The Family: Natural Tradition

The importance and effect of interaction in the family on growth.

This chapter is presented in an attempt to separate issues that have been considered in the past to be issues of morality, and are now issues of physiology and biology. In the ancient past, for instance, behavior that was associated with a shortened life span and unhappiness was assumed to be an abomination to God and was thus immoral. Today many of these behaviors are associated with physiology and biology and, once the physiology and biology are understood, the life span can be lengthened, happiness can be achieved, and love and compassion can be extended. God is not circumvented, but better understood.

There has always been a span of variation in every population that comprises the characteristics of their families. In this chapter we will not be so concerned with the outer fringes of these variations but with the predominant template that prevails. We will also consider the evolutionary forces from which it was formed. We will also explore some of the interacting physiological effects of family dynamics.

When considering the interaction of family dynamics there is always reasonable question as to what is inherited and what is environmentally derived. Here are two examples of inherited mechanisms that are due to evolutionary forces: children's fear of height and fear of the dark. Both these fears influence behavior. Fear of height is a deterrent to a fatal fall, while fear of the dark is a deterrent to wandering off into the night and being eaten by predators. Either occurrence would eliminate a child from the gene pool giving advantage to the survival of those children with these inherent fears. Both of these fears appear at about the time that the child becomes mobile at two to three years old, and are typically overcome, with a little assistance and maturity, by six to eight years old. However, in the outer fringes of this variation, there are certainly examples of children who never possess these fears. It is undoubtedly true that the numbers of these children have increased since there is typically far less danger of falling or being eaten by predators. There is also a fringe group who's inherent fears linger and are not ameliorated by maturity. This group can be confused with yet another group which prolongs their fears through environmental experience. Each group requires different considerations.

Today there is the same confusion in regard to the traditional family. It is a complex issue. It is little wonder that a large percentage of modern families are breaking up in divorces and separations when the participants are ignoring all the instinctive rules. For possibly millions of years families have been able to depend on rigid relationships that have been shaped by the hereditary systems of our bodies and the required long period of time necessary to raise our children. An understanding of these relationships and their effect on physiological development dictates that the happiness and health of the family depends on the two parents fulfilling equally important and different roles:

For optimum results,
The Father must be the Head and the
Mother must be the Heart

Probably in no instance has there been anything so personally meaningful; however, the mortification to some may be severe. The conclusions may even seem unfair in our modern world, certainly not logical, but we may not gainsay Nature. We may only study Nature's ways and follow those dictates with humility.

When the structure of the family is ignored, the children of the family suffer. Although children of both sexes are physically and psychologically affected, it is the physical development of the sons that is most sensitive to any abnormal nurturing aspects of family life. Nature has provided more structural stability for the female of the species. If, for some reason, the gonads (ovaries or testicles) of a fetus fail to develop before six week's gestation, the baby will be born as a girl, and will grow up to become an infertile woman. The point is that Nature is basically programmed to develop a woman like form.

This near-female is the "default" form of the human being.
A boy child will become a "female" in form
unless hormones are stimulated to masculinize him.

What is tradition has been set by evolutionary forces over at least a million years: Big Daddy, the head of the family, and Little Mommy, the heart of the family, with Big Brother and Little Sister.

It is wrong to regard prenatal influence as biological and postnatal ones as non-biological. Influences that reach the brain through the senses during social communication and learning are just as much biological as those that reach the brain through hormones circulation in the bloodstream of a fetus. Genes determine directly whether the primitive gonadal cells in the embryo might become testicles or ovaries. After that, sex hormones take over. Hormones are stimulated through interactions in the traditional family setting.

In the case of a baby, for instance, the mother's mood is about the only mode of communication. Words mean nothing, of course, but the timbre of the voice, the tender squeeze and stroking is most important. A mood is determined by and communicates the internal chemistry of an individual. These chemistries are androgens, estrogens, epinephrine, norepinephrine, vasopressin, growth hormones, acetylcholine, digestive enzymes, dopamine, serotonin and many other chemicals of the body system. The individual effects of each parent are highly specific. They are not transferable. Everyone of the chemistries incorporated in physiological development are affected by mood communication from within the family.

Freedom from tradition
Each society has traditions by which it governs its behavior. Some of these traditions are covered by rules and laws, others are not. A conservative person wishes to honor existing traditions. A liberal person thinks that at least some traditions hamper "natural", free behavior and wishes to dispose of them. It has been discovered that some traditions are health and life preserving, and others are not. We are trying to distinguish between these two classes. Our criterion is empirical, scientific reason with understanding of the physiology behind it. Extensive modification of some traditional behaviors have very obvious bad physiological effects. Here we will mention sleeping and eating.

Eight hours of sleep out of a daily twenty four is traditional for most people. One may reason that if we could do with seven, we would have another hour to work and play. If we liked that, we might try doing with six hours of sleep; then five; then four. Somewhere along the line we would run into diminishing returns in that we would be so sleepy and tired that we could not function properly.

There is another tradition relating this time to eating three times a day. We might regard this as both costly and time consuming. If we could cut down on our eating, we could save money and time to do other things. Very obviously, soon we would be too hungry and weak to do anything.

There is another tradition where cause and effect are not so clearly related. The consequences of breaking the tradition are remote. In this instance, there are many logical reasons for ignoring tradition, and thus many people are lured into neglecting these traditions.

What is tradition has been set by evolutionary forces over at least a million years:
Big Daddy, the head of the family, and Little Mommy,
the heart of the family, with Big Brother and Little Sister.

Male and female tradition

It should first be said that there are many roads and reasons that are possible in forming one's sexual identification. Hopefully we will touch on them here.

Misguided traditions
Some of this misguided reasoning is due to the veneration of examples that seem to contradict the rules. For instance, an anthropologist will find a tribe of people in some inaccessible corner of a mountain range practicing some bizarre moral culture such as polyandry (a woman takes on many husbands). This proves that such a culture can exist, but does not explain why it is confined to a few hundred acres in a distant jungle. There obviously has not been a population explosion for there are no polyanderers spilling over their borders. It can be reliably reported that in no case of such studies is there a life expectancy figure compared to other societies where polyandry is not practiced.

We are about to discuss what is perhaps the most important and serious subject of this book. The magnitude of the suffering, pain, and death related to it is second, perhaps, only to an atomic bomb attack. One can hardly amplify its importance. It is so big that it is beyond amplification. To find it, however, we must find our way through a forest of logical, but misguided reasoning. In our present subject we will be rejecting logic for hard science. We are about to discuss a tradition that is involved with much emotion. I have found that this discussion truly angers those people who have not taken into account all existing immutable factors of psychology and physiology. We should also say that there is no single road to any male or female oriented phenotype. There are all sorts of combinations of heritable and environmental influences introduced in the following paragraphs.

The hypothetical disaster
To get the subject into perspective: Suppose we heard that the physical education department in the school system was injecting estrogens into all students beginning with kindergarten. Their arguments for this program were that the children would be less mischievous, less aggressive and better students. They also would remain smaller, weaker, and lighter, thus sparing wear and tear on the furniture at school and at home. Last, but not least, the children would all be more beautiful and more artistically inclined. The stings they probably would not mention are that they all would be more susceptible to infections and the life expectancy of the boys would be shortened as much as thirty years.

We may be sure that by the next morning a crowd of out-raged parents would fill the yard and street in front of the school, and that no teacher, for fear of his life, would dare expose himself to that crowd. We may be sure that this reaction is not over-stated. Also, we may be sure that the reaction would be well justified. The fact is that this is almost exactly what is happening, except that it is not the teachers, but the parents who are doing it! The only excuse is that they are doing it unwittingly.

Family aspect is important where nurturing of the developing youth lasts for a long time, and where there is conditioning and flexibility. Humans lead this classification with the most flexibility, and the longest developmental period with infant, child, juvenile, and adolescent: a total of sixteen years at least.

The home and hormones
During the long developmental period, these conditioned reflexes create situations which, combined with the growth hormones, actually affect the shape and intellectual capabilities of a child specifically with respect to its special home environment. Acetylcholine, norepinephrine, testosterone and pituitary growth hormone all have a physiologically complex role in the development of a male adult. What must be kept in mind as we go on is: once a male child has reached adulthood the growth hormone is no longer a factor. A male child has only a one time chance to develop normally and that is during the growth phase. After that, if there has been an error, it is too late to change it. Immediately some readers are probably thinking, "what about the female? Isn't she important?" The answer is, she may be slightly more important, and you will shortly understand why.

In our present subject we will be looking at life expectancy as a factor in judging a social practice. We will be rejecting simple logic for hard science. We are about to discuss a tradition that is involved with much emotion. For those, however, who might object to our conclusions, they might be quarreling with our creation.

The Male Hormone: testosterone
Now-a-days, nearly everyone has heard of athletes exercising under the stress of competition and taking steroids, usually testosterone, to promote muscle growth. It is well known that when women athletes take testosterone, they become more muscular, grow more body hair, and deepen their voices. This has developed to such an extent that there have been instances where individual's have been required to undergo physical examinations before being allowed to compete in a woman's event.

Taking steroid medication merely enhances the normal steroid secretion in the body under these circumstances. With stress more steroids are secreted in both males and females. Women who regularly exercise will, to their own degree, feel the effects of increased testosterone. In women this will sometimes cause a noticeable change away from a feminine personality.

From the previous paragraph it should be evident that young male individuals looking at themselves in a mirror can, to a degree, decide how they might wish to shape themselves with a long term program of training. Marshal arts training with protection to the head can be beneficial with it's challenge of a fight, grueling activity, fear of pain, and need for aggressiveness all stimulating the secretion of testosterone.

The masculine body
To form the male child, he must be stimulated with hormones constantly during his development. He must first have androgen secreting gonads and aldosterone from the adrenal cortices during gestation. After birth, male children require, and heritably seek, challenging situations that will pique their male hormonal flow to masculinize their bodies, including their brain. In primitive polygamous cultures, the boys will follow and mimic the men as they go about their work. In the modern family, the boy looks up to the father and/or other important male figures in his life that he feels should be emulated. In all cultures the developing juvenile male must have specific stimulation from other male juveniles and adults for complete masculine development. Only in this modern culture do we see parents who seem to think that if you just "leave it alone" it will adapt and grow-up fine.

Some genetic aspects of male-female
In the late eighties, the Women's Amateur Athletic Union inaugurated a test to ensure that the competitors were women. For reasons of privacy and modesty, they decided on a blood test to determine the chromosomes. Through this test, it was discovered that one contestant, who had been raised as a female and had always considered herself a female, had the chromosomes of a male (X,Y).

When she was disqualified, she went to a research physician. It was found that, in deed, her chromosomes were that of a male, but her body cells did not have the necessary chemistry to respond to the male hormones. This condition, called the androgen-insensitivity syndrome, is derived through a spontaneous genetic negative mutation. It would have been heritable except that she was incapable of having children. She was literally a totally unmasculinized male. The male hormone is unable to do it's job.

Another condition which has been noted by medical science is that of a malfunctioning adrenal cortex that produces a hormone so similar to testosterone that it can masculinize a woman's sexuoerotic behavior as well as alter the appearance of her genitalia to that of a male. This condition was exploited in a centerfold of a men's magazine in the seventies showing a photograph of a beautiful woman with male genitalia. These female individuals are sometimes identified as males at birth and are raised as such. This condition is called congenital virilizing adrenal hyperplasia (CVAH). This syndrome occurs in about one in ten thousand births.

These are unfortunate conditions that result in problems of sexual orientation. In the past, the bearer of these conditions would have to "live" with the consequences. With modern techniques, successful surgery can help correct these appearances according to the wishes, or inclinations, of the individual.

The masculinized brain
One of the effects of hormonal "masculinization" is the amplification of functions of the right cerebral hemisphere. This includes abilities such as math, task oriented activities, form conceptualization, and foresight. This does not preclude women from these activities nor does it guarantee "male-supremacy". However, if any woman's brain were masculinized, her intellectual abilities would be theoretically expanded. Researchers have remarked that the masculinized brains tend to dominate both the high end of the spectrum and the very low end of the spectrum of any measurable capacity.

There was a scientist who performed dissections on eight gay men. He found, in each case, that the hypothalamus was smaller than in heterosexual men. This, he interpreted as an indication of a biological effect. However, the size of the hypothalamus is determined hormonally. According to the relative size of their hypothalamus, these men literally had brains similar to that of women.

Hormonal effects and the family interactions
Any philosophy written before Pavlov's experiment on conditioned reflex in 1927 cannot have understood the basic link between traditional aspects of life and the biological reactions in the body. Part of what Pavlov demonstrated is that the glandular response is always appropriate to the perceived situation. This necessarily entails an analysis of the situation in the cerebral cortex of the individual (in this case the developing child) and an accompanying hormonal response. As we have seen from the above examples, the hormonal environment is very important in the developing child.

With any developing human in any given environment there are thousands of situations in which unconscious conditioning results and is specific to the special problems of its environment. This occurs so that day-to-day life is sufficiently simplified that the individual can continue when the stimuli come too quickly in succession to analyze each one. The average human can count twenty five conditioned reflexes before breakfast. We repeat for emphasis that every stimulus causes a hormone to flow.

Pathological developments
Among humans it is necessary that a dominant father or male image have influence over the developing male for the six years or so before puberty. The opposite situation, that of a domineering mother or a tyrannical unaccepting father causes a pathological development of the male juvenile: the male growth hormones are literally restricted. Behavior associated with their secretion is met with such negative reinforcement, that there builds up a fear, an avoidance, that constricts the secretion of these hormones.

Such a juvenile will be less masculinized: stunted in growth, lighter in musculature, less resistant to disease and allergy, less intellectually capable, and effeminate in attitude and aspect. The most severe pathological feature is that the life expectancy of an effeminate son is shortened to forty five years. Where the mother and father are equally dominant, the life expectancy of a son is sixty-two years.

The boys are shorter and lighter and are apparently born with a hereditary agenda for growth which progenerates large coronary arteries if they are effeminized. When the testosterone levels are low and estrogens relatively high, the weighty musculature does not develop. The oversized coronary arteries, being smooth muscles, undergo fatty degeneration which may result in cholesterol plaques in the larger branches. If blockage occurs, it is in a large artery, and the heart attack is massive and immediately fatal at an early age. There is ignored, even suppressed, medical literature outlining these factors in humans. The subject is unpleasant and people tend to turn away from it, though it cries for further investigation. This is not a problem that will go away if ignored, nor is it new to human history.

Whenever I have mentioned this, there has always been someone in the crowd who knows of a mother dominated man who lived to be over eighty. I know of such exceptions too. I have had in my experience, however, sixty to seventy cases in which the rule applied. I have seen several dominant mothers weep at their son's funerals. This is not to blame those who have fallen into the trap of modern family philosophy. It is rather to warn those mothers whose families are still young enough to where there is still time to change their attitude for the life of their baby boys.

So as not to be misunderstood, let us say that there is already so much evidence for these principles that any scientist who might attempt to gainsay them would be hard put. The necessary work is to fill in the details, such as, how the variables are affected, and how, and when the pathological conditions can be treated, if at all. Our present capabilities with hormones may allow for a doctored repair of established damage. How near perfect can we expect the results to be? At what age, if at all, can this be done? How difficult and how far must adjustments to an abnormal aspect be? These are all questions to be explored.

Animal studies
Our contention here is further strengthened by the fact that similar observations have been made on other primate societies where over-concerned mothers have caused permanent changes in their male off-springs which have resulted in shortened lives. A sheltered male rhesus would have a lighter musculature, under-developed ruff, and a decreased resistance to disease. There are in addition psychological problems as the sheltered rhesus matures. The over concerned rhesus mother will not shove her baby male from her side to be hazed by other males, but will allow it to cling and cower near her and maybe even nurse far beyond its normal time. It has been repeatedly documented that changes in the aspect of rhesus family causes profound changes in the infant's life both physically and psychologically.

The experiments with wire frame and terry-cloth surrogate mothers reveal that offspring which are raised in this manner never acquire mothering skills of their own. Such pathological changes last for generations afterwards. This widespread evidence is but a hint of how broad is Nature's reliance on the childhood experience to shape a normal life for a developing young mammal.

The need for knowledge
This confusion in roles and unnatural attitudes has a widespread affect on the whole society. The manly woman strives for a warped equality. The effeminate man lays back in his goals for life. A confusion of dialectic logic makes scientific understanding impossible. With improper conditioning and without knowledge, social direction is lost. The social fabric is weakened and the tapestry of society loosens. It will not be interesting to see the long term effects of the placement of so many capable, intelligent children into day care facilities while their parents strive to fulfill their financial dreams. It is not amusing that social conditions dictate that gay couples with their associated attitudes only need "love" to raise adopted children.

Much of the fear of returning to traditional family aspects is due to a lack of knowledge of what is required. It is not necessary that all mothers submit to the unreasoning dominance of a dictatorial father. Nor is it necessary to prohibit effeminate men or lesbians from raising children. We simply have to know what we are doing.

As I taught my patients the art of child-rearing, I saw the ease with which some mothers and fathers adapted to the better idea. One mother now had an answer to a popular fad among her contemporary feminist neighbors. She reasoned that if she could consider throwing herself in front of a train, so to speak, to prolong her son's life, why shouldn't she take a normal natural attitude toward her husband if that were all there was to do the same thing? Likewise, why shouldn't a father assert himself and his role?

Many other mothers and fathers found that it required only a slight change in their attitudes to bring about an adjustment to conform to tradition. The women found that in most cases there was a gentle meeting of the minds in family discussions and that gracious deference to their husband, when they agreed, was a very natural and relaxed family attitude. Dominant women need only to give up a requirement that every one recognize them when they have won, and, instead, every one revere the father when he reaches his conclusions regardless of who initiated the idea.

In one extreme case the mother carried most of the financial responsibilities and the father had psychological and physiological problems with alcohol which sapped his money making capabilities. She would admonish her children: "Wash your faces and brush your hair, Daddy is coming home, and we want him to see us at our best!" The children grew strong, understanding the problems of their father, but at the same time respecting him in the traditional manner. As long as I knew them, his children seemed to avoid his problem with alcohol.

This last case, as well as many others in my experience, reveals clearly that it is not so much the attitude of the father as it is the attitude of his family toward him. The most difficult feature is that the attitude of the mother and father must be sincere. In this case, maybe, it was the Irish Catholic up-bringing toward the father that made this family psychologically healthy and whole. It is quite possible for the father to be gentle, understanding, sensitive, caring, and loving, and at the same time be granted the proper and normal respect of the family as its head. It is also possible for a father to gently insist on it.

The mother's personality
It is evident from experience that effeminate men often have mothers with domineering personalities. There is a difference between the dominant mother (who is more reasonable) and the domineering mother. A dominant personality leads and a domineering personality drives. Any leader is probably a mixture of both to some degree. A characteristic shared by both types of personalities is a more than average amount of nervous energy. They will start a project and persist with it after everyone else has grown tired. Beyond that the two types diverge.

The dominant female personality
This individual can be either sex and has a talent for projecting a mood of confidence and success. They usually have a better than average ability in their professional field. In the family, a female personality may be dominant by default in that the father is absent because of his work, or perhaps that he died or separated from his wife. In one case I knew, the mother kept her children's reverence for their father's memory alive in his absence by reading and rereading a letter that he had once written. He was a poor correspondent, but once he wrote a terrific letter in fit of homesickness in which he poured out his heart and fatherly philosophy.

In contrast is the domineering personality. The domineering personality of either sex is less of a leader and more of a jealous driver. Their characteristics are listed as follows:

1. In every argument and contention the domineering personality must win. Losing, to them, is disproportionately painful and unacceptable. Their vasomotor system is very much involved. Losing makes them blush and sweat. Anger turns them pale. When the cause is good, this person will prevail by determination in spite of difficulties and counter-motions.
2. The domineering person minimized their own faults and mistakes, and maximizes any other person's faults and mistakes. They will tell you: you are a sinner and leave you in mystery if you don't know why.
3. The domineering personality must initiate and/or approve of any actions of the group. When a motion is started without their knowledge, everything must stop when it is discovered and prompt inquiries and cross-examinations result. Regardless of who started the motion, the domineering personality takes credit for all that turns out well, and denies responsibility for all that turns out wrong. The domineering person tries to make anyone else responsible, ashamed, and guilty for everything that goes wrong. This feeling of guilt is used as a whip to get others to sacrifice for the goals of the leader. The surcease of guilt is altruism.
4. In any conversation the domineering person must have the last word. This trait turns every head in their direction at the end of every conversation.
5. A domineering person speaks of unsubstantiated abuses and hardships on their part as they labor for the common good.
6. Any rival is run down at every opportunity.
7. The domineering personalities are proud of their superior sexual prowess, and take every opportunity to brag of it. They also strive to leave a strong impression that no one is capable of completely fulfilling their needs.
8. The domineering personality will try to control the purse strings.

A domineering personality will show a significant number of these listed traits. These traits in a father are better tolerated in a family than the same traits in a mother. This personality is, in my experience, heritable, though science has yet to prove it.

The determined feminist who passionately preaches to her children
that her daughters are equal to her sons may find, in adulthood,
that her sons are more equal to her daughters.

Sexual Identification
Effeminate men are not destined to become homosexual. However, in general, evidence indicates a high correlation of homosexuality and effeminate men. Since most gay men have no recollection of "how" they became gay, we can only say that this decision was made early in life and was weighted by an environmental or heritable factor. It is possible that the relationship with a domineering mother combined with a series of disappointing relationships with women due to his status as an effeminate man could affect one's attitude toward women.

Sexual gratification is pleasure and there is a close association of human love between any two individuals once certain hurdles are passed. It isn't uncommon, or abnormal, for young boys to enter experimental sexual relationships with each other. Without a social stigma, this may become attractive as a rebellious or alternate behavior. Other aspects of human love: commitment, mutual interests, etc. are independent of sexuality (see chapter 9).

There have been indications that young girls may develop their early attitude toward men on the basis of the actions of their fathers and/or the resultant attitudes of their mothers. The daughter's resentment and anger, as a result of the father's transgression, causes the secretion of testosterone which could account for a huskier physique. Among identical twins raised separately from birth, the lesbian is slightly taller and huskier than the other twin who is not a lesbian.

Homosexual people are most always attempting to find satisfactory social adjustment. Most all of them feel the disapproval of society. This social stigma is mostly due to the association of homosexuality and "sin", as noted several times in the Bible. As recently as 1965, homosexuality was still considered a "psychiatric abnormality". Suicide among gay men is prevalent. Short serial relationships among males, with the accompanying emotional disturbances, are too common. We are undergoing a major sociological change. There is no reason why homosexuality can not be accepted to the point of encouraging life-long relationships through civil, if not religious, marriage. Promiscuity and quick serial relationships must be discouraged as they are under any circumstances. The method of educating our youth about homosexuality has serious consequences. With knowledge, we know it is not reasonable that youngsters be taught that becoming gay is just a whimsical alternative that anyone might choose. Nor is it reasonable to fear this choice. There are specific caveats to be learned about the gay lifestyle.

A seventeen-year old wrote the following:

"There has been a growing trend of gays because it all starts with a single individual. An individual which doesn't understand or is confused with ones emotions. I guess they feel that if I have a feeling that a gay person says he feels, I must be gay too - wow! Then I guess we are all gay. We've all had the same emotions at on time or another."

In our effort to counteract bigotry, there may be a danger of engendering self-doubt.

Although all gay individuals, men and women, tend to band together, gay men and lesbians' lifestyles, physiological aspects, and motivations are different. The health risks due to the sexual activities (anal sex) of gay men are enormously greater then either the heterosexual or the lesbian. Gay men tend to have many more partners than lesbians. Of course, in sexual encounters, homosexuals do not have the fears or considerations of pregnancy. This alone allows for a broader scope of sexual aspects.


Much to the dismay of many people, the traditional family provides no room for divorce. The only way to truly avoid this catastrophe is through prevention, very much like the prevention of "out of wedlock pregnancies", for instance. Due to the binding emotional forces of sexual encounters which would encourage mate selection on otherwise dubious grounds, premarital intercourse is not appropriate. Premarital intercourse is the cause of both "out-of-wedlock" pregnancies and many ill fated marriages.

Due to the same psycho-emotional reasons necessary to maintain a monogamous parental bond, adultery also is not in accordance. Here then are two types of behavior to avoid based now on an understanding of the evidence rather than theocracy. The whole idea is to find a mate who is reasonable and intelligent enough with which to form a life-long relationship. This requires a clear and unclouded considerations based in a stable family with clear guidelines to assist youngsters in this very important process.

A 1988 survey by the National Center for Health Statistics found that children in single-parent families are two to three times as likely as children in two-parent families to have emotional and behavioral problems. They are more likely to drop out of school, to get pregnant as teenagers, to abuse drugs, and to be in trouble with the law. Compared to children in intact families, children from disrupted families with step parents are at a much higher risk of physical and sexual abuse.

Historically, before 1900, 25% of children could expect to lose at least one parent through death by the time they were fifteen. The surviving parent and child were united in their grief and loss. The entire community created an outpouring of support from family, friends, and strangers alike. Even though these were one-parent families, the loss was quite complete and the resulting situational problems were quite different from divorce including custody decisions, visitation privileges, economic impact due to the cost of divorce, and broken promises due to separation. Since 1900, the deaths of percents has greatly diminished, but the percentage of children losing one parent, now to divorce, remains the same.

The anti-family philosophy
Much of the following information found to be damaging to children was drawn from the National Survey on children, by Nicholas Zill, and the California Children of Divorce Study, by Judith Wallerstein, both longitudinal studies from 1976 to 1987.

The single parent family
In Gloria Steinem's memorable words, "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle". One can't even imagine how discouraged a son would be being raised by this philosophy. According to a highly regarded 1977 study by the Carnegie Council on Children, "the greater availability of jobs for women means that more middle-class children today survive their parent's divorce without a catastrophic plunge into poverty." Divorce has been somehow a woman's liberation and the right thing to do. However, today, half the single mothers live below the poverty line. The average length of time as a single mother is six years before remarriage, if at all. Of those mothers never married, 40% remain on welfare for more than 10 years.

The step family
It has been said that family disruption will not cause lasting harm to children and may actually enrich their lives with the introduction of new people into the family. It was proclaimed: new diversity in family structure is good. Contrary to the belief that children are resilient to divorce, five years after divorce more than a third of the children experience moderate or severe depression. At ten years, a significant number appeared to be troubled, drifting, and underachieving. At fifteen years many young adults reported difficulties associated with love relationships. Children who were very young at the time of the divorce suffered the most, though this is contrary to findings of children of families disrupted due to the death of a parent.

Step families are confusing to children and often split loyalties confusing the identification process resulting in less ability to form loyalties in their own families later. We also know that step families have a higher incidence of child abuse (by forty times for sexual abuse alone).

Divorce and fathers
There seems to be a philosophy here that if we just feel good enough about a condition, all ill effects will dissolve as though it is the stigma that places children at risk rather than the condition. Rather than diversity, the divorce simply undermines society and dissolves the family structure. Ten years after a divorce more than two thirds of children report not having seen their father in a year. Only 20% of them claim to "look-up" to their fathers as compared to 52% of children from intact families. We know how this effects the developing child's hormonal environment.

Juvenile crime
Statistically 70% of all juveniles in reform institutions come from fatherless homes. The relationship is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases any relationship between race or low income and crime. This places new burdens on courts and prisons.

Poor school performance
Teachers find many children emotionally distracted, so upset and preoccupied by the explosive drama of their family lives that they are unable to concentrate. This has placed new burdens on schools.

Is divorce ever justifiable?
In cases where there develops compulsive behavior in: criminality, physical abuse, psychological intimidation, addiction, gambling, or infidelity in one of the partners, there can sometimes be no other alternative than divorce. If these attributes are to develop, they are inevitably found in the prospective partner's family. Unfortunately this is rarely taken into consideration in the majority of marriages. It can also be said that far too many marriages are dissolved for reasons of much less importance.

Many of the risk factors for children are doubled or more than doubled as a result of family disruption.
The risk that dietary cholesterol poses for cardiovascular disease, for example,
is far less than double, yet millions of Americans have altered their diets
because of the perceived hazard. This same deference should be given to divorce.

Copyright©Alden Bacuszmo

Chapter 22. Crime And Punishment

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