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what makes a family?

In the comments of the post below, Greg Dougherty writes:

>Gee, you're right.

It's HORRIBLE that Derb is sad to see two children born without fathers in their lives. How bigotted of him to want a better life for those kids.

Greg, what makes you think that having the American Standard Family, i.e, married mother and father, would make life better for those kids? How do you know that the two lesbian mothers are not going to be superb parents?

Many children who live without fathers grow up to be good human beings. Do you begrudge me for leaving my husband, thus making my kids grow up in a house with no father? Does this mean I did not give them the best possible life?

On the contrary, I gave them a better life. Just as you cannot deny a woman her right to bear a child just because she chooses a female partner over a male. Would it be better that a lesbian woman who wants to be a parent engage in some silly farce of a relationship with a man just so they can have the ideal nuclear family? Or do you think that a lesbian does not deserve to have children at all?

And if this is just about single mothers, then why mention that the second woman is black?

I've been a single mother, I've known lesbian mothers, gay fathers and black single parents. And let me tell you, there is nothing wrong with not having that married mother father baby family when the parent(s) the child does have is brought up with love, respect and care.

And for the record, Rosemary is right and I stand corrected. I lumped Derbyshire into a group when it wasn't the entire group making the statement, just him. I apologize to anyone on the far right who does not think in the same small way as Derbyshire.


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I don't begrudge any child the love and attention they get from any parent, traditional parents, single parent, lesbian, doesn't matter

Having said that, I'm a single mom too, and I'm positive my teenage boys would have been better off if they had been raised in the same house with both parents with a good marriage or at least a reasonably decent one. I wish I could have given them that. It was easier when they were younger and harder now that they're older.

Just sayin'.

At the end of the day, I've never had kids, or, indeed, been married. So I'm not in my element here...

But speaking from the perspective of someone who's known their share of family troubles, I believe it's a question not of who is missing from a child's life, but what...

A child, if we're gonna make the effort to drag them into this word, need support, love, and the impetus to drive them on to achieve their dreams whilst still respecting the rights of others. There is no formula for this, and it is foolish to suggest that psychological and emotional traumas derive exclusively from a break from the traditional construct of the nuclear family (not that anyone's actually saying that here, but I like to argue my points hypothetically. bad habit).

Michele, not that you need to hear this, but you were right to leave if the relationship wasn't working. At the end of the day, a good upbringing is not about numbers, or collecting a set, but about providing a child with an environment which convinces him/her with the confidence to know that it deserves to exist, and respect is due for having the courage to improve life for you and your children. My mother did the same for me, and none of us ever regretted the change.

Perfect families are rare. There was no golden age of family happiness. Many suffer in silence, and its the children exposed to this in order to keep up appearances or due to hope of improvement that 'make me despair'. As far as I'm concerned, there are too few opportunities for folks to get it right for their kids for us to start restricting our options with traditional focuses.

A father, or indeed a mother, is not essential if it fills existence with hatred, recrimination and bitterness. The real courage lies, not always in sticking it out, but in making the leap into the unknown in search of a better life for everyone.

Not that it matters, but I respect you for your bravery, and believe that your ensuing happiness is well deserved...

Now, back to flippant chatter, methinks. I need to fulfil my quota to retain my troll license...

I grew up the son of a single mother.

My sister is a single mother.

I've had many friends who are or were single mothers.

It is my firm opinion that children are better off with two parents, preferably one of each sex, and I think it's sad when homes are broken.

I do not deny that sometimes breaking the home is better than keeping it together when there is serious abuse and neglect involved. That doesn't change my opinion that it's always a bad thing when it happens. If your choice is between bad and worse, choose bad. But that doesn't make it not-bad.

It's also been my experience that most single mothers are very defensive about single motherhood, but that if you get to know them well enough, and get them in private, most of them -- except the lesbians, obviously -- admit that what they really want most out of life is a loving and supportive relationship with a man because being a single mother sucks and they know in their hearts their kids are missing something.

Because they are. I know. Because I certainly was missing something, and my nieces and nephews quite obviously are missing something now. It's not something I'd ever willingly do to my own children unless I had no choice.

If that makes me a prick, so be it. Single motherhood is a terrible thing. Sometimes it's the only choice available. And kids can survive it and turn out happy and well-adjusted. Kids can survive a lot. That doesn't make it a good thing, and I won't apologize for thinking that way.

So there. Now you can call me a big prick who hates single mothers, even though I don't. ;-)

Dude, you're right. A broken home is a terrible thing, and I don't think that there are many people out there who don't feel the absence of love and support if it's not there.

It's just, well...sometimes you see a father, a mother, and kids, and they're too scared of being vilified socially to make the break that they need to end their personal hells. And you know, in your heart of hearts, that, despite all their good intentions, that if they're trying to force something that isn't gonna work on themselves out of fear of the alternatives, then their lives will never really get all that much better. And that's depressing...

However, that's not to say that leaving is always the most noble option. Ask any kid who lost a parent to 'bolting' in their childhood. I guess that, as with many things in life, it's all a question of motives, and what you're actually aiming to achieve with your actions.

I think people are tempted to put their faith in formulas and systems because, in some way, it soothes them to an extent into believing that they can protect themselves, even a little, from things going wrong. The world is much less scary when there's a traditional cause for wrong, and a recogniseable face of good and evil.

Patterns help us deal with chaos. But to an extent, we're really only lying to ourselves a little to get through the day.

Yet again I'm rambling. Good comment tho, Dean...

I've read your blog for awhile, and haven't left comments before, but am going to jump into this one - forgive the length I edited to get it this short. Guess it's one of those hot button topics. Patty said it much more succinctly than I'm able.

We all come to this from our own perspectives. Mine is this...My father died when I had just turned 4. I had my mother and grandparents around - people who loved me. But I do bear scars from not having a father in my life. (For me it isn't even a 'male influence' my grandfather was a good and loving man who doted on me. But he wasn't my father.)

Have those scars kept me from being successful, well yes and no. I have a graduate degree and am financially successful by most every standard except... I have trouble with relationships and trust. I'm very suspicious of men etc. Could I have those issues even if I came from a nuclear family....sure...but it's a lot less likely.

I guess it's just my lack of a father that makes me sensitive to the insinuation any combination of loving adults is 'just as good' as the typical nuclear family.

If circumstances are such that single parenthood is necessary, well you do the best you can. But I think people who intentionally set themselves up for single parenthood and insist that it's just as good are thinking wishfully.

any kid that has two loving parents, of any gender, is luckier than most.

but of the single mothers i know, all admit that it's hard work raising a kid alone, and none of them would undo it. every one of them thinks her kid hung the moon. and those are awfully lucky kids too.

Okay I have a totally different perspective here...........I have so far grown up (I'm 16) in a family that is supposedly a perfect one from the outside. A mother, a father and very rich ones at that. But I can tell you something...............I would trade both my mother and father for one decent parent who actually loves me and cares anything about what I do or say or am. Both my mother and father abused, abandoned, and generally ignored me when they were locking me in bathrooms for days at a time. Sure they bought everything that I possibly could want, but have I ever gotten a birthday cake? No, have I ever gotten a Christmas present that I didn't pick out? no, have I ever had a single time of mom or dad reading me a bedtime story? NO, they always paid someone else to do it. Have I ever had one single time of just snuggling in bed on Saturday morning? NO. It isn't the two parents, it's what parents do that makes them good or bad, and the family good or bad.

That being said..............I strongly think that a two parent family with mom and dad is best...........but I also think alternative families work too.

Greg's comment makes the mistake of assuming, in the case of the lesbian couple, that the father will not be involved in the child's life. Since the donor of the sperm was a friend known to both women, there's a good chance he will be involved.

All the articles I have read on the subject of the lesbian couple have stated the the friend of the couple who donated the sperm will not be involved as a parent.

But where will the Little Dear be able to buy a Fathers' day card to send to a turkey baster?

Well, actually I don't think lesbians deserve to have children.
Fine with me if lesbians want to get artificially inseminated, or adopt, but takes two to tango, and in the case of lesbians (or gay men), it takes three, at least, if not four. If modern science didn't provide an end-run around heterosexual sex, the question would be moot and maternally-minded lesbians would be out of luck

Further, though there's no doubt that children can be succesfully raised in all manor of households, it's bad enough that so many go fatherless (or motherless). I think it's a bit presumptuous, not to mention misanthropic, to cut the father out of the picture on purpose. Eventually the child will realize that all the love in the world wouldn't let mommy and mommy make baby without help, and the child might wonder why they didn't deserve a daddy, too. If the child is male, what's the lesson then? That as a male parent, you're superfluous, worth no more than a deposit in a cup?

I'm not about to suggest it shouldn't be allowed, but I'm not going to encourage it, either.