One Man Versus the Traditional Family

Having worked at a juvenile corrections facility for over 6 months now, I’ve come to a greater awareness of the decline of the traditional family and traditional roles within the family unit. Before I get started, please hear my disclaimer: I do not believe that all non-traditional families fail without exception. I do believe that the traditional family, more likely than not, is more conducive to successful relationships and child-rearing.

A vast majority (forgive me for not stating exact statistics [that is an oxymoron, by the way]) of the population in juvenile correctional facilities are males in single mother (or aunt,  or grandmother) homes. I’m not going to delve into the specifics as to how the lack of a strong positive male influence is detrimental to their upbringing. Instead, as this is Mother’s Day (in the United States of America), I am going to flesh out how this is a two-fold problem.

These children lack a strong positive male influence: a role that the present model (mom, aunt, grandma) must try to fill. This is admirable. This takes strength.

This takes away from the essential role the mother plays in a child’s upbringing.

Not only does the mother have to step up to fill that missing father role, in doing so she must sacrifice portions of her mothering skill. An object cannot be in two different places at the same time. It is inevitable that to make time, one must sacrifice.

Happy Mother’s day to all the struggling single mothers. I recognize the challenge in front of you and hope for God’s blessings, love, comfort, and support in your lives. Thank you for doing the best that you can.


  1. I never considered it this way before. I believe in the sanctity of family with the “traditional” roles filled (mother, father, sister, brother). Like you I recognize that this isn’t always possible and non-traditional families are not bad. I see the family unit with a husband and wife, mother and father, as the ideal. All sorts of circumstances lead to single parent families and children being raised by extended family members. These situations can certainly work well for the child’s benefit, but I think having a mother and father present is ideal. I thought before about how much more difficult it is for a single parent to raise children, but I had never framed it in the terms you state, that a mom being a dad sacrifices some of being a mom to do so. I think that is very poignant.


  2. It hit me while writing that post that being raised by single mom is not only insufficient so far as having a male influence, but that by trying to fill that hole of the missing father, the mother misses the mark in being a father and loses out on fulfilling her mother role to her greatest ability. So, a household of a single mother is potentially missing 50% father and 50% mother. Instead of having one great mom, you’ve got a half-father and half-mother. God willing, you’ve go the best halves of both. Unfortunately, when you add socio-economic disadvantage and a criminal background to that single mother, the children don’t really stand much of a chance.

    And we’re expected to inspire change in such youth in the juvenile corrections system on a daily basis. No wonder they look for power in tools of instant gratification. “Get me out of here, and get me out of here NOW!” When you bury the hurt, insecurities, confusion, and anger in pleasure, you cannot stop to entertain other ways of coping. It’s just too hard.

    Sorry, I went off on a tangent there!


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