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This was a difficult column to write because no matter how much I explain myself, I will be called heartless, cruel and unfeeling. At the risk of personal name-calling, I will plunge ahead.
Everyone hears about the tragedy of throwaway children. I don’t mean orphans – I mean those children whose fathers are nothing more than sperm donors and whose mothers neglect them.
This past week I was on a business trip to a large out-of-state city and had the experience of meeting two of these throwaway children – a 10-year-old boy and his deaf 7-year-old brother. They had no idea who their father was, and their mother had no interest in raising them. They were living with their unmarried 24-year-old sister, who was already overwhelmed with three young children of her own.
I met these kids through some friends who were mentoring them. The boys had never been in a married household before. They had seldom eaten a home-cooked meal or been around people who were calm and orderly. The home life many of us take for granted was alien and foreign to them.
My friends are trying to get the deaf child the services he needs. At age 7, he is unable to speak (in either sign language or spoken words). His hearing condition is manageable with a certain type of hearing aid, and he once had one for a short time; but after it was lost, no one bothered to try and get him another. No one has attempted to teach him sign language or enroll him in a special school. There are county and state services available to help, but the sister either cannot or will not pursue those options. As a result, the child is growing up in a silent, confusing world, unable to communicate on an effective level.
More poignant is the desperation of both children for simple affection – a hug, a snuggle, a kind word. Whenever either of my friends sat down for a moment, one or the other child would climb into their lap and cling. They begged, literally begged, my friends to adopt them.
But that is now out of the question when the 10-year-old boy began making sexual overtures toward my friends’ 10-year-old daughter. He didn’t know it was wrong. It was, after all, the only expression of affection he ever saw at home. Boys and girls have sex – it’s as simple as that. He seemed genuinely bewildered when my friends told him it was inappropriate behavior.
So unless these children are adopted by someone else, they will continue to live in a chaotic and unstable household, headed by an overwhelmed young woman unable to handle her own children, much less her needy little brothers. Yet ironically, when my friends tentatively suggested to the sister that the boys be put up for adoption, she furiously turned them down.
There will be no chance for these kids to nurture any talents or interests. They will merely exist. And there will come a time – within three or four years for the older child – when their painful longing for a stable family will give way to a livid anger at society in general. Then they will lash out, and society will feel their pain.
And we wonder where teenage thugs come from.
Let’s face it, the “parents” of these boys did not bring them into the world to love and nurture them. Instead, they gave birth to these kids as living breathing commodities. The oldest boy admitted that his sister gets more money for every child in the home, which is why she won’t let them be adopted out. But as the deaf child can attest, once these commodities are born, no one gives a damn what happens to them. Let society take care of them.
In short, our current system is rewarding people for producing throwaway kids. Watch this video to see what I mean (warning: strong language). This has GOT to stop.
It’s taken half a century of social programs to produce millions of throwaway children. Fixing this problem won’t happen overnight. Increased welfare and other entitlements for larger fatherless families must be phased out and other solutions phased in.
Some people argue – horrifyingly – that if we just aborted all these inconvenient children, then all would be well. Abortion must be plentiful and tax-funded, they say, otherwise too many unwanted kids will be born.
Do you really think this is the answer? Do you think these children should be cut limb from limb while in the womb? Do you really think these babies deserved to have their spinal cords snipped while they curl their toes in agony?
Critics of this column will immediately tell me these children justify the need for extensive and endless amounts of additional welfare. After all, it’s for the children. What these critics refuse to acknowledge is too many of these children are born because of welfare. Their very existence hinges on the continuation of entitlements. In short, the birth (but not the raising) of these children is used to justify eternal dependency.
We didn’t have a widespread problem with throwaway children before the 1960s. Certainly there were bad and neglectful parents, and there were illegitimate births; but these were the exception, not the rule. Out-of-wedlock pregnancies were something to be ashamed of. They weren’t widespread, and they most certainly weren’t rewarded through entitlement payments that eliminated the need for the father.
“The simple fact is that children are suffering because the U.S. welfare system has failed,” notes Dr. Patrick F. Fagan and Robert Rector in “How Welfare Harms Kids.” “Designed as a system to help children, it has ended up damaging and abusing the very children it was intended to save. The welfare system has failed because the ideas upon which it was founded are flawed. The current system is based on the assumption that higher welfare benefits and expanded welfare eligibility are good for children. According to this theory, welfare reduces poverty, and so will increase children’s lifetime well-being and attainment. This is untrue. Higher welfare payments do not help children; they increase dependence and illegitimacy, which have a devastating effect on children’s development.”
Family size isn’t the problem, father-absence is. There is no reason – no excuse at all – for an unmarried woman to bring half a dozen children (fathered by different men) into the world except for one thing: to get more money from the government. Since government has become the sugar daddy, these women see no need to provide their children with a father’s critical love, discipline and nurturing. The pain from father-absence is immeasurable for these throwaway children.
“It is welfare dependence, not poverty, that has the most negative effect on children,” says Fagan and Rector. “Recent research … shows that increasing the length of time a child spends on welfare may reduce the child’s IQ by as much as 20 percent… Welfare also plays a powerful role in promoting illegitimacy.”
My friends are doing what they can, but in the end their efforts are not likely to make much of a dent in the lives of these boys. They’ve learned that to deny welfare abuse is to deny reality. These children were born not because their mother loved them, but because she loved entitlements. That’s a painful legacy to live with.
I said at the beginning of this column I would be called heartless and cruel. Is it cruel to require people to be responsible for their own children by refusing to reward illegitimacy? In some peoples’ minds, I guess it is.
Please, people. Stop producing throwaway children. Keep your knees together and your wick zipped. Raise and love the children you have and look upon them as a blessing, not an EBT card.
Now let the mudslinging begin.