Various studies have found that children born outside of marriage are far more at risk of child abuse. The most often cited relationship between the batterer and the female victim of domestic violence is a boyfriend. (Married women also have the lowest rates of mental illness, depression or suicide compared to women in any other relationship category.)A comprehensive study of child abuse reported by Robert Whalen of the Heritage Foundation found that children living with their biological married parents are much safer than in other family configurations.
More specifically, the rate of child abuse is 14 times higher than a traditional married two-parent family if the child lives alone with his biological mother.
For example, by the time they had reach fifteen, about 15 percent of all American children born in 1870 had experienced the death of their fathers.
(Incidentally, the death of mothers was more common then. In 1900 middle-aged, widowed men outnumbered middle-aged divorced men twenty to one.) Today, the principle cause of fatherless is paternal choice.
Fifteen years ago, David Blankenhorn in his landmark book, Fatherless America, warned the nation that more than half of the nation's children would spend some part of their childhood growing up without a dad.
Historically, fatherlessness in America was caused by paternal death.Child abuse is 33 times higher if a single mother is cohabiting with a boyfriend.Historically, poverty has stemmed primarily from fathers being unemployed or underpaid.Overall only one-third of children living apart from their fathers see their dad as often as once a week.For the children of a failed marriage, the numbers are hardly better.To reverse the trend, he calls for congressional assistance in ``creating higher standards of male responsibility,'' an annual presidential address on the State of Fatherhood, a formal ``fatherhood pledge'' to be taken by every man in the country, and a union of ``married fathers'' to transform public housing projects into ``hospitable environments.'' Blankenhorn's depiction of fatherlessness as the cause rather than a symptom of greater social ills will rankle in some quarters, and his agenda for remedying the situation will amuse more far- seeing social critics.Last Thursday, the above-the-fold headline in the state's largest newspaper concerned a very disturbing new report.As Maggie Gallagher notes, in The Abolition of Marriage, one of the best books ever written on marriage, "In sharp contrast to children in intact families, children of divorce or non-marriage repeatedly undergo the experience of seeing family-like members enter and drop out of the picture. Adults in these post divorce, [and non-marital] romances seldom accurately assess the effects these relationships may have on their children."For the first year or so, many unwed fathers tend to make a special effort to see their children.The initial experience of love's failure and the abandonment most children experience in the immediate aftermath of divorce is confirmed again and again and again in the years ahead . As life goes on, they may move, or they may acquire new emotional obligations to new girlfriends.Today, fatherlessness has become the single largest determinant of child poverty.Today, 92% of children on welfare are from either single parent or divorced homes, whereas the vast majority of children raised in a married home will never be poor.