Quick quiz: Which of the following home environments is the most dangerous for a child?
a. Mom and Dad drink heavily, invite their partying friends over on an almost nightly basis, and expose their children to all kinds of language and behavior they shouldn’t have to hear and see.
b. Dad belittles Mom in front of kids every evening, sometimes giving her a shove for good measure, offering a horrible example for his son about how to treat a woman and to his daughter about what to expect from a man.
c. Mom is divorced and is the only parent in the home. She works hard to provide for her kids, is active in their school, and provides hugs, prayers, and bedtime stories every night.
If you answered “c,” then, according to Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman, you are correct!!! Give yourselves a hand.
A bill proposed by Senator Grothman, Senate Bill 507, would require the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board to emphasize “nonmarital parenthood” as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect. This effort is to include statewide awareness campaigns and the dissemination of information that shares one important way to prevent child abuse is not to be a single parent.
That’s it. Be married. Apparently, no matter what, that makes you less likely to place your children under threat of abuse and neglect in your home. On the other hand, if you happen to be a single parent, due to death or divorce, or if you are part of an unmarried couple with children, you are labeled a potential child abuser.
This is not meant as a defensive gripe because I am a single mom. I’m not denying that the ideal situation for kids is a mom and a dad who are in a loving and committed marriage in which the family unit is respected and made a top priority. No doubt about it. But, you cannot tell me that the kids who lived below me in an apartment complex last year whose parents screamed at each other while high and then blared music until 2:00am or the friends I had growing up who saw their dads hit their moms, who themselves were hit with belts and burned with cigarettes, or as girls were told by their fathers how sexy they were becoming, or who were reminded regularly how stupid or worthless they were, or who lived in a cold home in which their mom regularly confessed to them that she did not love their father are in a better situation than kids who grow up in many of our country’s single parent homes.
So-called “conservative” politicians, those who espouse the virtues of small government until using government fits your moral agenda, I say this to you. Stop. Single parents deal with lots of challenges (as do all parents, actually, but single parents face some unique issues of their own) and many already carry extra guilt and worry over their kids’ well-being and future. Labeling them child abusers in the supposed attempt to protect and promote the traditional family is insulting, harmful, and absurd.
Oh, and Senator Grothman, have you met our own Senator Stacey Campfield? If not, give him a call. I think the two of you would get along famously.