Friday, May 14, 2010
Marriage, Then Motherhood
Motherhood today has a different face than in past years. Today's mothers are older, more educated, less often white, more often Hispanic - and more often single - than mothers of even 20 years ago. In 2008 41 percent of babies born in America were born to single mothers. In 1990 only 28% of babies were born to single mothers. This and other data was provided by the Pew Research Center just in time for Mother's Day. The number of unmarried women in their child-bearing years has been increasing since 1990. It is apparent that having a baby out of wedlock is not as shameful as it once was. Christian values are still important to Americans, but the public apparently thinks differently about the need for marriage before having babies. Traditional marriage is better for children emotionally, economically, and academically. These are facts obtained by comparing children from traditional marriages with those from step families or co-habitating couples. The research was taken from census reports and health statistics and show that couples in America and other western nations are marrying at older ages and having babies when they feel they can afford them. The number of babies born to unmarried mothers increased most among white women and women who were traditionally Catholic Hispanic. The birth rate for black single mothers in 1990 was 67 percent and 72 percent twenty years later. The decline in marriage is the result of many social problems, which include crime, divorce, and poverty. It is also the result of the decline in teaching personal responsibility to children and youth in past years. It is difficult for teenagers to understand why they should wait until marriage to become sexually active when the adults all around them are having sex without the benefits of marriage. Teenagers also have difficulty believing in marriage when their own parents divorce. The teenagers of today are behaving differently than those of yesteryear. The Pew study showed that the rate of births to teenage mothers in 1990 was 13 percent but had dropped to 10 percent in 2008. There is hope that the future will hold still further declines in the teen rate as well as that of older women. In order to strengthen families, responsible adults must teach by word and example that marriage is needed before participating in sex and that fidelity in marriage is very important to maintaining strong families.