Why do children need a mother and a father? Watch

Lady Comstock
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I hear this argument a lot in response to gay adoption, and it also applies to people brought up in single-parent households.

It seems that people who say this are saying it because that is all they have ever known, and could not think of a life without having grown up with their mother and father.

But why is this said as if it is an absolute requirement and somehow the ideal and/or intended set up for a child? What happens if this is not the case? Do these children grow up disadvantaged? The presence of fathers in child-rearing roles is a relatively new phenomenon, so I don't buy the social or naturalistic argument.

I just struggle to see the whole 'children need a mother and father' any more than people projecting their personal sensibilities onto others.
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miguapa
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it's a moot point.

not enough evidence/research to back it up.
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Birkenhead
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(Original post by miguapa)
it's a moot point.

not enough evidence/research to back it up.
There's an enormous amount of research to back up the idea that children raised in single parent families are disadvantaged. They are more likely to do badly at school, to have emotional problems, and addictions, among many other characteristics. Whether the gender of the parents is relevant I don't know.
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miguapa
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not true, you're making a generalisation.
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Birkenhead
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(Original post by miguapa)
not true, you're making a generalisation.
I didn't say that all single parent families confer these disadvantages to the child(ren), but single parenting is strongly linked to them all the same.
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thisistheend
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(Original post by Lady Comstock)
I hear this argument a lot in response to gay adoption, however people forget that they are also tarring people, like me, who were brought up in a single-parent household.

It seems that people who say this are saying it because that is all they have ever known, and could not think of a life without having grown up with their mother and father. This is understandable; I couldn't think of not having grown up with my mother, and it would be odd for me to think of another parent being involved.

But why is this said as if it is an absolute requirement and somehow the ideal and/or intended set up for a child? What happens if this is not the case? Do these children grow up disadvantaged? The presence of fathers in child-rearing roles is a relative new phenomenon, so I don't buy the social or naturalistic argument.

I just struggle to see the whole 'children need a mother and father' any more than people projecting their personal sensibilities onto others.
That's because you never had a mother and a father, no wonder you don't know what you're missing. Can a blind person at birth ever see what they're missing?
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CottageCheese
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A married couple can usually provide a more stable life than a single parent. Its two people to trust growing up rather than just one, two sets of skills, two people full of knowledge who can teach them things instead of just one, as well as giving an example of how a (hopefully) successful relationship is. Men and women are different so having a role model and caregiver from each gender will usually give them a more balanced life growing up. Also only women can breastfeed so I can them pretty important to a babies health.

Children from couples do better. Single parents usually have baggage about their missing parent.
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Lady Comstock
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(Original post by CottageCheese)
A married couple can usually provide a more stable life than a single parent. Its two people to trust growing up rather than just one, two sets of skills, two people full of knowledge who can teach them things instead of just one, as well as giving an example of how a (hopefully) successful relationship is.
The things you mention are not confined to the mother-father set up. Children have family members, usually grandparents who can fulfil those things, or partners who are brought in by single parents.

Those skills are also not confined to gender in the case of same-sex couples.

Men and women are different so having a role model and caregiver from each gender will usually give them a more balanced life growing up. Also only women can breastfeed so I can them pretty important to a babies health.
Role model and caregiver? That is a very 1950s sounding domestic unit. These days the mother and father are not hugely different in terms of what they do and the care they provide.

And why can a single parent not fulfil both of those roles? Also those roles are not gender-specific, so it applies to same-sex couples.

Children from couples do better. Single parents usually have baggage about their missing parent.
It depends on the circumstances. I would say that, on average, a two-parent household provides more advantages than a single-parent one, but not to the extent that a child NEEDS a mother and a father, and every other option is wholly inferior.
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Lady Comstock
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(Original post by Birkenhead)
There's an enormous amount of research to back up the idea that children raised in single parent families are disadvantaged. They are more likely to do badly at school, to have emotional problems, and addictions, among many other characteristics. Whether the gender of the parents is relevant I don't know.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-st...s-9278689.html

Whilst I accept that there are more advantages to a two-parent family, I do not think that it is such to say that a child NEEDS a mother and a father as if anything else if totally illegitimate.
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poohat
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Because mothers are prone to spoil their children and are bad at instilling discipline. There are several aspects of this, including:

a) women tend to be risk-averse in general and this is even more exaggerated when it comes to their own children; mothers are often overprotective and try to shield their children against all the horrible things in the world, while traditionally it is the father figure which encourages the child to take risks and learn how to man up. If a child doesnt have that influence then it is possible that they will grow up over-sheltered and weak - when a kid comes home from school and tells his mum he is getting bullied she will cuddle him, comfort him, and complain to the school. It is the father who will be the one to teach him how to fight back.

b) Women tend to love their children unconditionally and will usually always defend them, while men are more likely to judge their children's actions objectively. The whole awful modern culture where children are told they are special little snowflakes and that everyone is a winner and deserves a gold star, comes from an overly feminized approach to child-rearing where children are not given objective feedback and are told that they are brilliant unconditionally, This is not a good thing.

Even if you don't buy the above, the empirical evidence is overwhelming - children from single mother familties are much more likely to be broken. Children need a father.

http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs...-071312-145704
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education...e-behaved.html
http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs...40.2013.867466
http://journals.cambridge.org/action...33291713000603
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1...572.x/abstract
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poohat
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(Original post by Lady Comstock)
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-st...s-9278689.html

Whilst I accept that there are more advantages to a two-parent family, I do not think that it is such to say that a child NEEDS a mother and a father as if anything else if totally illegitimate.
That article is pretty bad.

There is a substantial body of literature showing that when you look at objective life outcome measures, children from single parent families do worse than children from proper families. The article even mentions some of this in the last paragraph:

One 2008 report, based on figures from the Office for National Statistics, claimed that children whose parents had split up were four and a half times more likely to develop emotional problems than those whose parents had stayed together.
In opposition to this body of research which looks at objective measures of life outcome, you have a study which is literally based on nothing more than asking 7 year old children whether they "feel happy":

The seven-year-olds were asked the question: “How often do you feel happy?”

Of the children living with a lone parent, 36 per cent said they were happy “all the time” while the remaining 64 per cent reported being happy “sometimes or never”.

Exactly the same percentages were recorded when the question was put to children from the other family types.
Come on. This is not serious research.
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BefuddledPenguin
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Almost every issue linked to single parent families is also linked to child poverty. Children don't need two parents, they need a stable upbringing, this is more likely if you are not afraid of the council throwing you out or are worried about being able to afford your next meal.
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Hal.E.Lujah
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Single parent = single earner, and there is a worryingly strong correlation there with poor upbringing indicators (low prospects, low education, criminal records etc). If you set the indicators you're interested in OP it might be easier to examine what you mean by advantages of two parents, but for now the most obvious one is finance.
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Birkenhead
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(Original post by BefuddledPenguin)
Almost every issue linked to single parent families is also linked to child poverty. Children don't need two parents, they need a stable upbringing, this is more likely if you are not afraid of the council throwing you out or are worried about being able to afford your next meal.
It's one of a range of factors that are at play, not the only one.

For example, the actual physical development of the brain has been demonstrated to differ in fatherless families, especially in the prefrontal cortex, resulting in abnormally aggressive and deviant behavioural patterns. This is consistent with the knowledge that children from these families have significantly higher rates of crime, drug abuse, worse educational attainment and mental illness. Dr Gabriella Gobbi, who led the study at McGill university, concluded that both parents were necessary for the healthy neurological development of children.

It is definitely not a simple matter of money.
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Birkenhead
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(Original post by Lady Comstock)
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-st...s-9278689.html

Whilst I accept that there are more advantages to a two-parent family, I do not think that it is such to say that a child NEEDS a mother and a father as if anything else if totally illegitimate.
As has already been said, the 'research' you cite isn't particularly credible since it consists entirely of simply asking children how happy they are. It is obviously more sensible to side with the enormous body of hard statistical and scientific evidence that single parent families disadvantage children - and this is coming from someone who was raised by a single parent.

It's not a matter of 'legitimacy', but I think it goes against the evidence and common sense to suggest that single parent families are ever, (bar the obvious greater evils of domestic violence etc.), not significantly worse for the children in them than the two parent model.
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Lady Comstock
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(Original post by Birkenhead)
As has already been said, the 'research' you cite isn't particularly credible since it consists entirely of simply asking children how happy they are. It is obviously more sensible to side with the enormous body of hard statistical and scientific evidence that single parent families disadvantage children - and this is coming from someone who was raised by a single parent.

It's not a matter of 'legitimacy', but I think it goes against the evidence and common sense to suggest that single parent families are ever, (bar the obvious greater evils of domestic violence etc.), not significantly worse for the children in them than the two parent model.
I am not sure I can agree that it is significantly worse. If a single parent has all the skills of a good parent, can provide a financially stable upbringing and has family or a partner around them to support the child, then I don't see this being significantly worse than a two-parent household. Perhaps the majority of single parent households do not have this set up, which is why they fall short in studies.

I accept that the hypothetical household I have mentioned is worse than an equivalent two-parent one, but I don't believe the gulf is substantial. It will be more to do with sharing time, having another person on hand to assist, etc.
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thisistheend
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(Original post by Lady Comstock)
I am not sure I can agree that it is significantly worse. If a single parent has all the skills of a good parent, can provide a financially stable upbringing and has family or a partner around them to support the child, then I don't see this being significantly worse than a two-parent household. Perhaps the majority of single parent households do not have this set up, which is why they fall short in studies.

I accept that the hypothetical household I have mentioned is worse than an equivalent two-parent one, but I don't believe the gulf is substantial. It will be more to do with sharing time, having another person on hand to assist, etc.
You quoted everyone else but me. So I take it I have the most valid opinion then
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Alumna
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It is just how things should be, sometimes we shouldn't change culture. It's much better having the idea that to bring up a child. The mother and father should both be there in a relationship. The whole reason this equality nonsense came about is because of mean comments and stereotypes made towards single parents. Such as 'you won't be capable ' 'you won't show love ' 'you won't have wealth to bring up the child ' blah blah blah. But I think every child needs a mum unless they are naturally taken away. No-one should have the intention of 'I'm going to get knocked up, keep the child, dump the dad, use emotional abuse'.. I also don't think men should be so cocky by just leaving a women and creating a divide in the family.

There are no morals there days that's why all these lifestyle question arises. Everyone thinks we should be free to do whatever we want even if it risks hurting another person. And for couples who are in an abusive relationship, it is fine for them to go separate ways because no-one had that intention of bringing their child up in an abusive home.

The answer is yes we should have mum and dad, but DEPENDS ON THE SITUATION whether or not the couple has to stay together. Also don't think gay men should adopt or have their own children.
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heypusheen
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Are you asking why people have a mother and father? Pretty simple, because you naturally need a male (the father) and a female (the mother) to reproduce to create a child. All humans and a lot of the animal have a mother and father. Even people who are orphaned, etc.
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lovely girlie
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I am actually pleased to hear so many people arguing for a mother and father here. We are usually brainwashed with this new rhetoric that as long as we love the child etc that will be enough.

I know other people will disagree with me but I can only speak of my own experience and I didn't feel it was enough! I grew up without my father and never had any male role models. I found this impacted me massively when I grew up, struggled with sexuality (I now identify as bisexual after a LOT of struggle going back and forth with labels). And I still struggle in relationships with men. If you don't have a dad you don't learn how to relate to men at all.
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