For those who study US parenting, another interesting aspect of the changing family dynamics is the many alternative families that are beginning to crop up. Homosexual couples are beginning to more and more step into the forefront of raising children, oftentimes adopting children to complete their sense of family. Mixed or blended families combine children from various relationships, while sometimes also adding new children to the mix.
To further complicate matters, parenting in the U.S. now has to face the various crises that an “everything goes” mindset is bringing home to roost: there are the inevitabilities of teen sex, in the wake of which are teen pregnancies, and also teen AIDS. As sad as the prospect of having a teenager with a fatal disease is, what makes it worse is the knowledge that many times this illness could have been prevented but was not.
Unmarried parents, drug use, younger and younger parents, and hostilities that eventually are directed by the most innocent and vulnerable in the mix - the children - are currently marring US parenting. Added to this already highly volatile mix is another aspect of life in the U.S. – parenting below the poverty line. While it does not have to logically follow that unwed parenting will be a cause for low income, it almost always does indeed follow. Child care issues often spring up which make it hard to find and hold on to good paying jobs. Similarly, some of the higher end items, such as a piece of real estate, oftentimes require either two incomes, or the ability of one partner to devote her or himself to the acquiring of wealth, while the other party takes over the parenting. As such, US parenting has changed the face of the middle class in that it no longer offers many normally middle class individuals the abilities that middle class couples face.
Perhaps the most drastic change in the face of parenting over recent decades is the self-fulfilling prophecy that promises that things will have to get worse before they get better. With the divorce rate at an all time high, teenage pregnancies increasing, and child abuse statistics hitting alarming numbers, something – somewhere – will have to give before the trend can be reversed. The question that remains simply asks the questions what that something will be. At this point it is hard to tell what – if anything – is indicating a change in the progression of things. Yet considering the destructive path society as a whole has chosen, the survival instinct is bound to kick in sooner rather than later – hopefully.