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Small-Town Values and Two-Parent Families

chipp

Here are a few statistics about the town I live in now: 86% of the families with children have married parents (compared to the national average of 74% of White, non-Hispanics, 59% of Hispanics, and 33% of Black families). Ninety-nine percent of the kids graduate from high school and the daily attendance rate is 95%. Our weekly police blotter usually includes items like a call to police about a burglary that turned out to be "faked by a former house-mate and his daughter as a joke" (the actual headline story this week).

A 1997 report from The Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency reports that "the most reliable indicator of violent crime in a community is the proportion of fatherless families."

Fatherless families = violent crime in a community. Period.

The report said that fathers offer not only economic stability, but they are valuable role models for boys, in particular, and reduce stress for mothers. Children from two-parent families are less likely to use drugs, be gang members, be expelled from school, be committed to reform institutions, and become juvenile murderers.

Single parenthood inevitably reduces the amount of time a child has in interaction with someone who is attentive to the child's needs, including the provision of moral guidance and discipline. According to a 1993 Metropolitan Life Survey, "Violence in America's Public Schools," 71 percent of teachers and 90 percent of law enforcement officials state that the lack of parental supervision at home is a major factor that contributes to the violence in schools. Sixty-one percent of elementary students and 76 percent of secondary children agree with this assessment.