Summary and Response “The Myth of Doomed Kids”

Category: Culture
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Bella DePaulo is the author of the book Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. In an excerpt of her book “The Myths of Doomed Kids,” DePaulo talks about prejudices about families and how kids come from a home where their parents do not live together. They are more at risk of facing life challenges such as drug and alcohol abuse and future psychological problems.

In the opening paragraph, DePaulo talks about how single parents are “singled out” in our society, but if they are single parents and poor, that is another story. The President Ronald Regan made statements during his Presidency about how the Queen of Welfare – a single mothers who were poor, not only received welfare but also about how they worked around the system, trying to get as much money for their families as they could, even if it meant “pretending to have an array of dead husbands”. DePaulo also describes how society thinks children come from “broken homes” have a higher risk of having a life of failure and despair.

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In the second paragraph, she expressed her desire to want evidence for that. She decided to use the National Drug Abuse Survey to give some answers. The survey focused on children from twelve to seventeen years, and more than 22,000 children participated. The problem is that people are afraid that children in the home can sometimes use drugs and can then become a problem, and they become dependent on one or even two.

On the other hand, she continues to show us tables. In the tables it shows different types of families children may come from: mother plus father, mother plus stepfather, mother only, father only, father plus stepmother. The tabled showed us that mother plus father was the lowest percentage of children abusing drugs and alcohol, 4.5% and the highest rate is a father with a stepmother is 11.8%. After that, DePaulo then talked about whether it was true that a child from a family with both his mother and father around was less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. But not because there were two parents there, because on the chart it is also clear that the children who live with their father and stepmother have the highest likelihood of drug and alcohol abuse, and in that environment, there are also two parents around, but that is not is their biological mother. Moreover, the truth is that kids live with both their mothers and their fathers less likely to use drugs and alcohol, then the children only live with their mothers, but the number is not a big difference.

Then we have another table; this one consists of mother plus father plus another relative, mother plus father, mother plus stepfather, mother only, mother plus another relative, other relevant only, another type of families, only father, father and stepmother. Moreover, in this table, mother plus father and other relatives are less likely at 3.4%, and the highest rank is again stepmother and father of 11.8%. She continued to talk about the range of number between single-parent families and families with both parents, and both of them were not large.

DePaulo’s closing argument is that if children from a family where there are both parents’ percent, why are not the numbers higher for them abusing drugs and alcohol? They say that children who form families where there is only one parent around are more likely to use, but if so then why do so many children who form families with two parents present abuse drugs and alcohol almost just as much? There is no way to agree with that statement at all because it is proven right there. Yes, maybe the numbers statically are a bit higher for children coming from families where there are two parents, but sometimes those households may be just as bad, if not worst to live in, and maybe that is why they choose to abuse drugs and alcohol.

In response to this reading, I believe that DePaulo’s thought is correct. She has evidence to show that yes, it is true that children who come from a nuclear family with their two biological parents are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, and that children who come from families with only a single mother are more likely to use drugs and alcohol. However, realistically, kids are going to do what they want to do. I have seen many people that I have went to high school with and around my area who form good families where both parents are present, and they have ended up doing drugs and getting themselves into trouble, evening spending time in jail. Their parents were around, and they still ended up this way. I think that if you are taught at a very young age about drugs and alcohol, and if you have seen what it has done to some of the people in your life, you will being to realize that abusing substance is something that you do not want for yourself. Granted single mothers may have to work more and may not be home as much, but if you teach your children right from wrong and have consequences for them when they do screw up, they will not follow down this path.

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Summary and Response "The Myth of Doomed Kids". (2021, Jul 05). Retrieved from