Commentary

Totally Nuclear: The Connection Between Moral Decline and The Original Family Unit 

Lil Nas X being sodomized by the devil, SUVs mowing down Christmas parade goers, and 13-year-olds publicizing their pregnancies on Tik-Tok— oh my! Constantly, our culture bombards us with images, audio bites, and headlines filled with moral perversion to rival even the Whore of Babylon herself. Why? The Christian response obviously centers around what Jesus says in Matthew 24, which speaks to the increase of lawlessness and general immorality in the end times. All while the secular world insists there is no problem: it’s the new normal. Neither option is acceptable. Simple acceptance of our decline as opposed to an attempt to analyze and remedy the problem is antithetical to the Christian faith. At the same time, enthusiastically accepting the “new normal” in the name of tolerance and faux empowerment is equally as abhorrent. What exactly is causing this cancer to spread throughout our culture? The answer may lie in the rapid dissipation of the nuclear family.

To be clear, I am not arguing that the gears of the Hollywood machine which churned out Fifty Shades of Grey and Cuties are only made up out of disillusioned adult-children who lived in one parent homes and decided to be morally perverse. Nor is my attempt in this article to provide a bandaid-fix to a bullet wound issue; the consequences of non-nuclear family upbringings are far too complex to cover adequately in a school magazine. No, the purpose of this article is merely to provide a charcuterie-tray style exposure to a myriad of issues directly related to cultural depravity and its connection to the fall of the nuclear family. 

It’s all about the kids.

A morally sound upbringing of children by two parents is critical to the development of their character and sense of value. Unfortunately, this home environment is on the decline. In 1960, roughly 5 percent of children were born to unmarried women. Now about 40 percent are. The Pew Research Center reported that 11 percent of children lived apart from their father in 1960. In 2010, 27 percent did. Now only about half of American children will spend their childhood with both biological parents. (The Atlantic, David Brooks 2020) Only 40% of families lived with their own children in 2020, a 4% decrease from 2000 (U.S. Census Bureau 2020). 

These findings quickly develop a very clear filter for how we are supposed to analyze the depravity flaunting on every stage and soundtrack. A lack of strong co-parental leadership from both a mother and a father leads to severe behavioral issues, which lends itself to many categories of misconduct.

When looking for examples of behavioral problems in children, school settings are an ideal indicator for how a child will act in society later in life. For example, in a study analyzing suspension rates between boys and girls, they found that “6 percent of girls are suspended during eighth grade, while the rate among boys is 16 percent. Among children with a single mother, the gender gap in suspensions more than doubles: 15 percent of girls and 41 percent of boys are suspended during eighth grade” (Wasserman 2020). While this study is focusing on the more adverse effects of single-parent households on boys, it still illuminates in both genders the clear issue in raising children without the nuclear set up.

To further corroborate the point that non-nuclear families tend to produce less morally-sound children, a study comparing the childhoods of currently incarcerated people to non-incarcerated people found that “even in high-crime inner-city neighborhoods, well over 90 percent of children from safe, stable homes do not become delinquents. By contrast only 10 percent of children from unsafe, unstable homes in these neighborhoods avoid crime” (Heritage 2020). The data is astounding. Obviously criminal activity— known for embracing violent and sexually perverse behavior— directly affects individuals who did not have secure upbringings. Which brings us to the question: are nuclear families the standard for stability? If we base stability off of financial security and safety of the child, which I believe most would, then the answer is yes.

Nuclear families out-perform every other family model in both the financial and relational. In terms of money, Pew Research Center highlights that 57% of children growing up in two parent homes live under incomes that are at least 200% above the national poverty line. It goes without saying that financial prosperity directly leads to better education (school choice, tutoring, college), increased ability to attend mental health resources such as counseling, and higher access to nutrient-rich foods. Two parents in a committed marital relationship also serve as a guard against external abuse in the home. Sadly, the effects of non-nuclear households can at times lead to circumstances of abuse: “children living in a household with an unrelated adult were about nine times more likely to be physically, sexually, or emotionally abused than children raised in an intact nuclear family” (The Atlantic, Wilcox). A basic understanding of developmental psychology easily reveals how two-parent households create both better behavioral patterns and a more stable homelife, while single-parent situations are detrimental to the child.

While multiple variables contribute to a society’s moral downfall, everyone knows that the future is in the hands of our youth. If children do not grow up in environments that cultivate moral soundness and mental stability, we can expect the ethical nosedive our nation is taking to continue hurling itself off the cliff. How do we pump the breaks? Simple— let’s get married and have some babies.


Works Cited:

Are Married Parents Really Better For Children? . https://www.clasp.org/sites/default/files/public/resources-and-publications/states/0086.pdf.

Brooks, David. “The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 19 Mar. 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/03/the-nuclear-family-was-a-mistake/605536/.

Bureau, US Census. “Census Bureau Releases New Estimates on America’s Families and Living Arrangements.” Census.gov, 8 Oct. 2021, https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2020/estimates-families-living-arrangements.html.

Fagan, Patrick. “The Real Root Causes of Violent Crime: The Breakdown of Marriage, Family, and Community.” The Heritage Foundation, https://www.heritage.org/crime-and-justice/report/the-real-root-causes-violent-crime-the-breakdown-marriage-family-and.

How Cultural Factors Shape Economic Outcomes. https://futureofchildren.princeton.edu/sites/futureofchildren/files/foc_vol_30_no_1_combined_v6.pdf.

W. Bradford Wilcox, Hal Boyd. “The Nuclear Family Is Still Indispensable.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 21 Feb. 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/02/nuclear-family-still-indispensable/606841/.

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