Why Children Need a Mother and a Father

There are many thousands of studies which have appeared over the past four to five decades showing quite clearly how absolutely important biological mothers and fathers are to the well-being of their children. Study after study has shown that no other factor is more vital to the healthy development of children than having a mum and a dad.

It is a full time job just keeping up with all this social science research. Let me mention one of the most recent studies, this one from the UK. A major study of around 14,000 children born in Britain between 2000 and 2002 found that children in single-parent families behave the worse. Kids brought up by one parent were twice as likely to display behaviour problems early on as those raised by both natural parents.

The research is part of the on-going Millennium Cohort Study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. As Lisa Calderwood from London University’s Institute of Education explained: “Living apart from natural fathers can be associated with poverty and negative outcomes for children.”

This study simply reflects the findings of so many previous studies. By every indicator, children do better when raised by their own biological parent. No other family structure comes close in terms of positive outcomes. Yet the radicals and social engineers want to pretend this research simply does not exist.

But the massive amount of data is far too solid and substantial to simply wish away. Indeed, whole books have been written just seeking to summarise the huge amount of social science on this issue. I too have been collecting and summarising the data over the years. Here is just a small sampling of previous research findings.

As far as problematic behaviour goes, many others studies have found the same results. Drug involvement is one such negative behaviour. A New Zealand study of nearly 1000 children observed over a period of 15 years found that children who have watched their parents separate are more likely to use illegal drugs than those whose parents stay together.

Fathers play a particularly important role in prevention of drug use. A UCLA study concluded that, although “mothers are more active than fathers in helping youngsters with personal problems…with regard to youthful drug users, [the] father’s involvement is more important.” Among the homes with strict fathers, only 18 per cent used alcohol or drugs at all. In contrast, among mother-dominated homes, 35 per cent had children who used drugs frequently.

Criminal involvement is another area where the role of both parents becomes so vital. A longitudinal study of 512 Australian children found that there are more offenders coming from families of cohabiting than married couples, and there are proportionally more offenders who become recidivists coming from families of cohabiting than married couples.

The Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney compared crime rates with out-of-wedlock birth rates. It found that the “percentage of ex-nuptial births correlates significantly with both serious and violent crime at both one and two decades time lapse”.

Or consider a major study which analysed victimisation data on over 11,000 individuals from three urban areas in New York, Florida and Missouri. The researchers arrived at this startling conclusion: the proportion of single-parent households in a community predicts its rates of violent crime and burglary, but the community’s poverty level does not. Neither poverty nor race seem to account very much for the crime rate, compared to the proportion of single parent families.

Mental health problems also worsen when children are not raised by their mother and father. A study of the preschool children admitted to two New Orleans hospitals as psychiatric patients over a 34-month period found that nearly 80 per cent came from fatherless homes.

A Canadian study of teenagers discharged from psychiatric hospitals found that only 16 per cent were living with both parents when they were admitted. From nations as diverse as Finland and South Africa, a number of studies have reported that anywhere from 50 to 80 per cent of psychiatric patients come from broken homes.

Another study found that children in stepfamilies typically experience far less favourable emotional lives compared to children in intact families. Their study concluded: “Children in stepfamilies had more behavior problems, less prosocial behavior, and more life stress than children in nuclear families.”

Problems with sexuality are also compounded. Children from mother-only families are more likely to marry early and have children early, both in and out of wedlock, and are more likely to divorce. Also, age at the first marriage will be lower for the children of divorced parents who marry, when sex, age, and maternal education are controlled.

Studies from many different cultures have found that girls raised without fathers are more likely to be sexually active, and to start early sexual activity. Father-deprived girls “show precocious sexual interest, derogation of masculinity and males, and poor ability to maintain sexual and emotional adjustment with one male”.

As an example, a British study by Kathleen Kiernan found that girls brought up by lone parents were twice as likely to leave home by the age of 18 as the daughters of intact homes; were three times as likely to be cohabiting by the age of 20; and almost three times as likely to have a birth out of wedlock.

This is just a tiny fraction of the available evidence, looking at just a few key social indicators. Other areas can also be mentioned, such as educational performance, the likelihood of committing suicide, and so on. In every key area, children suffer and are worse off when not raised by their own mother and father.

Yet the homosexual activists and other social engineers keep telling us that family structure has absolutely nothing to do with the well-being of children. There are only two reasons they might say this: they are either woefully ignorant about a half century of social science research, or they are simply lying big time in order to push their activist agendas.

For the sake of our children, we should tell these radicals to just butt out. This is unlikely however, so we must remain vigilant, and continue to promote the truth of this research in the public arena.


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24 Replies to “Why Children Need a Mother and a Father”

  1. Stonewall, the gay lobby group – that camouflages itself as a charity when it is in fact a politically motivated Marxist organisation – has produced a booklet,” Different Families” to show that children brought up in gay families experience no harm and indeed often live more exciting and stimulating lives than their peers who are brought up in straight families. Out of the 16 samples that Stonewall uses to illustrate the contours of different families, 14 are stereotypically lesbian? Where is the difference here? The remaining two can hardly be described as containing strong father figures.
    As for the comments from the “lips of babes”, regarding their own observations and perceptions of being raised in “different” families, these are cynically presented to say the least. They are similar to would – be comments from the French population during the late 18th century, if they had been asked what was it like living under a despotic regime. “Oh it is no different to any other regime; we ate cake, y’know.”
    Instead of cake, the 16 samples identify a list of trivial pursuits or as John Harold, gay teacher says in this clip the fact that he and his sodomite partner have two cats.
    Move bar to 5.00 minutes.
    Such sleight of hand!!

    David Skinner, UK

  2. A good article. Contains a lot of evidence which supports natural unions of parents and their children.
    Luke Portelli

  3. Well researched, Bill. As a Primary school teacher, I have observed the damage to the hearts and minds of children from broken and dysfunctional families.
    It is heartbreaking to see.
    Social science research clearly shows that two ‘parents’ of the same sex cannot meet the needs of children in the same way that a female mother and a male father can.
    Gods design is for children to be raised by a female as a mother and a male as a father.
    Mrs Judith Bond

  4. Hi Bill,

    You cite: “Problems with sexuality are also compounded. Children from mother-only families are more likely to marry early and have children early, both in and out of wedlock, and are more likely to divorce. Also, age at the first marriage will be lower for the children of divorced parents who marry, when sex, age, and maternal education are controlled.”

    Of course having children out of wedlock and getting divorced are bad signs, but surely Christians must disagree with these researchers’ use of marrying and having children early as a negative indicator. I suspect many of us would score “badly” by this standard.

    In fact, early marriage and childbearing is something I think is very positive, especially given the poisonous feminist trend to postpone getting married and having children for as long as possible to cultivate a “career”.

    Mansel Rogerson

  5. Thanks Mansel

    The main point of that was to say that children of divorce and broken families are more likely to replicate that with their own kids: having them out of wedlock, etc, which is indeed a concern.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  6. We so have to ask ourselves where is our society heading.
    I work in the welfare field and see the erosion of life as we know it Mum Dad & 2.2 children. Quiet alarming.
    The violence, to our children in single parent families is generational and we have to become mentors. Where are the men!!! The have to raise the bar and stand with the youth of today or we shall lose them to darkness!!!!
    Kerry Etherington

  7. As Kerry says “where are the men?” Alas, many men in Britain create a bad impression – taking drugs, boozing, swearing, refusing to work, abandoning their children and generally reverting to barbarism. Of course, there are a large proportion of men who don’t indulge in these activities but you don’t seem to hear their voices, with the exception of a few eloquent voices, some of whom write on this site. They must be subsumed by the strident voices of feminists and gays! A recent article in the Observer talks of the Swedish male identity crisis and “where once there was a male language now there are strong powerful women backed by law”. I think this sheds some light on the male ID crisis and conflicting interests. Here’s the link, see esp. the 4th para from the end. It’s a fascinating article, if anyone is interested:
    Rachel Smith, UK

  8. Remember that to political people, intent on ‘social engineering’, and re-making the world according to their own desires, the fate of ordinary people is irrelevant, they are just expendable cannon-fodder.
    John Thomas, UK

  9. “Alas, many men in Britain create a bad impression – taking drugs, boozing, swearing, refusing to work, abandoning their children and generally reverting to barbarism.”

    Kerry, Rachel, if you ask me this is a pretty dysfunctional model of masculinity. Count me out.

    Ross McPhee

  10. Thanks for your article Bill, which is spot on as usual.
    I agree that a child’s need for effective fathering does not diminish because the mother can manage, or has to manage without the father.
    For many however, respect for the father’s role has diminished because the term “father” has become identified with the undesirable aspect of the male parent.
    Also the value a man places on family life often reflects the values he has inherited from his own parents. Men who have not learned from their parents how to be loving, and responsible to their spouses, partners or children, cannot automatically offer these gifts to their own families.
    It seems that many men have had inadequate fathering themselves. I think that more and more families are being left to wonder where all the fathers have gone.
    But I fully agree with you that a child needs both mother and father, as it has been right from the beginning.
    Anne van Tilburg

  11. The creation of a new person requires a mother, a father and God. The ongoing loving involvement of all three is essential for the best possible outcome. Despite that truth, we know that no-one comes to be, unless God chooses.Each person has a part to play in His Divine plan. Therefore I choose to believe that those born into situations of huge emotional and spiritual disadvantage will experience God’s love and mercy in ways we cannot guess or know.
    That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight the destructive forces attacking the family in our era by every righteous means, but I just have to hope in God’s loving mercy where these children are concerned.
    Like Judith, my career was spent in teaching {40 years} and my experiences were often heart-breaking. One little boy was left behind with two people neither of whom was his own parent as they had gone on to new “relationships”, another detailed his relationship to his “four dads” and how his weeks were allocated in different homes. Then there was the little girl who couldn’t answer her test questions, who put her head on the desk and cried as she said “My daddy is leaving us”. Is it any wonder a desperate search for intimacy leads these children to early promiscuity and what chance do they have of understanding how to form Godly relationships?
    God have mercy on us.
    Anna Cook

  12. Thanks Rachel

    Feminism, power to the woman sounded like a good idea at the time. 30 years of turning boys into girls. Don’t play with knifes don’t play in the mud don’t jump your push bike over that ramp brush your hair and put some conditioner on it. All this safe stuff. Makes me sick.

    I belong to a group called WACMEN, west Australian christian men, we are trying to remove some of the doilies from the church and total feministic feel of the church.

    The trouble is, some people don’t see the crises.

    Daniel Kempton

  13. It is time that populations of western countries started to learn their histories and understand how cultural Marxists, inspired by Frankfurt School, have used multiculturalism as a means to deconstruct not only our national histories, but the family and gender.

    Time that we identify those have been at the forefront of this revisionism. In Britain in 2007 the National Health Service staff were being told to stop calling parents ‘mother’ or ‘father’ to avoid offending homosexual patients.


    In 2007 when this directive was made, the then Secretary of State for Health was Patricia Hewitt. But both her and Harriet Harman, who until recently was the caretaker leader of the Labour Party in Britain and the main demonic (I do not use the word lightly) driver of the Equality Bill were also involved in something much darker.


    Effects on IVF children and children produced through sperm donors

    David Skinner, UK

  14. Hi Bill,

    Thanks for the article – very interesting.

    I work in a DoCS funded organisation which (among other things) provides a service whereby fostered kids are transported to their natural/biological parent(s) for a supervised visit and a report is written for DoCS based on how the interactions went between the kids with their natural parent(s). I am wondering if all this work and effort and pain (often the parents don’t show up to these meetings and the kids are then upset about Mum and/or Dad’s no show) is really worth it.

    I’m wondering if once once kids have had to be removed from their natural parents for safety reasons etc if it would be best just to adopt them out to a married couple and not worry about trying to arrange all these visits with natural parents. Once the kids are perhaps 18 yrs old they could try and track down their biological parents if they wanted to. What do you think the research says about this sort of scenario?

    David Roberts

  15. Thanks David

    But to argue that kids do best when raised by their biological parents is to argue that on the whole this is true. This is not to suggest that every single instance will always be ideal. There are always exceptions to any general rule. The same is true here. If kids have been abandoned or neglected or abused by their parents, then yes separation may be needed and will be the next best option. In these sad cases foster parents may well be needed.

    But exceptions do not disprove the general findings of social science data, and exceptions do not make the rule. So one can always find hard cases to any generally established social science finding. But such exceptions do not invalidate those general findings.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  16. Thanks David

    There may well be such reseearch, but I would need to sniff around a bit for it.

    And I will have to have a read of the Bolt article and get back to you on that.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  17. David, have we not got to the stage now where children and parents are being alienated from oneanother on a national scale from laws that encourage the breakdown of the family and the loosening of marriage ties? The hard cases that you describe are surely the end of a spectrum to which the rest of society is headed, unless we repeal laws, like no fault divorces, brought in over the last fifty or more years.
    We need to be internally governed by biblical conscience and social stigma but supported by external laws.

    Roger Scruton has an interesting article here on social stigma:

    David Skinner, UK

  18. Well Bill, this is such a good commentary it must be forwarded to the Catholic Bishops Conference.
    The comments would also be sound reading.
    Lynne Newington

  19. Hi Rachel

    I have a better answer for you. Where are all the good men?
    Get this book: Why men hate going to church.

    Daniel Kempton

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