Family fragmentation comes at a tragic cost

Dec 23, 2021 by

by Melanie Phillips, The Times:

With ‘lifestyle choice’ trumping the interests of children, abuse and neglect are out of control.

“The dislocation of biology from parenthood has been an exponential catastrophe for untold numbers of children and women.”

Two recent cases of children who were sadistically ill-treated and eventually killed by members of their fractured families have revealed details of suffering that have been unbearable to read.

The two cases have led to a predictable outcry at the failings of social workers. ….What’s never acknowledged, however, is the reason social workers are overwhelmed by an enormous rise in child neglect and abuse. For the root cause is the willed disintegration of the traditional nuclear family — and the suppression of the evidence that, whatever its failings, it is still by far the safest environment in which to raise a child.

Those of us who tried pointing this out were trashed as heartless reactionaries who wanted to prevent people from finding happiness in their own way. The mantra of “lifestyle choice” meant no domestic arrangement could be deemed better or worse than any other. Family fragmentation, which should surely be viewed as a misfortune best avoided, became transformed into an adjunct of women’s liberation. Elective lone parenthood became viewed as an entitlement.

With marriage downgraded, cohabitation took off; but cohabitants are far more likely than married couples to break up, particularly if they have children. As fatherlessness went through the roof, so did the number of transient men, and then female partners, passing through the lives of women and their children.

Research over many decades overwhelmingly shows that children in fragmented families do worse in every area of life than those brought up in traditional households. Data cited by the Lords and Commons Family and Child Protection Group in the 1990s showed that a child was 33 times more at risk of abuse where his or her natural mother cohabited with a boyfriend. In Canada in 1994, for children up to age five the “homicide risk from stepfathers was approximately 60 times higher than from genetic fathers”.

Any attempt to stop the rise of mass fatherlessness — which was encouraged by those cushioned by money and privilege — was attacked as “blaming the poor”. Speak to black community leaders, however, and many will tell you that the single most important reason for the murderous gang warfare that is claiming the lives of so many of their boys is the absence of committed fathers.

Other welfare professionals speak repeatedly of young mothers who, having themselves been deprived of love and care and two biological parents, are incapable of caring for their own children. They may think they love and care for their kids, but in fact they expect their children to love and care for them.

The dismal fact is that so systemic is this cultural meltdown that there are vanishingly few young people in social work or anywhere else who have a clue that there’s anything wrong with the “lifestyle choice” they assume is a given of western society.

Of course there are lone parents who do the very best for their children, just as there are step-parents who are conscientious and loving. And equally, there are traditional families that incubate abuse and worse. But in general, the dislocation of biology from parenthood has been an exponential catastrophe for untold numbers of children and women.

It is the greatest cause of social inequalities, through educational underachievement, crime and juvenile psychological disorders. At its most extreme, it leads to neglected, abused and dead children. Yet this has become unsayable in the upper reaches of government and cultural life. So what we have instead are unspeakable acts of cruelty and degradation — and nauseating crocodile tears.

For full article see The Times  (£) here 


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