Leah: The Nuclear Family: Essential or overrated?

Leah Ulatowski, Copy Editor

The King James Bible states, “Therefore shall a mancleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

The “nuclear family” is generally defined as a man and woman who are joined together in marriage and raising their biological or adopted children. While some of my best friends are single parents or members of the LGBT community, I have always held the opinion that a nuclear family structure benefits children more than nontraditional homes.

The Bible champions the traditional family. Consequently, progressives argue that traditionalists base their beliefs solely on doctrine and that no evidence exists to prove children develop differently according to family structure. In actuality, new studies tend to side with the traditionalists.

“Family structure and children’s health in the United States,” a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report, showcased notable differences between single-parent and nuclear households in terms of financial, emotional and physical well-being. The information is based on seven years of survey data.

Meanwhile, “How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships?,” a study by sociologist Mark Regnerus, challenged the idea that children raised by same-sex couples display no difference in standard of living.

Regnerus’s research is sound, as past studies utilized small samples of families headed by homosexuals, relied on solely parental self reports and often compared youth raised by members of the LGBT community to a sample that mixed children from both single-parent and nuclear homes.

According to their studies, single-parent families are more susceptible to poverty; only 1 percent of nuclear families had to forego needed medication for their children in comparison to 3.2 percent of single-parent households. The results were constant in terms of families who had to delay eyeglasses, dental work and medical care due to lack of affordability.

Likewise, according to self reports, 69 percent of children raised by lesbian mothers and 57 percent reared by gay fathers have received welfare throughout their lives in comparison to 17 percent of kids raised by nuclear families. In fact, adults raised by lesbian mothers are four times more likely to receive public assistance and three times more likely to be unemployed.

CDC found that only 3.9 percent of children in nuclear families reported feeling anxious in the past year in comparison to 8.5 percent of children in single-parent households. Additionally, only 8 percent of nuclear children exhibited a short attention span and inability to carry out simple tasks in comparison to 14.7 percent of single-parent counterparts. Finally, only 3 percent of children from nuclear families displayed undeniable emotional or behavioral difficulties in comparison to 7.4 percent from single-parent homes.

According to self reports, adults raised by same-sex couples are: more likely to suffer from depression; if female, more likely to engage in promiscuity with both sexes; three times more likely to have participated in a marital affair; nearly four times as likely to have experienced rape; and 10 times more likely to have endured molestation as children (not necessarily by their parents).

There are certainly “broken” nuclear homes, and children are sometimes better off in a stable nontraditional setting than an unstable traditional one; however, in general, children raised by heterosexual, married parents experience more financial and emotional stability than those raised in nontraditional households.

Correlation does not equal causation, but studies show that non-nuclear families have children who are susceptible to some disadvantages. There are numerous theories that attempt to explain why, and they range from less consistent discipline and supervision in single-parent households to higher divorce rates for homosexual couples than heterosexual ones, and according to CNN, a quarter of the LGBT community reports domestic abuse every year.