I wasn't raised by a single parent, and I've never been a single parent. And on nights when my husband is late getting home from work, I often wonder to myself, "How do single parents do it?" According to Ann Coulter, they don't — at least not well.

"Farm Team for Future Criminals"

To be clear, in her book Guilty, Coulter isn't pointing the finger at all single parents. Not the divorced, not the separated, and not the widowed. She writes about women who have children without having been married and choose to raise that child without a father. She says that society, with the cheering on of the Hollywood elite, has made saints out of young single moms. Babies seem to have become the latest accessory to single young celebs and teenage pregnancy pact circles alike.

Coulter says that if you are single and pregnant and the father isn't willing to be a father, then your baby is better off being raised by adoptive parents. She claims, "Single motherhood is like a farm team for future criminals and social outcasts." Cue the angry mob. But does Coulter have a point?

All About the Numbers

At first glance, this opinion is judgmental, rude, hurtful, and totally missing the point. After all, these parents are doing their best and many are working their butts off to take care of their children. Many single parents put their children before everything else and their children grow up to be smart, successful, kind, contributing members of society. But some single parents don't and the statistics seem to prove that. According to Coulter, it's all about the numbers. In Guilty she writes,

"By 1996, 70 percent of inmates in state juvenile detention centers serving long-term sentences were raised by single mothers. Seventy percent of teenage births, dropouts, suicides, runaways, juvenile delinquents, and child murderers involve children raised by single mothers."

In addition, she references The Progressive Policy Institute study, which found that after controlling for single motherhood, the difference in black and white crime rates vanished. And there's more. The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators says that children raised by a single parent make up 71% of all adolescent substance abuse, 90% of all homeless children, and an astounding 80% of all prison inmates.

What's the Answer?

Should all young, single mothers really be urged to give their children up? It's easy for the childless Coulter to say, but as a mom, I don't think so. If a young, single mother wants to raise her own child than we have no right to stop her. We do, however, have a chance to help her. If these study results are accurate, is there a way to turn these statistics around?

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