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Are children with two parents in the home better off? Would children with one parent in the home be better off if their other parent had stayed in the home? That’s the distinction conservatives can’t seem to make.
But look again at that last line: The problem here appears to be that Hemingway is reading cultural ideas about the father as the protector—and as someone boyfriends should be afraid of—into a message that is trying to counter those cultural ideas.
We can’t compare the wellbeing of children in families where the fathers are present to that in families where the fathers are absent because there are more differences there than the absence of the father, because the father is generally absent for reasons, and those reasons need to be factored into any comparison.
Another of my daughter’s friends who has a single mother lives with her mother and her aunt, and sees her father regularly on weekends.