All Articles Tagged "single parenthood"
Not long ago, Tyler Perry was a guest on the Steve Harvey Show and expressed his desire to have children one day. The media mogul, at age 43, didn’t mention anything about marriage, even though he’s said in the past that he’d like to be married one day. However, it’s not surprising that many men and women feel the need to fulfill their desires to be parents without necessarily walking down the aisle first.
It seems more and more men and women are putting off marriage so that they can build their career and having children has been pushed back a little too. And then there are those who are deciding not to do either altogether so that they can focus on building successful careers rather than child rearing. Lately, I’ve been reading articles about the double standard between single, Black, 40-something year old men who are successful, but choose not to get married or have children and their female counterparts who decide the same. It appears that some women are considered “selfish” if they choose their career over parenthood, while men may not be judged at all for making the same choice. If Tyler Perry decided to never have kids, would we care? I’m not saying we’d care if Janet Jackson or Oprah never had children, but for some it just seems “odd” when a successful woman decides to never have a child.
But for those African American men and women who DO want to have children but don’t have any prospects in sight for a mate, what do they do? Statistics state that 72 percent of black children are born to unwed parents and they led me to wonder: if a black man or woman, for whatever reason, decided that they never wanted to get married, should they NOT have children? Ever?
I ask because it seems that even though we’re not getting married the way we used to, we’re certainly still having kids. Now, I’ll be the first one to tell you that children are never a mistake. They may not always be “planned” but I believe that if you are here, it’s because you were meant to be here. Period. But there are those who say that black men and women who have children out of wedlock are “polluting” and/or “diluting” the gene pool of “desirable” parents for the next generation of our children. Basically, that means that successful, educated black men of a certain age with the means to take care of a child are opting NOT to get married and have children, while “Pookie annem” are having babies all willy nilly and not taking care of them. The same can be said for successful, black women who are choosing their career over a family, but the “Shenene’s” of the world are popping them left and right.
I’m not saying this is true, but that is the perception. Don’t shoot the messenger.
But what if the successful, educated black man/woman with the means to take care of a child actually decides to have one, but still doesn’t want to get married – then what? Should he/she be criticized for bringing a child into an “unwed” situation, even if they are an active parent in the child’s life, can provide for them financially, teaches him things, spends time with him and loves him? Or would they be contributing to the breakdown of the black family – even if they’d probably end up divorced if they got married anyway? As we’ve all heard by now, many feel that marriage is becoming obsolete – but being parent doesn’t seem to be going out of style any time soon.
Not everyone is meant to be in a monogamous relationship. Not everyone, regardless of education or status, has the tools necessary to compromise or make the sacrifices necessary to have a successful marriage. Success in a career is VERY different than success in a relationship in many cases, so marriage may not be for everyone. Success and happiness no longer have to include a wife, a husband or a child. Sometimes a job and the freedom of singlehood are really enough.
But can you be a great parent while not a great spouse? Or do you think they should go hand in hand? Is a person who would be considered a “desirable” parent selfish for not choosing to have children, or are they smart for knowing what they want or what they can or cannot handle? I’m curious to hear the answers to this one because some folks can clearly see themselves as a mother or father, but not a spouse – just like Tyler Perry may be ready to be a father, but not a husband. With so many celebs (Kim K. and Kanye come to mind) and non-celebs these days opting to have their family the way they see fit, do we care about marriage the way we used to? Should parenthood be limited to those who want to also be married, or should people who are committed to being good parents have children without saying “I do?”
Check out Tyler Perry’s interview with Steve Harvey and tell us what you think.
Who else can remember getting their two-step on at the daddy-daughter dance?
Me neither. Getting my jig on to “Everybody/Backstreet’s Back” with my pops wasn’t really my thing. However, as the child of a father who spent more time slaving for the Chicago Public School system than he did showing up for basketball games, volleyball games and after-school activities, I relished the time I got to eat lunch with my dad and feel special during “Take Your Daughter To Work Day.” Plus, it was time out of school! Being that my dad always worked so hard, this school allowed quality time together was the beez-neez back in the day.
So maybe that’s why I was a little sad to hear that a School District in Rhode Island had banished the concept of all daddy/daughter, mother/son activities. Why? Because a single mother complained to school officials (the American Civil Liberties Union) that her child felt and was being left out of daddy-daughter dance activities because she doesn’t have a father or even father figure in her life. Feeling some sort of pressure, the superintendent of the Cranston, Rhode Island school district, Judith Lundsten, decided to ban all parent-child activities, with the ACLU even following up to say that such activities were actually a form of gender discrimination. Say wha? The ACLU statement, which we obtained through CNN, was released saying the following:
“The school district recognized that in the 21st Century, public schools have no business fostering the notion that girls prefer to go to formal dances while boys prefer baseball games. This type of gender stereotyping only perpetuates outdated notions of ‘girl’ and ‘boy’ activities and is contrary to federal law.”
Parents seemed to have a mix of opinions on this decision, with some, as you’ll see in the WPRI video below, seeing it as a “travesty” and others thinking that as times have changed, activities like this do need to change as well–or be done away with.
Talk about a sticky situation. I can somewhat understand what the ACLU is trying to say, but to ban ALL parent-child activities seems like a horrible idea to me. Why not make the dances shindigs for both moms and dads, as well as sons and daughters? Why not keep the baseball games and not make it gender specific? To ban it all seems like an overreaction, one that will put unnecessary heat on a parent who sounds like they just wanted everyone to be included in such specialized events, and punish mothers and fathers who want to partake in these activities. I think we all know that in this day and age, having events like this while kids are young, even if it’s something the school forces, helps more than it hurts, and it’s definitely needed in a time where people seem to be losing control and grasp of their children (see all the youngsters gangbanging in the Chi) and teen mothers have become common. Shoooooooot, we need as much daddy-daughter, mother-son time together as we can get, and if school officials can just make it a parent-child dance, baseball game, or take your child to work event, even better. But to cancel it all? What’s up with that?
What do you think? Should they have canceled all parent-child activities? Was the mother wrong for speaking out or was the school district tripping?
Photos courtesy of Black Celeb Kids
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If you are a devoted, single parent who has found time to date, then kudos to you! In the midst of being swept off your feet and newly in love, you may be excited…and anxious…to introduce your guy to your child(ren). After all, it makes sense for you to want your children to meet someone who has become an important part of your life – either to seal the deal and affirm your love, or make you take a step back from someone who may not be a fit. If you’re wondering about when and how you should bring this new person into your child’s life, consider these things before making that all important introduction.
When are republicans going to stay out of women’s wombs long enough to actually take care of things that need to be done?
Republican Senator Glenn Grothman of West Bend, WI, has sponsored a bill that would formally consider single parenthood a contributing factor to child abuse. Section 1. 48.982 (2) (g) 2. of Senate Bill 507 is amended to read:
Promote statewide educational and public awareness campaigns and materials for the purpose of developing public awareness of the problems of child abuse and neglect. In promoting those campaigns and materials, the board shall emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.
Section 2. 48.982 (2) (g) 4. of the statute is also amended to read:
48.982 (2) (g) 4. Disseminate information about the problems of and methods of preventing child abuse and neglect to the public and to organizations concerned with those problems. In disseminating that information, the board shall emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.
From reports on this outrageous law it’s not clear whether the Senator actually has any data to back up this claim, but my guess is no. As is often the case with outlandish legislation such as this, Sen. Grothman has a history of declaring a war on single parenthood. Last year, he proposed a conspiracy theory that single parenthood is all apart of a Democratic ploy for bigger government. He wrote that the:”Left and the social welfare establishment want children born out of wedlock because they are far more likely to be dependent on the government.”
While I’m no advocate for single parenthood, you can’t make that lifestyle a right or wrong issue. It’s about responsibility in some ways and for others evidence of a change in societal attitudes toward two-parent homes. Although according to Grothman, “the rise in single motherhood has been driven by all the great financial benefits single, low-income mothers receive.” So what should women do, have an abortion? Oh wait, you don’t want us to do that either.
This alleged link between child abuse and single parenthood is a slap in the face of single mothers (and fathers) everywhere who are handling their parental responsibilities. There are far better ways to discourage being a single parent.
Do you think this law has a chance of getting passed?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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NBA superstar Dwyane Wade recently gained full custody of his two young sons after a very nasty and very public divorce. The circumstances of him gaining custody are sad and unfortunate, but how refreshing it is to see a father (especially a young black father) fully embracing fatherhood. We are bombarded with alarming statistics about absentee fathers in the black community, so it’s nice to see such a public figure shattering that stereotype. Daddy Wade put together an eloquent and thought provoking fatherhood essay for Newsweek and it just melts your heart.