It appears Kay Hymowitz is once again concern trolling for the state of men and boys in our Brave New World Order.
In fact, signs that the nuclear-family meltdown of the past half-century has been particularly toxic to boys’ well-being are not new. By the 1970s and eighties, family researchers following the children of the divorce revolution noticed that, while both girls and boys showed distress when their parents split up, they had different ways of showing it. Girls tended to “internalize” their unhappiness: they became depressed and anxious, and many cut themselves, or got into drugs or alcohol. Boys, on the other hand, “externalized” or “acted out”: they became more impulsive, aggressive, and “antisocial.” Both reactions were worrisome, but boys’ behavior had the disadvantage of annoying and even frightening classmates, teachers, and neighbors.
Note her real concern here. While divorce's effects on children are worrisome, it's the boys of divorce who annoy or frighten other people that is her true concern. How touching.
Putting aside the snark for a moment, I must note that Hymowitz's article does highlight a lot of issues most of us in the MAndrosphere are aware of and focus much attention to the related issues....but her article still annoys because of her implicit definitions of what it means for boys to become men - her concern is entirely based upon the idea that boys will only become men when they get married and become providers...to paraphrase Rollo, "...in other words better serving the feminine imperative qualifies men to be adults."
Note the following:
So why do boys in single-mother families have a harder time of it than their sisters? If you were to ask the average person on the street, he would probably give some variation of the role-model theory: boys need fathers because that’s who teaches them how to be men. The theory makes intuitive sense.
So far, so good...
These findings can help us refine the role-model theory. Girls and boys have a better chance at thriving when their own father lives with them and their mother throughout their childhood—and for boys, this is especially the case. (Violent or abusive fathers are, of course, exceptions to the rule.)
I was with her up until her little caveat...because we all know exactly how violent and abusive fathers are defined: by how the female in the house feels about the Father in the home. Just like the definition of rape has been expanded to encompass a whole range of male sexual behavior in addition to female's feelings of post-coital regret, so too has violence and abuse been expanded to include any and every instance of a female (wife, girlfriend, daughter, sister etc.) feeling uncomfortable, or afraid of any expression of anger or annoyance by a male. But I digress.
From this point on, her article only gets worse.
On average, boys are more physically active and restless than girls. They have less self-control and are more easily distracted. They take longer to mature. They have a harder time sitting still, paying attention, and following rules, especially in the early years of school.
On average, boys are different from girls. They have a much lower threshold for the institutionalized values of feminized education. This idea that boys who are easily distracted and have a hard time sitting in a chair and paying attention to a teacher and following the myriad of rules in the schoolroom setting is what Hymowitz and her ilk defined as "mature." In other words, maturity is measured by conformity to the institution. This is definitely a female mode of thinking.
In Lord of the Flies terms, we might say that boys need more “civilizing” than girls. They require more cues, more reminders, and more punishment to learn to control their aggression and to mind their manners. Boys—not girls—often require remedial education to sit still, to look at the person speaking to them, to finish the task they were working on. These days, experts might put it this way: boys come into the world with less natural human capital than do girls.
And just who are these "Experts" to declare that boys have less "human capital" than girls? Why, these are the experts who've received credentialed certification for demonstrating excellence in conformity to feminized institutions. (Not that there's anything wrong with that...after all, I got my own institutional credential certifications.)
Let's take Kay's approach to defining "maturity" and "human capital" in swap genders and define "human capital" and "maturity" based on a metric of masculine ideals and see how it sounds:
"We might say that girls need more external "motivating" than boys. They require more encouragement and prodding to explore, apply themselves to hands on activities and attempt to do things on their own. They are far less likely to innovate, show a general lack of curiosity or look for new ways to achieve goals, but instead are content to sit still and do exactly as their teacher tells them in an effort to gain favor and approval from the institutional authority. Girls come into the world with less natural human capital than do boys."
That statement is just as ludicrous as Hymowitz defining "human capital" and "maturity" on a female-centered metric. The source for this idiocy is blank-slate, gender-is-a-social construct brainwashing from feminists that permeates our culture at large.
Girls and boys come into the world with different, gender specific "human capital," specific to their sex. But Hymowitz and her cohorts of concerned Conservatives are only concerned with boys growing up and achieving 'maturity' as defined by conformity to female-centric idealization of "civilization."
If the trends of the past 40 years continue—and there’s little reason to think that they won’t—the percentage of boys growing up with single mothers will keep on growing. No one knows how to stem that tide. But by understanding the way family instability interacts with boys’ restless natures, educators could experiment with approaches that might improve at least some lives. Educators and psychologists have often described boys as “needing clear rules” or “benefiting from structure.”
No one knows? Au contraire, plenty of us out in these fringes of teh Interwebz know exactly how to stem that tide. Boys need clear rules to benefit from the structure of a Father-headed household. We've already experienced decades of social engineering that has resulted in the outsourcing of structure and conformity training, and the transmission of cultural values from a Patriarchal home to society's collective institutions and organizations. The results? An epidemic of boys afflicted with ADD, ADHD and ODD, and the expansion of the prison industrial complex and police state to deal with the pathologies of the generations of feral children that are spawned in our Brave New World Order's pandemic of single mother households.
My real criticism for Hymowitz's piece is not just based on her feminine-centric definition of maturity and "human capital." Much of what she does write about is an accurate description of how the Fatherless home leads to a cycle of male dysfunction and anti-social pathology. In many ways, she's correct - the absence of the Fathers in the home, removes all the positive aspects of masculinity as an influence and guide to his development.
It just may be that boys growing up where fathers—and men more generally—appear superfluous confront an existential problem: Where do I fit in? Who needs me, anyway? Boys see that men have become extras in the lives of many families and communities, and it can’t help but depress their aspirations. Solving that problem will take something much bigger than a good literacy program.
What she doesn't address (and is most likely completely incapable of even recognizing) is not only the absence of positive masculinity harming to his development....but how the negative feminine aspects of his Mother's influence plays a role in his pathological development.
Boys don't just need Fathers in the home to role model and provide guidance them on how to become Men.
Boys need Fathers in the home, to keep the mothering from becoming smothering.
Yes, the single mother household raises boys without a Father figure and a positive role model for the boy to aspire to...but what it also features, is a household for which a boy learns to deal with his world experiences in female-centric modes of thought and behavior.
Without a Father in the home, young boys only learn to deal with their external environment and internal emotions and fears by the behavior and attitudes of the only significant role model he's exposed to in his home, his Single Mother.
As a "Gen X'er," I grew up in the first generation of children for which divorce and the broken home reached pandemic proportions in the US. In my peer group in high school, more of my friends and acquaintances were the product of broken homes via divorce than were the number of kids who came from stable, two-parent homes. In hindsight, I recognize the differences in archetypal personalities of all these kids I know who came from the stable home versus the kids from the broken homes.
Boys raised by single moms are far more likely to be emotionally out-of-control, more prone to crying and usually allowing their emotions to paralyze them, or cause them to lash out instinctively and without restraint or careful consideration for potential consequences. Boys raised by single mothers are also more likely to be raised with an almost pathological need for female approval, thanks to the intermittent reward dynamic of having his only familial authority, an emotionally-fluctuating, passive-aggressive and manipulative female.
Another archetype I believe that emerges from the boys raised by single mothers, is the promiscuous player...what I called "naturals" long before I discovered the terminology of "Game" and PUA vernacular on teh Interwebz. In hindsight, I can recall two different kinds of 'players' in the Sexual Marketplace of High School and early adulthood - the successful guys who came from two parent families whose Father's were "alpha" themselves....
...and the boys raised in single mother households, whose mothers had a parade of lovers come in and out of their lives as she rode the post-divorce carousel. These are the boys who associate sexual promiscuity as 'normal.' They become "players" because they exhibit the so-called "dark triad" traits that females find sexually alluring...which is to say, nothing more than his masculine expression of the solipsism and hypergamy role modelling he was imprinted with in being raised by his single mother. Solipsism expressed by the male player, exhibits itself more aggressively as arrogant, over-confident narcissism...a dynamic the Chateau oft refer to as "dark triad traits = chic crack."
Boys raised by single mothers are also more likely to be raised with the attitude of being a consumer, rather than a producer, and that using emotional manipulations and intermittent rewards to gain sexual favors comes as second nature to him.
This makes him well equipped to game girls into sexual encounters and short-term relationships.
But the other aspect here I ascertain from my hindsight of observations is that all these "natural" players that went through girls like sticks of chewing gum, were also incapable of sustaining long term relationships. Worse yet, whenever they did encounter "THE ONE" girl they fell in love with and attempted to forge a long term relationship with, none that I can recall, ever ended well.
Not only do they lack the imprinted behavior of a Father and Mother balancing each others best and worst to make a family work with the complementary dynamics of a Father's Masculinity and Mother's Femininity, but they also have a deep seated insecurity and desire for female approval that can never be satisfied. It is an all-consuming hunger. It is the masculine expression of the feminine's equivalent "dark triad" traits.
A male raised with the feminine primal desire to consume is quite adept at manipulating females into sexual conquest...but once they decide to engage in a long term relationship, that desire to consume her is no longer just expressed in sexual need, but it extends further into the same needs he was programmed with being raised in a single mother household: expressed female approval. This turns into a needy, supplicating relationship modeled after his own relationship with his single mother. This neediness for emotional approval and validation inevitably leads to contempt and loss of attraction and desire from his long term partner...and at that point, the relationship is inevitably doomed.
Of course....all this is really just my attempt at analyzing the deeper behaviors and thought patterns behind the dysfunctional relationships I've observed from the boys I've known, raised in broken, single mother homes. It could all be explained by an even simpler and less complex dynamic - being imprinted by their Single Mother's behavior and attitudes towards sex and relationships, the only thing he knows is casual promiscuity, using members of the opposite sex for sexual gratification and knowing nothing other than unstable, short term, inter-gender relational dysfunction.
In other words, the psychological effects of boys raised in single mother homes, are boys who think and act without the influence of positive masculinity of an absent Father role model in conjunction with the worst influences of negative femininity. This is the aspect Hymowitz and other So Cons who lament the results of the broken homes fail to grok.
As Bob Wallace has frequently pointed out at his place:
"The word "bastard" means "a fatherless boy" and "a cruel, heartless man."
Where did this Fatherless boy learn how to be cruel and heartless? By imprinting his single mother's worst feminine traits and emotional stability causing an intermittent reward addiction for her approval, combined with his base masculine drive and aggressiveness.
Which is precisely why the lynch pin to destabilizing and destroying a civilization, is to remove the Father from his role at the head of his home.