Single Mothers and Conservatism

 

shutterstock_209614678I would like to pose two questions to my follow Ricochet members: What should be the conservative answer be to unwed single mothers? How should the GOP/Conservatives support existing single mothers (to include widows, separated, divorced, unwed)?

I think we have a tendency to focus on the origins of the issue of single mothers — such as the rise of the welfare state and the sexual revolution — without addressing how we would support those single mothers that need help today. Social Conservatives are pro-life, pro-motherhood, and pro-marriage. However, the Left perpetuates the stereotype that Conservatives are not supportive of single mothers, and it works for them politically. In the 2012 presidential election 75% of single mothers voted for the Democratic ticket.

So what say you, Ricochet? Should we cede that portion of the electorate to the Democrats and to likely dependence on the state? I believe we can do better than that.

Published in Culture, Marriage, Politics
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  1. user_1121313 Inactive
    user_1121313
    @AnotherLawyerWaistingTime

    Kay of MT:As a social case worker, and at one time with a case load of 120 “unmarried minor mothers” there has only been one response in this thread so far that even hinted at understanding the problem. Not a one of those girls planned to get pregnant, not a one of them expected their boyfriends to abandon them, and not a one of them expected their parents to put them out of their homes as “immoral, damaged goods.” And not a one of them considered abortion.

    Please don’t get me started until you truly understand the problem.

    Really they did not intend to have unprotected sex? Interesting . . .maybe a few cases but all 120’s birth control failed? Maybe sue the birth control producer for a defective product? If she cannot support the kid she should not have the kid. You are protecting her from her poor decision so she will commit more poor decision. Feelings are great and all but I should not pay for you to feel good or her to feel sex’d up.

    • #31
  2. Vice-Potentate Inactive
    Vice-Potentate
    @VicePotentate

    Kay of MT:Please don’t get me started until you truly understand the problem.

    Please do get started. I would love to hear you elaborate.

    • #32
  3. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Merina Smith:Single motherhood is not a new problem, though it has greatly increased of course. In the early 19th century, single women who gave birth were asked about the paternity of the father during labor, a time when it was thought they wouldn’t lie. Fathers were held accountable for the children they fathered and were expected to support them. Local communities enforced this. Now that paternity can be determined for certain, I wonder if it wouldn’t work to hold fathers to account. I know that many fathers are also welfare dependent, but what if the benefits of such men were withheld, or, if they are working, they were required to support the child, even if only with a percentage of what they earn? In other words, enough to hurt. The problem is that we don’t want to harm children by punishing their feckless mothers. We should do all we can to assure children have good lives, and at the same time we can’t take babies away from mothers. Feckless fathers who are not living with women and children can better afford to be hit in the pocketbook, which would make them think twice about scattering baby mamas around the country. We don’t want men pressuring young women to have abortions, though, so there is that to think about.

    On a first pass, I like it, but I suspect this might not only tend to increase the risk to an unborn child’s life, but others in the vicinity as well.  I think that when society pressured marriage, it was a far better thing than if the government does it.  A) different target audience, and B) so impersonal as to be monstrous.  You can’t fine a man into being a father to a child, or a husband to a wife.  So presumably this would only work as far as coercing child support, which is already done if paternity can be established.  Still, if incentives are the thing, there might be a way to get this done.

    It takes a more personal, community-friends-and-family approach to work change in a man’s life.  That’s my impression anyway.

    • #33
  4. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    The last time I looked, the statistics were that college-bound or in-college girls and young women had abortions rather than trying to keep their babies. The thinking was that these were people with a plan for their lives and rather than have their plans interrupted, they chose to have abortions.

    There’s a lesson there. If we want to help single mothers, it would be a good idea to look back at our elementary and middle schools for the answer.

    Kids need life goals. And we need to help them build their lives so they see that they have a place in that world. They will have friends and a nice life.

    And we need to stop promoting dating and sex in schools and start promoting the joy of life. How wonderful life will be if you do your homework. You have talents and skills and promise. Hang in there. Good days are coming.

    Schools are achingly negative places for kids today. The liberal the-world-is-going-to-end and the-United-States-is-evil messages are daily fare for our kids. I wish more adults could spend whole days in schools. They would be stunned at the cumulative negativity. They are miserable, depressing emotional environments for many kids. The kids who survive with an attitude of hope are either natural-born survivors or kids from hopeful homes with attentive parents who counteract the negativity.

    We need to create positive environments for all of our kids. More music. More foreign languages. Less Judy Blume.

    Then things will change.

    • #34
  5. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Kay of MT:….. Not a one of those girls planned to get pregnant….

    Except in case of rape, this is a poor excuse. It’s also the result of severing procreation from sex, of thinking that because of science sex is now only about pleasure. BS. Sex leads to babies, and you don’t have to be a biology major to know that. If you have sex then you’re planning to get pregnant – or you should know that it’s a real and present possibility. Of course I understand how much it sucks to realize what you’ve done but not until after the fact. I’m sure we can all empathize. That doesn’t relieve anyone of responsibility, though, or make them pitiful.

    Now I’m frowning. V.S., I guess I frown more than I thought!

    • #35
  6. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    I do not envy any young person growing up today without a firm grounding in who they are and where they’re going.  Sounds like Kay is talking about girls young enough that it’s kind of hard to blame them for not having their heads screwed on straight yet.  Statistically, some are going to get derailed.  Those ones wind up at Kay’s desk.

    That said, if single minor motherhood is understood to be a path out of whatever ails you, there *will* be more subsidy seeking behavior, explicitly so.  It’s already a thing to some extent — you hear about girls who wanted a baby so that somebody would love them unconditionally etc, or they would feel all grown up, or what-have-you.  I’ll assume that’s a vanishingly small minority, but there it is.  Incentives will either discourage or encourage more.

    • #36
  7. Jojo Inactive
    Jojo
    @TheDowagerJojo

    Let me bore you with a story about a lovely young woman I know, “Crystal.”  She had some serious hard knocks in high school- was seduced and discarded by an older married man who should of course be drawn and quartered but there’s no proof, and meanwhile her parents got divorced. She broke down and had to finish high school at home with a tutor.  Then she decided on something to live for- she would have a baby!  She found a boyfriend, got pregnant, but he had mental issues and was totally not husband material (or so I’m told) so cut him out of the picture.  She had a darling baby girl and lived at home with her mother for a while.  Then she got another boyfriend.   Crystal and baby went to live with him and his mother, though that did not work out so she is still living with them and dating someone else.  The baby’s prospects for a stable home life are dim.

    Crystal is, despite appearances, not an idiot.  Had she not seen many girls her age have a baby and survive on welfare she would not have intentionally gotten pregnant in the first place.

    Her newly divorced mother, though unhappy about the pregnancy, quickly found her daughter’s welfare checks were indispensable.  I don’t think Crystal was intentionally “pimped out” by her parents for the welfare check, but  I think it is not unknown.  But had there been no check, Crystal still had two employed parents who would have kept a roof over her head and provide a loving family environment for the child – and she would have been in their debt.

    The boyfriend’s family that she moved in with was happy for the check, too.  She paid them rent.  Our government is subsidizing her bringing her baby to live with a man not her husband nor the father of her child.

    There is a case where compassionate entitlements led to more, rather than less, misery.

    • #37
  8. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    This is actually pretty simple, in my opinion.

    We should throw ourselves fully into the arms of these girls by giving them what they need… but there has to be a cost extracted from them.

    These girls can get the help they need but in return they agree to accept the implantation of some form of semi-permanent birth control so that one problem doesn’t morph into a second the moment another suitable bachelor happens along with sweet words and breakable promises.

    It’s not about punishment or what-have-you; it’s a stop-loss policy.

    People make mistakes.  We should grant them one.  But only one.

    • #38
  9. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    TheChuckSteak:

    Larry3435:Prevent unintended pregnancies. That means lots and lots of sex education and free birth control. But somehow I don’t expect conservatives to get behind this solution. Go figure.

    Anyone can afford birth control if they really want it, and everyone who is old enough to have sex of their own volition knows how babies are made. Having baskets of condoms and birth control pills on every corner courtesy of the taxpayer is not a solution. The government has no business supplying this stuff and the state shouldn’t mandate a free people to learn about sex.

    You are talking about responsible people.  Those are not the people this post is about.  I don’t think government should have to step in to prevent unintended pregnancies either.  But if the choice is between government doing that or government having to support the kid for 18 years, I’ll say – spring for the price of a condom.

    • #39
  10. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    There is presumably another end of this issue — young women who view raising children as the sort of hard work and of enough obvious social benefit justify drawing a stipend from the society, through its government.  Well, it could be men too, but they’ll have a tougher time arriving at that situation, so, statistically it’s women.

    I think we can agree that *minors* are at any rate not fully responsible in one sense or another.  What about those who are comfortable enough with the moral argument that parenting is a social service?

    /popcorn

    • #40
  11. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Larry3435:

    TheChuckSteak:

    Larry3435:Prevent unintended pregnancies. That means lots and lots of sex education and free birth control. But somehow I don’t expect conservatives to get behind this solution. Go figure.

    Anyone can afford birth control if they really want it, and everyone who is old enough to have sex of their own volition knows how babies are made. Having baskets of condoms and birth control pills on every corner courtesy of the taxpayer is not a solution. The government has no business supplying this stuff and the state shouldn’t mandate a free people to learn about sex.

    You are talking about responsible people. Those are not the people this post is about. I don’t think government should have to step in to prevent unintended pregnancies either. But if the choice is between government doing that or government having to support the kid for 18 years, I’ll say – spring for the price of a condom.

    The price of the condom is only the issue once you’ve accepted a raft of leftist ideology.  Twice now we’ve almost gone the full Fluke in this thread.  I bet we get there soon.  Which nobody should interpret as equating the issues.  Just that one thing leads to another.  Sometimes twins.

    • #41
  12. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    The dilemma with unwanted pregnancies is the same dilemma as unemployment insurance, welfare, and other social help programs. That is, in the effort to ameliorate the pain of some unwanted event, you can create perverse incentives that wind up encouraging the behavior that leads to it. That dilemma is at the core of many of our social and economic problems. Taxing the rich to extract more money makes them less likely to generate the money to be taxed in the first place. Giving people enough money to live on while unemployed means they have less incentive to be employed. And so on.

    Is there a way we can ameliorate the damage without creating perverse incentives? I doubt it.

    * * *

    I’d say that this is a cultural problem, and the ultimate remedy, therefore, has to be cultural.

    You can look at the culture where young women are having sex that leads to unwanted pregnancies, and focus your efforts on ways to have sex that won’t lead to pregnancy – like birth control, or even abortion. But that entrenches a cultural assumption that having sex, whether you’re prepared for the consequences or not, is just something we have to accept as a given.

    I argue that if you want to throw in the towel, accept, or even encourage people to have sex whether they’re ready or not, then you’ve already accepted the high frequency of unwanted pregnancies.

    • #42
  13. user_989419 Inactive
    user_989419
    @ProbableCause

    Conservatives can offer single mothers the same thing they offer blacks, latinos, gays, and FexEx delivery personnel:

    “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    • #43
  14. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Probable Cause:Conservatives can offer single mothers the same thing they offer blacks, latinos, gays, and FexEx delivery personnel:

    “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will —

    Yo, Imma let you finish but Barack Obama totally shoulda — what’s that?  He did?  AIght.

    • #44
  15. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    KC Mulville:….I argue that if you want to throw in the towel, accept, or even encourage people to have sex whether they’re ready or not, then you’ve already accepted the high frequency of unwanted pregnancies.

    And the left has done exactly that. They argue that first part morally (amorally), then they argue the second point from utility.

    • #45
  16. Jojo Inactive
    Jojo
    @TheDowagerJojo

    Ball Diamond Ball:There is presumably another end of this issue — young women who view raising children as the sort of hard work and of enough obvious social benefit justify drawing a stipend from the society, through its government. Well, it could be men too, but they’ll have a tougher time arriving at that situation, so, statistically it’s women.

    I think we can agree that *minors* are at any rate not fully responsible in one sense or another. What about those who are comfortable enough with the moral argument that parenting is a social service?

    /popcorn

    If we are hiring them, I think we get to choose who does this and their working conditions.

    • #46
  17. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    Free eHarmony or Match accounts?

    I am kidding, but I saw something about a new poll showing men between the ages of 25 and 34 are more likely to want children than women of the same age.

    • #47
  18. V.S. Blackford Inactive
    V.S. Blackford
    @VSBlackford

    Ed G.:

    Second, are we really frowning or are we simply failing to applaud, coddle, and lionize? My general sense is that it’s the latter. However, there’s also nothing wrong with frowning as a default position. It should be frowned upon because it’s not good for anyone. Sure, there are sometimes circumstances out of a person’s control – latent alcoholism or abuse for instance, or early death of a spouse. In what % of instances is that the case, though? How many can truly claim that they didn’t see any of it coming? Otherwise, help already exists for those who want it, for those who realize that they themselves need to make a change first. Hell, there’s already help available for those who won’t ever change. What else do you have in mind?

    I am going to look at the political angle now.  This is where conservatives have a difficult time coming up with a positive message on social problems.  Perhaps instead of “Well, you should have known better!” we should be framing it as “I know you are in a difficult position.  How can we give you an opportunity to help yourself?”

    • #48
  19. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @TheChuckSteak

    Larry3435:

    TheChuckSteak:

    Larry3435:Prevent unintended pregnancies. That means lots and lots of sex education and free birth control. But somehow I don’t expect conservatives to get behind this solution. Go figure.

    Anyone can afford birth control if they really want it, and everyone who is old enough to have sex of their own volition knows how babies are made. Having baskets of condoms and birth control pills on every corner courtesy of the taxpayer is not a solution. The government has no business supplying this stuff and the state shouldn’t mandate a free people to learn about sex.

    You are talking about responsible people. Those are not the people this post is about. I don’t think government should have to step in to prevent unintended pregnancies either. But if the choice is between government doing that or government having to support the kid for 18 years, I’ll say – spring for the price of a condom.

    Well how do you determine who is responsible and who isn’t? You can’t. So you need to mandate the government supply this stuff for everyone which is a no go for me. People deserve to pay for their actions. The choice isn’t between us paying for free condoms and us paying for a child. The choice is between them acting responsibly or them paying for their own actions. That is the way things should be.

    • #49
  20. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    V.S. Blackford:

    Ed G.:

    Second, are we really frowning or are we simply failing to applaud, coddle, and lionize? My general sense is that it’s the latter. However, there’s also nothing wrong with frowning as a default position. It should be frowned upon because it’s not good for anyone. Sure, there are sometimes circumstances out of a person’s control – latent alcoholism or abuse for instance, or early death of a spouse. In what % of instances is that the case, though? How many can truly claim that they didn’t see any of it coming? Otherwise, help already exists for those who want it, for those who realize that they themselves need to make a change first. Hell, there’s already help available for those who won’t ever change. What else do you have in mind?

    I am going to look at the political angle now. This is where conservatives have a difficult time coming up with a positive message on social problems. Perhaps instead of “Well, you should have known better!” we should be framing it as “I know you are in a difficult position. How can we give you an opportunity to help yourself?”

    Presumably at this point we are not so much talking about conservatives as just Republicans at large.  I’m not being snide — a party has tactics, whereas an ideology has principles.

    • #50
  21. user_517406 Inactive
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    I think Marci, Ed and KC are on the right track.  We cannot tell kids that sex is everything and there is no moral dimension to it and if you aren’t having it you are really missing out, and by the way, here’s a condom and free birth control, and not expect to have a lot of single mothers.  Add to this that in some communities there are no other role models for young women or men.  No one they know waits until marriage to have children.

    We need to tell them the truth–sex is not everything. Those who are not having it as teenagers are not missing out but being smart.  They are much more likely to get a good education and a good marriage in the future.  Sex is very much a moral issue because people will use other people to get sex and it is also the place where babies come from; babies that deserve to be born to the two people who made them.  Kay points out that girls who get pregnant don’t think their boyfriend will dessert them.  Let’s not allow them to be so naive.  These are actually genuine  facts of life.  If young people are not taught them, but are instead taught the opposite, what do we expect to happen?

    Churches and schools need to work together to teach kids the true facts of life.

    • #51
  22. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Republicans can go ahead and promise all sorts of stuff.  GO ahead, let it all hang out.  They are very proud of themselves for drafting another plan to maybe stop the expansion of the debt in maybe ten years, without even beginning to pay off a  single cent of it.  What’s a few billion more in food stamps to a group like that?

    • #52
  23. user_348375 Inactive
    user_348375
    @TrinityWaters

    In the large view, subsidize something and you get more of it.  Sure, but simplistic.  But at the personal level, there are nearly uncountable methods for single parents to get tax dollars, so we as conservatives don’t need to “do” anything in this realm.  Remembering that this is a symptom of socialism and fascism, the only truly effective defense for single parent’s kids, the true victims, is to get government out of way.  The true victims are not the challenged single mother, but their innocent children.

    So, the short answer is to defeat the Left via principled conservative leaders who will do the necessary work.  There is no grand strategy or comprehensive list of prescriptions that will cure the plight of these unfortunate children, only a long grueling road of unraveling the detritus of the Left, bit by bit.  This is analogous to how we’ll repair the entire national culture after Satan’s depredations via Obama.

    • #53
  24. V.S. Blackford Inactive
    V.S. Blackford
    @VSBlackford

    donald todd:Perhaps appealing to the fact that those women need assistance but would prefer that their children don’t have to go through the same wringer of dependency that they themselves have gone through might be a catalyst for change?

    I think this is a great point.  Being supportive of single mothers can go hand-in-hand with being supportive of all families.  School vouchers can be a winning issue politically (not with the unions, but they don’t vote our way anyways), and a way for children in sub-par school districts to get a better education, which in turn can break the cycle of dysfunction and dependency.

    • #54
  25. V.S. Blackford Inactive
    V.S. Blackford
    @VSBlackford

    V.S. Blackford:

    donald todd:Perhaps appealing to the fact that those women need assistance but would prefer that their children don’t have to go through the same wringer of dependency that they themselves have gone through might be a catalyst for change?

    I think this is a great point. Being supportive of single mothers can go hand-in-hand with being supportive of all families. School vouchers can be a winning issue politically (not with the unions, but they don’t vote our way anyways), and a way for children in sub-par school districts to get a better education, which in turn can break the cycle of dysfunction and dependency.  It also gives citizens the freedom to choose what is best for their family.

    *Sorry for the double post!  Wanted to add an extra thought…

    • #55
  26. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    Kay of MT:As a social case worker, and at one time with a case load of 120 “unmarried minor mothers” there has only been one response in this thread so far that even hinted at understanding the problem. Not a one of those girls planned to get pregnant, not a one of them expected their boyfriends to abandon them, and not a one of them expected their parents to put them out of their homes as “immoral, damaged goods.” And not a one of them considered abortion.

    Please don’t get me started until you truly understand the problem.

    Kay, it’s not that I don’t believe you, but my experience has been different. I agree that none of the pregnant teens I’ve encountered expected their boyfriends or parents to abandon them, but in inner-city Philadelphia, plenty of them planned to get pregnant. For example, one 16-year-old told me that the fact that her boyfriend was doing well financially made her realize that this was a good time for her to have a baby.

    In this population, as well, I can’t say I ever encountered a teen whose “parents put [her] out of their homes as ‘immoral, damaged goods,’ although I did encounter a number of teens whose parents were no longer in the picture.  Usually the parent was herself a single mother, and often one with major problems of her own.

    • #56
  27. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I wish I could highlight and quote parts of comments still. I really miss that.

    But I cannot agree more with Merina’s assessment of the problem and cure.

    Could we give kids the “true facts of life”?

    I noticed in the schools I volunteered in that the foreign-language-speaking students were doing consistently better than American-born kids. I’ve seen many theories about why that is the case, but if someone were to ask me, I’d say it was because they were immune to the feel-guilty-because-you-were-born-American message that the other kids were getting. The foreign-born kids believed in the American dream and if they worked hard, they could achieve it. That’s what they heard at home.

    The other problem is that we are painting all of single-motherhood with a single broad brush.

    The problem in the impoverished areas around our major thriving beautiful cities is that young girls are still being preyed upon. We really need to address that, by beefing up the self-esteem of these young girls and giving them the strength and tools to fend off the aggression of the young males in these areas.

    I want to prevent unplanned pregnancy if I can. That would be my fix for this problem.

    Because the wealthy single mothers aren’t a concern to anyone. It’s the poor single mothers who are on everyone’s mind.

    • #57
  28. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    MarciN:The last time I looked, the statistics were that college-bound or in-college girls and young women had abortions rather than trying to keep their babies. The thinking was that these were people with a plan for their lives and rather than have their plans interrupted, they chose to have abortions.

    There’s a lesson there. If we want to help single mothers, it would be a good idea to look back at our elementary and middle schools for the answer.

    Kids need life goals. And we need to help them build their lives so they see that they have a place in that world. They will have friends and a nice life.

    In fact, in the inner-city population I was familiar with, we had created so many supports for teen moms that they tended to do as well or better on average as those girls who didn’t have kids.  But our inner-city schools do very little to prepare young people to succeed in life, so it’s not surprising that any additional attention from a program focused on one group of young people would yield positive results..

    • #58
  29. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    V.S. Blackford:Social conservatives are pro-life. We encourage women who have an unplanned pregnancy to have their children. However, we are seen as frowning upon those who are unmarried when they have their children.

    There is always going to be some tension between these two principles, and we just have to live with it. There’s no way to split this, uh, baby.

    No matter what the abortion laws are, as long as unwed motherhood is stigmatized, there will be many women tempted to resort to abortion in order to hide the shame of their “mistake”. And unwed motherhood needs to be stigmatized. We’ve simply gotta accept that this stigma inevitably produces a certain amount of pressure to abort. Sometimes, people will die because of our moral choices, even our good moral choices. Life is like this.

    Many single mothers face the following challenges:

    -Jobs that are not flexible to their situation

    -Lack of access to good child care -Need for more education/training

    OK, here are some proposed solutions:

    Tear down barriers to employment and small business startup, such as licensing laws. For example, allow people to run daycare facilities without a license. Allow people to engage in light manufacture (such as cooking or baking) or to sell other services (such as hair-braiding) from their own residences, a practice which is currently so illegal in many towns that you cannot even procure a license to do it!

    Many poor single mothers already do engage in these sorts of cottage industries – babysitting everyone else’s kids (i.e, running an unlicensed day care), braiding hair for pay, or selling their cooking or other homemade items. But their economic activity is driven underground, into the black market, where it typically does not expand into something self-supporting, because unwed mothers typically lack the financial and social capital to comply with licensing laws, zoning laws, “health and safety” regulations, and so on.

    Obviously, if one single mother accepts money in order to stay home and watch six other single mother’s kids for the day along with her own, that frees up six single mothers to do jobs they otherwise couldn’t do because of lack of access to childcare. Permitting unlicensed day-care is really a no-brainer if you expect single mothers to, you know, actually work for a living.

    Also, open up the adoption market. If a single mother-to-be really cannot cope with rearing the child once he’s born, there are plenty of people willing to take that child off her hands. But at the moment, the adoption market is so sclerotic that it’s much harder than it should be to get supply (women pregnant with unwanted children) and demand (couples just longing to adopt an infant) to meet.

    • #59
  30. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Ball Diamond Ball:I do not envy any young person growing up today without a firm grounding in who they are and where they’re going. Sounds like Kay is talking about girls young enough that it’s kind of hard to blame them for not having their heads screwed on straight yet. Statistically, some are going to get derailed. Those ones wind up at Kay’s desk.

    I don’t blame these girls for not having their heads on straight yet, either. If someone else screwed your head on wrong when you were little, it’s normal for it to take years of painful experience for you to straighten it out by your own efforts, and years of painful experience is too late for most unwed mothers.

    We are in exact agreement.

    That said, if single minor motherhood is understood to be a path out of whatever ails you, there *will* be more subsidy seeking behavior, explicitly so. It’s already a thing to some extent — you hear about girls who wanted a baby so that somebody would love them unconditionally etc, or they would feel all grown up, or what-have-you. I’ll assume that’s a vanishingly small minority, but there it is. Incentives will either discourage or encourage more.

    It’s not a vanishingly small minority. It is the norm in some communities. Your baby boy is the only one you can trust to love you unconditionally. Until he’s old enough to beat you up, at which point he’s also old enough to become someone else’s baby-daddy, and the cycle continues.

    Everyone craves love, and young people can look for love in the most destructive places if their environment fails to provide it in healthier, more productive ways.

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