Changing the Fast-Growing Demographic

During my studies as a graduate student, I came across this interesting bit of information: more children that are being born into single-parent households are born into households where Mom was never married.  Let's stop and think about this.  Children in single-parent homes are generally the offspring of unwed mothers!  I  can guarantee that all of us can think of a single woman raising her child without a history of divorce.  Everyone has heard the most misconstrued statistic in the world "half of all marriages end in divorce."  (I won't go into why this quote enrages me in this post.)  If half of marriage partners really are getting divorced, then the single-parent homes should be, for the most part, accounted for.

I have also read that women are generally waiting until they are older to get married and have children-from their late twenties to early thirties range.  A growing number of women are starting to pursue education and careers before they settle down.  How can women be getting married later at the same time as single parent households are increasing at an all-time high?

Although divorce is rampant, I don't believe it accurately explains the single-parent phenomena.  Today, men and women are shamelessly having sexual intercourse outside of marriage.  Mechanically, sex has two sonsequences: creating babies or spreading STD's.   (Yes, people have sex for pleasure but I'm talking about producing a physical product- not a sensational feeling.  Think about sex as a factory assembly line where two workers making a product.)  If you know that you are not committed to the other person, then why would you risk creating a child?  When you have sex without any form of pregnancy prevention, you increase the probability of having a child 75%.  Let's be honest.  Females carry a pregnancy for forty weeks before the fetus becomes a child that Dad can help.  Forty weeks is a long time- long enough for someone to plan his or her escape from parenthood.  According to the statistics, Dads are most likely to bail once they know or displace their responsibilities once they are notified. 

Whether the relationship ended before she knew she was pregnant, he bailed, or someone got a divorce, the someone is now a single parent.  When I think of every kid's childhood, I cannot imagine a little girl or boy saying, "I can't wait to be a single-parent and raise my child or children alone!"  With the ideal of raising the child in a home with two loving parents and two incomes gone, life just got tougher. . . a lot tougher.

When one is living under less than ideal circumstances like those I just described, then one should focus on making the best of the situation.  Sleeping with Private Joe Snuffy or G.I. Jane without a condom right before he or she deployed was a bad idea.  Forgive yourself.  Adjust fire and continue on with your new mission of single-parenthood.  Don't be afraid to ask for help.  If you need to get on welfare for a while, do it.

Let's talk about getting on welfare.  State aid, welfare, or whatever you call it is a temporary solution to your long-term issue.  Raising a child does NOT get cheaper with time.  (Everytime I compare my total at Wal-mart to amount of items in my cart, I want to riot.)  Providing for your child today will not be easier because you, the parent, will be faced with challenges everyday.  Inflation, the price of daycare, available housing, your level of education, outrageous costs of tuition, and the depreciation of the American dollar are just a few the issues you'll encounter.  While raising a child alone in this economy is difficult, it can be done.  Welfare can help with that, if you qualify.  If welfare does help you improve your circumstance, that is wonderful.  Don't count on it to always be there though.  Your state and federal governments are under some of the same pressures.  Funneling money at the rate that they do now may not be possible in the future.

Representative Kim Hammer (R-AK) understands these facts.  In order to encourage sustainable welfare programs and responsible behavior of welfare recipients, she is offering to reimburse  the costs to IUD or Norplant implantation to females on welfare.  Paraguard outlines the one-time fee to purchase their copper IUD on their website.  Although $932 is a initial out-of-pocket cost, it would be worth it when compared to what state governments are spending on welfare.  As a divorced parent, I was on welfare for 21 months and received $323 a month in foodstamps for my one child and myself.  In that time frame, I cost my state government $6,783.  *If the state government paid for a hypothetical IUD prior to my pregnancy, I theoretically could have saved taxpayers $5,851.  (*In reality, I cannot receive an IUD.  My child is five years old.  I am a taxpayer myself and I don't plan on getting on welfare ever again.)  I am one person.  In Kentucky, more than 900,000 people get government assistance, that's about 21% of the state. That does not include people on temporary state assistance, like K-TAP or TANF.


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