in category Family, Gender and Sexuality

What are the advantages of a family?

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The central familial structure in an Islamic society is that of an extended-family or clan, those with close kinship ties living together communally. Such structures were common historically, however the past century, has seen them reduced to nuclear families. With policies continuing the re-engineering process, seeing familial structures collapsing with increasing rates of divorce, confused gender roles and growth in individual autonomy leading to increased isolation of individuals, single-parent families, same sex couples and remarriages.

Liberalism has increasingly supported the notion a child doesn't actually need his father and mother in his life. All that matters in same-sex parenting is the desires and needs of the adults. They determine what the family looks like. They determine the child's identity. They determine what the child needs and doesn't need. It's all about the adult without a thought to the real needs of the children.

Children however need their mothers – their real mothers. Children need their fathers – their real fathers. In the context of familial bonds, a child develops into a healthy, independent adult who has self-knowledge rooted in the traditional family unit, not contrived social constructs.

These trends and the resulting problems they create, especially for children and wider society, has brought the discussion and advantages of families back into focus.

Negative Effects

In America alone, research shows when a child grows up in a father-absent home or outside a traditional family unit, he or she is:

1. Four times more likely to live in poverty (US Census Bureau);

2. More likely to show higher levels of aggressive behaviour than children born to married mothers (Journal of Marriage and Family);

3. At higher risk of infant mortality – rates are nearly two times higher for infants of unmarried mothers than for married mothers (National Center for Health Statistics);

4. More likely to go to prison (Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs);

5. More likely to commit crime. A study of juvenile offenders indicated that family structure significantly predicts delinquency (Journal of Youth and Adolescence);

6. Seven times more likely to become pregnant as a teen. Teens without fathers are twice as likely to be involved in early sexual activity (Child Development Journal);

7. More likely to face abuse and neglect. Compared to children living with married biological parents, those whose single parent had a live-in partner had more than eight times the rate of maltreatment overall, over ten times the rate of abuse and more than six times the rate of neglect (Child's Bureau);

8. More likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. Youth are more at risk of first substance use without a highly involved father (Social Science Research);

9. Two times more likely to suffer obesity. Obese children are more likely to live in father-absent homes than are non-obese children (National Longitudinal Survey of Youth), and

10. Two times more likely to drop-out of high school. Students living in homes without biological fathers are twice as likely to repeat a grade in school (US Department of Education).

Long-term studies of the children raised by same-sex parents continue to make waves. While some studies with small samples (fewer than 40 children) have reported 'no differences' in well-being, they have used unreliable psychometric measures of depression or anxiety, which have led to a lapse in policy attention to the potential needs of such children.

Early same-sex studies have also recruited through networks of friends or through advocacy organisations, resulting in a sample of same-sex parents of higher socioeconomic status than is typical of parents in a same-sex relationship generally.

Major research challenges the findings of these previous studies. Dr. Peter Sullins, who analysed the data of both studies above, concludes:

"The higher risk of emotional problems for children in same-sex parent families has little or nothing to do with the quality of parenting, care, or other relational characteristics of those families."

The primary benefit of marriage for children may not be that it tends to present them with improved parents (more stable, financially affluent, etc., although it does do this), but that it presents them with their own parents.

In essence, you can never replace the bond of love that exists among a child and their true father and mother. Children raised without a father or a mother will grow up in longing, unable to access their true family.

Familial Advantages

A Stable Environment:
Children raised in a family with married, heterosexual parents have a higher likelihood of having stability in their current and future relationships and emotional bonding. In a single-parent household children have higher chances of feeling a sense of loss regarding the absent parent, missing out on the advantages of emotional support and dual insights both parents can provide.

Behavioral Stability:
With both parents, children get a better sense of what is acceptable and unacceptable, as far as behavior is concerned, especially when both parents look after their nurturing. When both parents agree on the kind of behavior that they want from their children, it adds authority, and thus can be instilled in a better way.

A Sense of Consistency:
Children get a sense consistency, especially in extended families where there is closeness with other family members including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. This provides a strong foundation, providing guiding principles all their lives.

Learning Skills:
In larger families, children often get more training in life skills, with mothers and female members teaching their children relationship skills and domestic skills, fathers and male members, in general, teaching their children handiwork and sports skills, as well as how to deal with the world outside.

Sharing Responsibility:
With two parents and extended family members sharing the responsibility of raising children, it frees up time to pursue other interests or get a rest. Children also tend to take on the sharing of the responsibilities, such as older siblings taking care of their younger siblings with roles usually performed by expectation and example, rather than formal instruction.

Physical and Emotional Support:
Larger families usually have more physical and emotional resources with which they can reinforce the whole. Through observing their parents and by following the examples set by them, children learn how to help in the building of the family.

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