Article about the negative effects of single motherhood
I recently stumbled upon the following article. Despite the title and its publication in the New York Times, it actually has some substance. It talks about how wage inequality among men is increasing faster relative to wage inequality among women, with a lot of men stuck in low-wage jobs or persistent unemployment, and how the rise of single motherhood has contributed to this trend.
For boys and girls raised in two-parent households, there were only modest differences between the sexes in terms of success at school, and boys tended to earn more than their sisters in early adulthood.
Among children raised in single-parent households, however, boys performed significantly less well than their sisters in school, and their employment rate as young adults was lower. “Relative to their sisters,” Autor and his collaborators wrote, “boys born to disadvantaged families” — with disadvantage measured here by mother’s marital status and education — “have higher rates of disciplinary problems, lower achievement scores, and fewer high-school completions.”
When the children in the study reached early adulthood, the same pattern emerged in employment:
Employment rates of young women are nearly invariant to family marital status, while the employment rates of young adult men from non-married families are eight to ten percentage points below those from married families at all income levels.
Another salient quote:
Starting day care at six weeks, Schore writes, is “the exact time of the initiation of the postnatal testosterone surge found only in males.” Schore notes that “research has documented that boys more so than girls raised in single-mother families show twice the rate of behavioral problems than do boys in two-parent families” and argues that a “mis-attuned insecure mother” can be “a source of considerable relational stress, especially when the immature male toddler is expressing high levels of dysregulated aggression or fear.”
When a child is 18 to 24 months old, fathers play a crucial role, Schore writes, pointing to
the male infant’s attachment transactions with the father in the second year, when he is critically involved in not only androgen-controlled rough-and-tumble play but in facilitating the male (and female) toddler’s aggression regulation. This same period (18–24 months) involves the initiation of a critical period of growth in the left hemisphere, and so the “paternal attachment system” of father-son interactions would presumably forge an androgenic imprint in the toddler’s evolving left-brain circuits, including the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, allowing for his regulation of the male toddler’s testosterone-induced aggression (“terrible twos”).