In Defense of the Nuclear Family

June 11, 2020 | Scott Buchanan
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Drawing on historical research into the traditional family unit, and social-science research into the benefits that it provides to children, Scott Buchanan seeks to refute some of the arguments made by its current critics:

Sociologists and social scientists have found, for example, that children raised in the relatively secure structure of the nuclear family excel on a number of key developmental indicators, outperforming those peers who have been reared in a variety of other family types. And it’s not just the former set of children who benefit, either; society at large also flourishes, given that this particular familial pattern often acts as the seedbed for the cultivation of productive, responsible, well-rounded citizens.

Study after study has recognized the invaluable nature of a biological father’s presence, in everything from academic achievement to the avoidance of criminality. Equally well documented has been the depressingly common trend of paternal absence, part of the wider dissolution of intact, two-parent family structures.

[By contrast], the modern fictive kinship arrangements that many progressives extol are frequently (though not always) the result of the breakdown of more traditional family forms—the collapse of which leads inevitably to the very chaos, pain, instability, and neglect they would rightly decry. Rushing to applaud so-called “forged” or alternative families, they remain seemingly unaware of those studies that suggest that, for all the supposed attractions these groupings embody, they lag behind their nuclear “counterparts” when it comes to the key ingredients of, for example, child-nurturing. Substituting glib dismissals for honest engagement simply shields from view the multiple connections between particular family types and these widely recognized realities.

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