Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Poverty, (lack of) Education and Fatherless Children

There have been a number of recent blog posts, here, here and here for instance, that have touched on the above topics that I have always maintained are very intertwined. They remind me of a meeting I had with a family about 8 years ago that I will never forget.

Was talking with a social worker for an adoption agency and met a single mom and her two teenage daughters, 19 and 16. They lived in a small apartment in Kent and the mom worked a fairly low wage night job in the area. The reason we were meeting was because the 16 year old was pregnant, due in a month, and considering putting the baby up for adoption. She had got pregnant during a party by a guy she met that same night after smoking some marijuana. The 19 year old was also pregnant and was due in 2 months but she was going to raise the child. She had a boyfriend who lived in Canada but the plan was for the to eventually get married. This was not a household modeled after "Leave It To Beaver". The mom was obviously not 100 percent sold on the idea of her grandchild being put up for adoption and when the baby was born, the decision was made to not place the child.

What has always bothered me about this was the way the social worker handled the situation. She repeatedly told me how the Grandma to be was this great mom doing a wonderful job with her kids. A low income single mom who will soon be sharing her apartment with her two no income single teenage moms and her two grandchildren.

I have no quarrel with the decision to parent and I am sure the mom loved her children and did as good a job with them as she could but for the social worker to go on and on about how wonderful the mom was as if this was the model we should all strive to become struck me as part of the problem of low income single parents.

As I read the posts about kids who do not know their fathers and out of wedlock babies and the solution to under performing schools is simply more money, I just want to scream that what we really need is for those in charge and people in positions of authority to say "I do not condone that behavior". We need to get back to a place where it is not socially acceptable to raise a child without a father. To praise the mom of two pregnant teens. We need to treat socially unacceptable behavior as unacceptable.

3 comments:

Perri Nelson said...

You're right. Socially unacceptable behaviour should be treated as socially unacceptable behavior. Unfortunately in our modern day world we have to suffer with "moral relativism" and the idea that all outcomes are equally moral.
There's no returning to the past. That doesn't mean we have to praise bad decision making. This grandmother and her unemployed irresponsible teenage children made bad decisions. They need to live with those decisions.
It's going to be tough for them though. The social worker was making excuses for their situation rather than helping them to see that the decisions were bad and helping them to make better ones in the future.
Continuing to praise their bad decision making will only lead to more bad decisions in the future. That won't be good for those new babies.

terry said...

Until working class men regain the ability to earn enough money to support a family, don't look for the marriage rate to recover.

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