Questionable "Facts"

"The difference between try and triumph is a little umph."  ~Author Unknown

Married and educated couples produce more successful or better children? What if the marriage is shitty? What if Dad is an alchoholic? What if mom beats the kids? What if parents are educated but cannot keep a job?

I don’t recall the exact quote. Whatever it was I dislike the stereotype and the inference that anyone NOT married and NOT educated cannot produce a decent, intelligent, hardworking, fulfilled, contributing member of society. Or that the best way is produce a decent child is to be married educated.

Having married and educated parents does not guarantee your chances of success. Improve them, perhaps. Not guaranteed. I know plenty of people from wealthy, educated families who aren’t worth the shoes on their feet. They live off mommy or daddy, have addiction problems, are criminals etc.  Oh, but mommy and daddy are married and educated so they are better than Peggy Sue the lawyer who was raised by a single mom?

Let’s just kill all the Americans NOW that are not married and not educated, mkay? They are just draining our society and won’t ever amount to much anyway. They might need birth control, welfare, or gack, some other sort of social welfare program. Just get rid of them. (Oh, but before we do, lets take their kids, especially if they are infants).

This type of married and educated bias is what feeds the adoption system. This type of view frightens me.

Not married? Whoops. Bad parent. Incapable parent.  Irresponsible. Got pregnant out of wedlock. Surely that’s a genetic defect.

Not a Harvard Grad? Bad parent. Kid wills be idiots. No chance of ever getting a job or supporting your children if you only graduated high school. Community College? Oh, puhlease.

Divorced parents? Take the children. Take them from their mom and dad and give them to married parents. (But only if they are infants. Older children are not in demand. Do something else with them).

Single dad? Take the child. Dads cannot mother. Men don’t have maternal instincts.

Gay parent? Take the child. Confusing for a child to have two mommies or daddies. DEFINITELY take the child from the gays.

At poverty level? Take the child.  Must give them ponies and pools.

One room apartment? Take the child. Surely they will develop claustrophobia in such small quarters. Not healthy.

My mother was one of six children. Her parents were from Ireland. She was first generation American. My grandfather was married (score one point for him) but certainly not educated. He came to America. Worked hard, owned his own business.  His children? Police officers, fireman, successful business men and women. Was it the luck of the Irish? Did the marriage certificate guarantee his children’s success or was it how he loved them, taught them, encouraged them, the values he instilled?

My sister has five children. She has had a rough life at times and has been through divorce, addictions, poverty and more. She was at one time a high wage earning nurse. Her children? The children that have seen horrible poverty and lived through divorce and more?  Successful, brilliant, wonderful college educated children. My nieces and nephews are amazing kids. But wait! How could that happen? Oh, right, my sister did finish college. I forget that small print on her diploma that says “will guarantee successful children in the future.” Surely it had nothing to do with her as a mother, how she loved them, stood by them, encouraged them, taught them decent values.

My grandmother conceived my father while interned in a concentration camp in WWII Poland. I don’t believe she even graduated high school.  She got pregnant (gasp!) out of wedlock in 1940. Guess what? That uneducated, unmarried mother came to the States, worked, bought property (several) and lead an amazing life. How the hell did THAT happen? No education and no marriage? Oh damn, foiled again, she did marry when she came to the states and had more children.  Two more boys.  Both college educated. Hmph. Again, surely it was the marriage certificate?  That magical piece of legal hooha that establishes your worthiness in American society?  But again, neither my grandmother nor her American husband was educated? Hmmm, what does that mean?

Life is ever changing. Circumstances change. People change. They get married, get divorced, educated. None of it, in my opinion is guarantee of the type of person that they are or the type of parent they can or will be.

Articles and research that suggest children from married educated couples are BEST is what the adoption industry feeds on. They use that type of “research” and “facts” to coerce and intimidate mothers to surrender their children. Talk like that says to a young girl like me “You can give your child nothing and they can give her everything.” .."your child will be BETTER OFF without you"…That type of research helps infertile college educated married couples acquire children.  How nice for them and how awful for the rest of us poor, unmarried, uneducated losers. We could never produce a decent child.

It’s ignorant. It is classist. It’s elitist. It’s so very American.

And I don’t like it.

1 Thought.

  1. Hey Suz…”Having married and educated parents does not guarantee your chances of success. Improve them, perhaps. Not guaranteed.”
    We agree that there are no guarentees and like most generalizations, there are exceptions. Does that mean the generalization has no validity? Do generalizations in and of themselves always lead to sterotypes? Or is that an over-generalization in and of itself?
    Mothers and adoptees both have advocated that young women often relinquish their parental rights because they do not have access or knowledge to resources and are pressured. I think the article helps substantiate that rationale. In the summary it state:
    The proportion of births that occur outside of marriage in the United States has climbed over
    the past 30 years, reaching 37 percent in 2005. This pattern is a cause for concern because children born to
    unmarried mothers fare worse, on average, than do their peers who are born to married parents. The
    context of this pattern also is changing, with some experts reporting that the increases in childbearing outside
    of marriage result almost completely from increases in births to couples who live together (or cohabit). Given
    evidence of high rates of break-up among parents who cohabit, and the potentially negative consequences for
    children born into cohabiting unions, it is important to examine trends in these births.
    I believe there is some validity to the statements above based on the evidence. I agree that we should not use this as a way to stereotype people who have children that are not married or without degrees as bad parents but in terms of developing social policies, the data does need to be reviewed for trends…not for sterotyping.

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