There are three ways to use the new PKR:

  1. Browse and click on color-coded boxes that appear as if by magic as you scroll down.
  2. Click on a category for all the ParenTips under that particular category.
  3. Go to the Site Map (link) for an:
    • a) alphabetical list of all ParenTips.
    • b) A list of all 8 categories with every ParenTip in that category listed alphabetically.

Or mix and match! Have fun as you get the information you need!

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I celebrate the family because I am concerned about the care and well-being of children. The nuclear family is the cradle in which the human race survived. Our altricial (helpless) offspring need prolonged care to not only survive but to be watched over during the many years it takes to become an adult.

But where is it written that the nuclear family is the only way to raise a child? Or that the nuclear family must always be a female Mommy and a male Daddy?

I celebrate all families: gay families, bi-racial families, trans-national adoption families, single parent families. All of these relatively new family configurations work. These are families that fit the definition young children would write if they could: “A family is the people in my house that love me and take care of me!”

If you want to read about one of these new families I recommend A New American Family by Peter Likins, former president of the University of Arizona. This inspiring memoir tells of the six children Pat and Pete Likins adopted to make their family which included children of Hispanic, black and Native American heritage.

But there is one family configuration I find somewhat troubling. In the lead front page story on February 18, 2012 the New York Times reported that more than half of all births to women under 30 occur to unmarried women. And nearly two-thirds of children born in the US are born to women under thirty. “It used to be called illegitimacy. Now it is the new normal.”

The fastest growth of births outside of marriage occurred in white women in their 20s with only some college education. As college graduates tend to marry before having children, sociologist Frank Furstenburg of the University of Pennsylvania says, “Marriage has become a luxury good.” Family structure is becoming divided by class with the “economic and social rewards of marriage reserved for those the most education.”

There are social implications of this trend I worry about. Most of the rise in births outside of marriage occurred in couples who were living together. Sadly, in the US these relationships are twice as likely to end than marriages are.

Women have always had to face raising children alone because of death or desertion of the husband. But it is possible that when more than half of the women having children CHOOSE to raise a child alone, or take the risk that a non-marital relationship will last, this could have an impact on society.

I know many valiant women (including those in my own family) who do a great job of single parenting, most because of circumstance, some by choice. I admire their ability to tackle a job designed for two people and manage to do it alone. But few would argue that for children the ideal is two committed parents. As a parent I know I needed and valued a partner to help with the tasks and decisions of parenting.

The decision to have a child is a personal one but I hope all these women under 30 make a responsible decision for themselves and their babies. And I have a suggestion to all those raising children now: Let’s raise our children…both boys and girls… to realize and understand what an awesome responsibility it is to make a baby. Talk about this at home, it’s important.