Monday, November 17, 2008

Arguments about later marriage have a flip side


Mathematica has made a study for the Administration for Children and Families for the United States Department of Health and Human Services, “Strengthening Relationships and Supporting Healthy Marriage Among Unwed Parents,” with a lot of statistic information about mainly low income couples, by M. Robert Dion and Barbara Devaney, link here.

The Washington Times, on Sunday Nov. 16, ran a column in the Family magazine p 15, “Marriage, family a goal for teens,” by Cheryl Wetzstein, link here. She discusses the welcome decrease in teenage pregnancy and intercourse, and notes a concern of a delay of teens to delay marriage. Then the emphasis on the article tends to an increase in interest in trial cohabitation, which may increase the odds of divorce later.

It seems as though we’re mixing a lot of concerns here. But one problem, more subtle, is that people postpone marriage forever for seemingly constructive reasons – career, and not sex. Wetzstein even mentions that more parents of adult children despair as to whether they will even have grandchildren at all. We’ve made it almost punitive for some people to marry and have children, say some observers like Philip Long (“The Empty Cradle”). It’s not so clear what the biggest concern is.

Then, today, The Washington Post ran a story by Chris Jenkins, “Raising Kids of Relatives Could Bring Federal Funds,” in the Metro Section, p B1, link here. The story, emphasizing poor families, tends to suggest that people, even childless people, often have to be able to raise other people’s children.

Then, on Nov. 17 Good Morning America, there was a brief report on a program in Kansas on “warchdog dads” where fathers take a day off work and spend time in public schools, especially grade schools. The story is by Erin Hayes, “Dads Trade Overtime for Quality Time
'WatchDOG' Dads Get Involved As Local Volunteers and School Mentors, link here.

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