Fatherlessness in America is increasing on two levels. This conclusion shows up time and again in the literature.Men have not kept up with changes in society. I am looking for more ideas on how to change all this. Let me take this one step further. Listen to the clinical observations that Judith Wallerstein, a pioneer in this field, has carried out in California. Look down the list of pressing social problems facing the nation: poverty, crime, teenage pregnancy, child abuse — including sexual abuse — domestic violence against women, poor school performance. As they get older, many young women have affairs with older men. One story traveling in some social-science circles, for example, is that Blankenhorn took on fatherhood as a way to settle old family scores. You alluded to the welfare disincentives that are built-in. The current welfare system is an astonishing disincentive for responsible fatherhood and for marriage.
One is what we can do about it. The recent trend leaves kids with a greater sense of abandonment. This includes, particularly, minority males, who without the reasonable expectation of holding a job capable of supporting a family, are less likely to marry and are less likely to be desirable marriage partners.
The only credible strategy for reversing that current trend is to increase the number of children in America who grow up with their two married parents. Reports of these crimes are on the increase, and the incidence of them, we think, is on the increase.
Juvenile delinquency. Historically, poverty for a child tended to depend on what his father did for a living. Can you think of anybody — for instance, the American Psychological Association and the Rockefeller Commission — and what was it that made them come back to fatherhood?
Part I traces the historical diminishment of American fatherhood over the past years.