenzy" if one hit you over the head with a rolling pin.

I'll answer this one.

As a SINGLE PARENT, I happen to be a parent. What the hell is someone who is determinedly NOT a parent doing preaching to parents of any kind?

And another thing: I certainly don't need some f'ing avowed non-parent taking pity on me, poor widdle single parent that I am. As a matter of fact, I'd say I probably "need" Amanda even less than I "need" my ex-husband.

Daddy and his ego, my foot. (Up her ass.) This is about her ego, not "Daddy's" ego.

And Darleen is exactly right: the ideal situation for a child *IS* a mother and a father. NO, we don't all have that, for varying reasons. That's life, and we make the best of it--but we all manage to do it without needing reassurance from laughably ignorant people like Amanda.

Give me a break.

For someone so overwrought about Teh Patriarchy, she sure seems anxious to assume that role for society. How about "mind your own damn business?" How about not fretting about people who, by virtue of their experience and independence, don't feel victimized by Teh Patriarchy or anything else, and vehemently reject that paternali--er, maternalist (haha)--arrogant shower of pity?

Tell me Josh, do you like being told you're a victim/oppressed/need help? Don't you think you're adult enough to handle your own life without others pitying you?

And finally, I absolutely don't feel "left out of that family values 'crap.'" In fact, I feel quite strongly about family values, and I LIVE it. Single parenthood has not excluded me from it, but as Amanda IS NOT A PARENT, she wouldn't have the foggiest idea what "family values" really are (and it's not "crap" to parents). Her "crap" statement alone is enough to make her presence at a parenting blog a big fat joke. No need to justify it by saying she was invited--it's only because she was asked by a friend to bring her leftist politics (and traffic) over. Apparently the site owners don't really have a true sense of purpose (like parenting).

Finally, if Amanda and the siteowners are so concerned about diversity among parents, you'd think they'd have a diversity of political views, since that's obviously the real focus of that blog--parents who are white liberal hipster-wannabes (I laugh when thinking of the mamas with stretch-marked tattoos!).

Posted by: Beth at June 13, 2007 09:16 AM

There's a lot of crazy in this rant. But it can all be dealt with thusly: Marcotte is just stating her opinion. This may come as a shock to you, but even people without kids are permitted to have opinions on parenting, and Marcotte's opinions stand and fall on their own merits. If the perpetually outraged don't think she's authentic enough to have an opinion, nobody's forcing anyone to read it.

Posted by: Josh at June 13, 2007 10:56 AM

Beth, I still don't see how you and Darleen can insist upon the traditional family as the "ideal" arrangement for childrearing, as there have been several studies which conclude that children raised by same-sex parents develop just as well as those raised by heterosexual couples. You can find the full reports here here

Posted by: Chris at June 13, 2007 03:19 PM

The reason that the two-parent family is the ideal is because it has been used successfully for thousands of years. Other parenting arrangements have been used, but they were not the default arrangement, nor were they particularly desirable, for a number of reasons.

These studies are concerned with recent developments. There is very limited data on non-traditional families and their impact on children. I remember just a few years ago, when the dominant meme was that divorce had very little effect on children, which is not true. Children are remarkably resilient, but changes in the family affect them greatly. Just because they can successfully adapt to those changes does not mean they are better off. Now apply that lesson to the larger discussion of non-traditional families, and you see what the conservative position is.

The other Chris

Posted by: Chris at June 13, 2007 07:25 PM

Damn you other Chris! Now I have to use my second handle...

I would hesitate to use the "historical justification" argument for several reasons. First, it's a slippery slope; one could very well say that living in caves worked successfully for thousands of years (else we wouldn't be here!), so why move on to prefab homes? This is obviously an exaggerated example, but you see my point: just because something has been done for a long time, even without significant problems, doesn't necessarily imply that we should stay that way. Evolution, my dear Chris; evolution.

Second, children that suffer developmental problems living in a same-sex family do not suffer because of the same-sex family per se; rather, they are victims of the ostracization and intolerance of others. For all the advances we've made, homosexuality is still considered taboo in certain regions of the country. This could, I imagine, cause some strain on the family as a whole.

Posted by: Claire at June 13, 2007 08:12 PM

Chris/Claire

SS couples can be loving, committed, healthy and, yes, they can raise children

However, the only way you can even pretend there is no difference between SS couples and what they can offer their children and Opposite sex couples is to start with the assumption that men and women are fully interchangeable. That male and female are the same.

Posted by: Darleen at June 13, 2007 08:51 PM

However, the only way you can even pretend there is no difference between SS couples and what they can offer their children and Opposite sex couples is to start with the assumption that men and women are fully interchangeable. That male and female are the same.

Darleen,

I fear that you might be mistaking gender for sex. I would agree that a male is not the same as a female; even the most cursory examination would confirm that. However, I do believe that gender, by which I mean the social behavior we commonly refer to as "feminine" or "masculine", is not directly and irreversibly connected to one's sex. So one female, for example, may in fact exhibit "masculine" traits, while the other female would be more "feminine". The same applies to men, and is not determined by sexuality. Surely you've met females who've been a little more or less "feminine" than you?

Posted by: Claire at June 13, 2007 09:13 PM

Claire

I understand the difference between gender/sex; however, even the most "masculine" female is still fundamentally different from a male. Within the sex there is a range of gender behavior, but those ranges ...male/female ... are fundamentally different from the other.

a child in an intact marriage with bio dad and mom is exposed to TWO different genders on an intimate day-to-day basis. One the same sex/gender as the child and one of the opposite.

How can that NOT be the ideal?

And if you believe sex/gender is "interchangeable" or is of little matter, do read this.

Posted by: Darleen at June 13, 2007 11:17 PM

even the most "masculine" female is still fundamentally different from a male. Within the sex there is a range of gender behavior, but those ranges ...male/female ... are fundamentally different from the other.

Hmmmm...If by "fundamentally" you mean "biologically", then yes, I would agree with you. Certainly a male can't give birth, nor can a female ejaculate sperm. However, I still don't understand what it is about a man's maleness (or a woman's femaleness, for that matter) that makes it so indispensable to a child's development. Remember, we're not talking about the child's gender identity, we're discussing why you believe it's essential that a child be raised by a biological male and a biological female.

And while the John/Joan case is certainly fascinating, I'm not sure it has much bearing on our discussion. We're not debating whether a child's parents ought to have dichotomous gender identities; the question is whether two people of the same biological sex can raise a child as successfully as two people of the opposite sex.

Posted by: Claire at June 14, 2007 12:34 AM

However, the only way you can even pretend there is no difference between SS couples and what they can offer their children and Opposite sex couples is to start with the assumption that men and women are fully interchangeable.

This is incorrect. At least two narrower assumptions will suppor the conclusion that children raised by SS couples will be just as well off as those raised by MS couples.

(1) Men and women are interchangeable for purposes of parenting.

(2) Men and women are different for purposes of parenting but the differences do not result in a material difference w/r/t the well-being of the child.

Posted by: Josh at June 14, 2007 07:42 AM

That's the rub, though, isn't it? Men and women are not interchangeable for parenting, no matter how much people may wish it were so. You simply cannot wish away biological programming. We can easily recognize that men and women do not parent the same. There is no comparison between the normal mother-child bond and the father-child bond.

As a single father, I know how difficult it is to assume the role of the other parent. I have to think about what I'm doing, and frankly, I'm just not that good at it. I will never be as good a mother as my childrens' mother is.

Posted by: Chris at June 14, 2007 08:28 AM

We can easily recognize that men and women do not parent the same. There is no comparison between the normal mother-child bond and the father-child bond.

But you're assuming there is a normal bond against which to compare other parenting configurations, and that smacks of universalism to me. Surely you're not suggesting that there is one mode of parenting that cuts across both geography and history? I would caution you against essentializing parenting roles.

Posted by: Claire at June 14, 2007 11:07 AM

What Claire said. A lot of sweeping and tendentious premises are being asserted as if they're indisputable facts.

Posted by: Josh at June 14, 2007 02:54 PM

"A lot of sweeping and tendentious premises are being asserted as if they're indisputable facts."

A very near perfect description of a teeneager.

Posted by: HughS at June 14, 2007 04:45 PM

Why would you caution me against essentializing parenting roles? Because it works? Because we naturally fall into those roles? Because it doesn't fit your notions of gender roles?

Most people are simply saying that we shouldn't rush into reassigning these fundamental gender roles before we understand what the consequences of doing so will be. One generation is not long enough to get any kind of handle on the ramifications of this type of thinking.

Posted by: Chris at June 15, 2007 10:12 AM

Why would you caution me against essentializing parenting roles? Because it works? Because we naturally fall into those roles?

Because stereotypes aren't facts.

Posted by: Josh at June 15, 2007 11:33 AM

"Because stereotypes aren't facts."

As Pablo said earlier on another topic, what a snappy little comeback...

" Men and women are different for purposes of parenting but the differences do not result in a material difference w/r/t the well-being of the child."

That's BS. Plain and simple BS. I don't have to footnote studies or opinions of experts that may or may not have an agenda; I will, however, reference "experts" that are stakeholders in this debate. They are my neighbors, the parents of my kids' classmates, and generally people I interact with and see daily.Dads make a difference.

"the differences do not result in a material difference w/r/t the well-being of the child."

Children who do not know their father or are estranged from their fathers as a result of divorce , abandonment or neglect in the home experience serious consequences as a result of that condition. Josh, have you ever been to a T Ball game with all Moms and no Dads attending? Ever been to an Elementary School graduation with the same aforementined audience? If you have, and paid attention, you got a G rated version of how badly this dynamic can go wrong. Just look in their eyes.
The presence of a father in a child's life is essential. To state that there is no "material difference" is fatuous. Dads make a difference, even if they are divorced from the mother.

This is not to denigrate single mothers; their efforts are heroic. This is to educate you, Josh.

Posted by: HughS at June 15, 2007 04:52 PM

Children who do not know their father or are estranged from their fathers as a result of divorce, abandonment or neglect in the home experience serious consequences as a result of that condition.

But you've neither listed the "serious consequences" nor cited any evidence short of personal anecdotes that support your claim. Unless you can muster some more objective references, I'm afraid I must remain unconvinced by your argument.

Posted by: Claire at June 15, 2007 11:47 PM

Just look at the carnage that has engulfed black families, Claire, and you'll see the "serious consequences" of absent fathers. A mother simply cannot wholly mitigate the lack of a father. Another mother in the household, or whatever you want to include, is not going to fill that void either.

People are "unconvinced" about the gender roles of parents being important because they are politically invested in the idea that those roles are unimportant. It won't be them who suffers if they're wrong, it will be the children of these "alternative" households. If progressives really care about "the children" as much as they claim, then I fail to see why they wouldn't want to be cautious about changing the historical environment in which those children are raised.

The reason I get along with my ex-wife is that it is important for her to be involved with our children's lives as much as possible. I made a conscious decision that it was better for them to have their mother around, no matter how uncomfortable I might be. Their well-being outweighed mine. That's the way it should be. Why wouldn't I extend that same principle to other children?

Posted by: Chris at June 16, 2007 05:11 AM

Claire

"Unless you can muster some more objective references"

Cynthia Harper (University of California, SF), and Sara McLanahan ( Princeton), "The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth"

A few of their findings:

1)Sons of single mothers are at greater risk for violence.
2) A child born out of wedlock is two and a half times as likely to serve time in prison...
3) The risk of incarceration is not based on the econmic status of the mother, but on the abscence of "Dad"

There are many more "objective" findings in this study, but these are just a few.

Chris above made the point very plainly also. Voluminous studies are available, but any sensible parent knows what they see in every day life.

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Posted by: plium at June 16, 2007 10:51 AM

Chris, your link doesn't say what you'd like it to say. the reports referred to find that:

The nation's leading children’s health, children’s welfare and mental health organizations have issued statements declaring that a parent's sexual orientation is irrelevant to his or her ability to raise a child.

That is not at all the same thing as "Two Mommies are as good as a Mommy and a Daddy". It only says that homosexuality does not preclude one from being a good parent...the fact that it likely excludes an opposite sex parent from the child's life notwithstanding.

Posted by: Pablo at June 16, 2007 02:56 PM

Maybe you could educate yourself on the fallacy of overlooking a common cause, Hugh.

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Posted by: mrvlxz at June 17, 2007 10:42 PM

"fallacy of overlooking a common cause"

I'll get right on that Josh when you explain what it is.

Posted by: HughS at June 18, 2007 06:23 PM

Hugh,

Here's an explanation:

http://www.mnstate.edu/gracyk/courses/phil%20110/fallaciesexplained.htm#commonCause

Sorry about the C&P - I'm not good with HTML.

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Posted by: gafon at June 20, 2007 05:36 PM

And what is the common cause that's being overlooked, Josh?

Posted by: Pablo at June 20, 2007 06:01 PM

Darleen's Place
Politics, parenting and other prattlings.
Previewing your Comment
Josh
I'm not sure I agree with your premise, but for starters, define X.
Then quantify, correlate,contrast,and find and prove disssimilaritaries and tension in your answer.
If this tires you, then read "The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth".

Posted by: HughS at June 20, 2007 06:59 PM

Because stereotypes aren't facts.

And that thing between your legs? A stereotype. A mere social construct. Pay no attention to it.

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