Table of Contents
Clashing Views in Family and Personal Relationships
Unit 1 Parental Decision Making: Parents Know Best . . . Or Do They?
- Issue 1. Is It Beneficial if Adoptive Parents Adopt Only Within Their Own Racial/Ethnic Group?
YES: Tony Dokoupil, from Raising Katie: What Adopting a White Girl Taught a Black Family About Race in the Obama Era, The Daily Beast (April 22, 2009)
NO: Ezra E. H. Griffith and Rachel L. Bergeron, from Cultural Stereotypes Die Hard: The Case of Transracial Adoption, Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry Law (vol. 34, pp. 30314, 2006)
Tony Dokoupil is a staff writer at Newsweek and The Daily Beast. Dokoupil writes about different issues affecting national life, often related to diversity. In this chapter, he writes about the increasing number of transracial adoptions in the United States in recent years but notes that we are seeing limited examples of African American families adopting white babies. When an African American family adopts a white baby, a unique set of challenges is created, he argues, due to deep-seated views about race in American society today. Dokoupil explores questions related to what this reveals about contemporary views on race in American society. Ezra Griffith and Rachel Bergeron, both faculty members of the Yale University School of Medicines psychiatry department, argue that requiring racial and ethnic matching, although an appropriate effort, would leave too many children of color languishing in the foster and adoption systems. By maintaining that only in-race adoption is the best and ideal situation, they ask rhetorically, does our society actually do more to reinforce cultural stereotypes or to truly serve children needing homes?
- Issue 2. Does Divorce Have a Negative Impact on Children?
YES: Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser, from Does Divorce Have a Negative Impact on Children? Yes, revised from Taking Sides: Family and Personal Relationships (2009)
NO: Jane Johnson Struck and Angela Thomas, from Solo Act: Single Mom Angela Thomas Reflects on Raising Kids Alone, Todays Christian Woman (May/June 2008)
Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser is a writer and lives in Northampton. She earned her BA at Hampshire College and her MFA from Warren Wilson College. Contributor to many magazines, newspapers, and online publications, she has a blog called Standing in the Shadows, which can be found at http://www.valleyadvocate.com. Jane Johnson Struck and Angela Thomas are the authors of My Single-Mom Life, published by Thomas Nealson. Thomas, a mother of four, possesses a Masters degree from the Dallas Theological Seminary. Thomas writes that being a single mom was not Gods design for parenting. She believes in children being raised by a man and a woman in love. Despite her beliefs and the challenges she has faced through divorce, her belief is that God and Jesus protect her and her children when they are in need. She argues that faith in God is what people need to protect them from the challenges of being a single mother and a child of a divorced family.
- Issue 3. Should Parents Home-school Their Children?
YES: Chris Jeub, from Home School, Focus on the Family (2006)
NO: Carole Moore, from Why Home-schooling Isnt Right for Us, Scholastic.com (2006)
Chris Jeub, writer and president of Training Minds Ministries, is a former public school teacher with 11 children, all of whom he and his wife have home-schooled. Naming several famous home-schooled individuals, such as Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin, and Florence Nightingale, he argues that the home is the best environment in which to teach children, for social, academic, family strengthening, and religious reasons. Home-schooling, he maintains, frees parents to impart their own values to their children without concern for how these beliefs might clash with what is presented in the public school system. Carole Moore, a freelance writer, discusses how she weighed the options of home-schooling versus public schooling and argues that even though home-schooling might offer some benefits to children, in the end, home-schooling provides children a distorted view of the world at large. Children will, she writes, make good decisions and bad decisions as a part of growing up, and whether they are home-schooled or public schooled is not the determining factor in whether they grow up healthy and well adjusted.
- Issue 4. Do Mothers Who Work Outside the Home Have a Negative Impact on Their Children?
YES: Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Wen-Jui Han, and Jane Waldfogel, from Maternal Employment and Child Cognitive Outcomes in the First Three Years of Life: The NICHD Study of Early Child Care, Child Development (July/August 2002)
NO: Thomas M. Vander Ven et al., from Home Alone: The Impact of Maternal Employment on Delinquency, Social Problems (May 2001)
Child developmentalists Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Wen-Jui Han, and Jane Waldfogel assert that their findings show many types of negative effects from maternal employment on the later cognitive and educational outcomes of children. Professor of sociology and anthropology Thomas M. Vander Ven and his colleagues argue that their studies show that a working mother will have relatively little or no negative influence on the social, emotional, and behavioral functioning of her children.
Unit 2 Parental Control and Childrens Rights
- Issue 5. Should Illegal Immigrant Families Be Able to Send Their Children to Public Schools?
YES: William Brennan, from Majority Opinion, Plyler v. Doe (1982)
NO: Warren Burger, from Dissenting Opinion, Plyler v. Doe (1982)
William Brennan is regarded as one of the greatest intellectual leaders of the twentieth-century Supreme Court. He was regarded for writing extraordinarily forward-thinking opinions, especially regarding civil rights and civil liberties. This case proves no exception, as he captures an issue that seems even more pertinent today than when the Supreme Court addressed it. Brennan believes that children who are in the country and undocumented have a constitutional right to a public education. Warren Burger was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court during a time in which it was slowly moving in a more conservative direction. He was an instrumental voice in many cases before the Supreme Court that had a more conservative outcome. Burger believes that undocumented immigrant children have no constitutional right to an education.
- Issue 6. Should Parents Be Able to Select the Biological Sex of Their Children?
YES: John A. Robertson, from Preconception Gender Selection, The American Journal of Bioethics (vol. 1, no. 1, Winter 2001)
NO: Norman Daniels et al., from It Isnt Just the Sex . . . , The American Journal of Bioethics (vol. 1, no. 1, Winter 2001)
Professor John A. Robertson of the University of Texas at Austins School of Law argues that preconception Gender selection of infants in utero for medical purposes should be allowed, and that insufficient data exist to demonstrate that any clear harm exists in allowing parents to do so. Norman Daniels and contributors argue that one aspect of allowing such a procedure as preconception gender selection, introduces socioeconomic status inequality since the procedure would likely not be covered by health insurance.
- Issue 7. Should Grandparents Have Visitation Rights for Their Grandchildren?
YES: Jennifer Russell, from Grandparents Play an Essential Role in the Lives of Their Grandchildren, written for Taking Sides: Family and Personal Relationships (2011)
NO: Sandra Day OConnor, from Plurality Opinion, Troxel v. Granville (2000)
Jennifer Russell is an attorney at SeniorLAW Center. She provides legal services to grandparents and other seniors raising relative children. Russell contends that grandparent custody and visitation statutes should be upheld, and argues that grandparents often play an essential role in their grandchildrens lives, especially during times of family turmoil. Sandra Day OConnor was the first woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court. For much of her time on the court, she was the justice most likely to wind up in the majority opinion. OConnor argues that the rights of parents trumps grandparents. As a result, grandparents would not have the right to see their grandchildren.
- Issue 8. Should Courts Be Able to Discriminate Against Immigrant Fathers?
YES: Neal Kumar Katyal et al., from On Writ of Certiorari: Brief for the United States, Ruben Flores-Villar v. United States of America, 2010.
NO: Steven F. Hubachek et al., from On Writ of Certiorari: Brief for Petitioner, Ruben Flores-Villar v. United States of America, 2010.
Neal Kumar Katyal served as Acting Solicitor General in the Obama administration at the time of this case. Katyal argues that Congress created legislation with a different standard of citizenship for biological fathers versus biological mothers and that this different standard served a rational interest and should be upheld. Steven Hubachek is the Counsel of Record for the Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc. Hubachek argues that this law discriminates against men because it makes it more difficult for immigrant fathers to pass on their citizenship to their children than for immigrant mothers.
- Issue 9. Do Parents Have the Right to Deny Their Children Lifesaving Medical Care Due to Their Religious Convictions?
YES: Calvin P. Johnson Law Firm, from Closing Statement for Parents: In Re the Matter of the Welfare of The Child of Colleen and Anthony Hauser, Minnesota, District Court, Fifth Judicial District (2009)
NO: John R. Rodenberg, from Opinion of the Court: In the Matter of the Welfare of the Child of Colleen and Anthony Hauser, Minnesota, District Court, Fifth Judicial District (2009)
Calvin P. Johnson, Esq., is the attorney for the parents, Colleen and Anthony Hauser. Johnson argues that the government forcing medical care for the Hauser child violates his religious liberty and is abusive to this child. Judge John R. Rodenberg is the District Court judge in this case. Rodenberg argues that all parties are acting out of convictions for the best interest of the child. He also argues that the state has a compelling interest to act against Hausers religious views for medical care since the child is only thirteen years old.
Unit 3 Nontraditional Families and Relationships
- Issue 10. Should Same-Sex Couples Be Able to Legally Marry?
YES: Human Rights Campaign, from Answers to Questions About Marriage Equality, HRCs FamilyNet Project (2004)
NO: Peter Sprigg, from Questions and Answers: Whats Wrong with Letting Same-Sex Couples Marry? Family Research Council (2004)
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Americas largest lesbian and gay organization, outlines the disparities American lesbian and gay couples experience when they are not allowed to marry legally, as well as the logistical considerations involved in granting same-sex couples the right to marry. Peter Sprigg, director of the Center for Marriage and Family Studies at the Family Research Council, outlines why nonheterosexual relationships do not carry with them the same validity as heterosexual relationships, and therefore gays and lesbians should not be allowed to marry legally.
- Issue 11. Should Private Sexual Acts Between Gay Couples Be Illegal?
YES: Anthony Kennedy, from Majority Opinion, Lawrence v. Texas, U.S. Supreme Court (2003)
NO: Antonin Scalia, from Dissenting Opinion, Lawrence v. Texas, U.S. Supreme Court (2003)
Anthony Kennedy, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, was appointed to the Court by President Reagan in 1988. In this case, Kennedy is writing for a six-member majority that overturns a previous case, Bowers v. Hardwick. Bowers is overturned by Kennedys opinion, therefore striking down state antisodomy laws. Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, was appointed to the Court by President Reagan in 1986. Scalia writes that there are no constitutional protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation and that state sodomy laws should be upheld.
- Issue 12. Are Traditional Families Better for Children?
YES: Allan C. Carlson and Paul T. Mero, excerpts from The Natural Family: A Manifesto (20052006).
NO: Mark Good, Nontraditional Families and Childhood Progress through School, written for Taking Sides: Family and Personal Relationships (2012)
Allan Carlson is president of the Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society and Distinguished Fellow in Family Policy Studies at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. Paul Mero is president of the Sutherland Institute and a trustee of the ALS Foundation. Carlson and Mero argue that America needs to return to a traditional family headed by a man and woman. Mark Good is a professor of counselor education at West Chester University and the president of Opn-Wyd, a diversity and communication company. Good argues that diversity in traditional and nontraditional families is healthy. In fact, he argues that it can be damaging to hold up the traditional family as the ideal familial structure.
- Issue 13. Should Lesbian and Gay Individuals Be Able to Adopt Children?
YES: Joan Biskupic, from Same-Sex Couples Redefining Family Law in USA, (February 17, 2003) USA Today
NO: Timothy J. Dailey, from State of the States: Update on Homosexual Adoption in the U.S., Family Research Council (no. 243, 2004).
Joan Biskupic, legal affairs correspondent for USA Today, discusses the personal challenges for same-gender couples attempting to adopt in states that are not friendly to them and provides an update of legal issues and options available to lesbian and gay couples; these indicate a changing tide of acceptance toward couples of the same gender, as well as lesbian and gay individuals, adopting children. Timothy J. Dailey, senior research fellow at the Center for Marriage and Family Studies, provides an overview of state laws pertaining to adoption by lesbian or gay parents. He points to studies showing that children do much better in family settings that include both a mother and a father, and that the sexual behaviors same-sex parents engage in make them, by definition, inappropriate role models for children.
- Issue 14. Are Teenagers Too Young to Become Parents?
YES: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, from One in Three: The Case for Wanted and Welcomed Pregnancy (May 2007)
NO: Simon Duncan, Claire Alexander, and Rosalind Edwards, from Whats the Problem with Teenage Parents? Teenage Parenthood: Whats the Problem? (2010)
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy is dedicated to reducing teenage pregnancy. Their research argues that teens face significant consequences if they have unplanned pregnancy. Simon Duncan, Claire Alexander, and Rosaline Edwards have written a chapter in a book about teen pregnancy and parenting. This chapter, which takes a global perspective by looking at another Western society, England, argues that teenage pregnancy and parenting is not a problem.
Unit 4 Twenty-First-Century Family and Relationship Issues
- Issue 15. Is Cybersex Cheating?
YES: Susan A. Milstein, from Virtual Liaisons: Cybersex Is Cheating, written for Taking Sides: Family and Personal Relationships (2009)
NO: Crystal Bedley, from Virtual Reality: Cybersex Is Not Cheating, written for Taking Sides: Family and Personal Relationships (2009)
Susan Milstein is a certified health education specialist and a certified sexuality educator. She is an associate professor in the Department of Health Enhancement at Montgomery College in Maryland, as well as the lead consultant for Milstein Health Consulting. Milstein contends that while it is diffcult to create a universal definition of cheating, the majority of people feel that cybersex outside of a primary relationship is cheating. Crystal Bedley argues that the anonymous nature of cybersex means that it is not cheating.
- Issue 16. Is Internet Pornography Harmful to Teenagers?
YES: Wayne Grinwis, from Is Pornography Harmful to Teenagers? Yes! revised from Taking Sides: Family and Personal Relationships (2009)
NO: Justin A. Sitron, from Why Porn Is Not Harmful to Teens, revised from Taking Sides: Family and Personal Relationships (2009)
Wayne Grinwis has been a sexual health educator for Planned Parenthood for 15 years. He is also adjunct professor in the Department of Health at West Chester University. Grinwis credits Andrea Daniels for help with this article. Grinwis argues that pornography is all right for adults, but for teenagers, it can create unrealistic expectations about sex, provide a negative and inaccurate sexuality education, and increase sexual violence against women. Justin Sitron is an assistant professor of education at Widener University. Sitron argues that pornography has no negative impact on teenagers and, in fact, has potential benefits. Sitron contends that Internet pornography can be helpful in providing teens an opportunity to see real bodies, a chance to learn about sex from seeing rather than doing, and an open door for communication with parents.
- Issue 17. Are Statutory Rape Laws Effective at Protecting Minors?
YES: Sherry F. Colb, from The Pros and Cons of Statutory Rape Laws, CNN.com (February 11, 2004)
NO: Marc Tunzi, from Curbside Consultation: Isnt This Statutory Rape? American Family Physician (May 2002)
Sherry F. Colb, columnist and law professor, uses a case study involving a statutory rape case to raise concerns about whether rape and assault cases would be prosecuted sufficiently without statutory rape laws. Although not perfect, statutory rape laws can be assets in such rape cases as when the older partner denies the rape occurred or denies responsibility for a resulting pregnancy or infection. Marc Tunzi, a family physician, believes that statutory rape laws are ineffective because people can get around them too easily. These laws, he argues, require that an otherwise healthy relationship between two people of different ages be criminalized solely because there is some kind of sexual activity involved. As a result, medical and other licensed professionals do not want to break up these relationships that, in their professional opinion, are not problematic based on just the age difference between the two partners.
- Issue 18. Do Reality Television Shows Have a Negative Influence on Teenage Pregnancy and Parenting?
YES: Jessica Isner, Annie Koval, and Lisa Paul, from True-Life Teen Moms, Experts Say MTVs Reality Off the Mark, NWI Parent (March 9, 2011)
NO: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, from Evaluating the Impact of MTVs 16 and Pregnant on Teen Viewers Attitudes About Teen Pregnancy, Science Says (October 2010)
Jessiva Isner, Annie Koval, and Lisa Paul wrote this article for NWI Parent, which advertises that their publication provides Real Solutions for Real Families. The authors are concerned that MTVs episodes related to teenage parenthood fail to capture accurately the true challenges of teenage parenthood. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy is dedicated to reducing teenage pregnancy. Their research reveals that teenagers who watch 16 and Pregnant are more likely to express a negative view about the ways in which parenthood affects a teens life.
- Issue 19. Should There Be Harsh Penalties for Teens Sexting?
YES: Lisa E. Soronen, Nicole Vitale, and Karen A. Haase, from Sexting at School: Lessons Learned the Hard Way, National School Boards Association, Inquiry & Analysis (February 2010)
NO: Julie Hilden, from How Should Teens SextingThe Sending of Revealing PhotosBe Regulated? Findlaw.com (April 28, 2009)
Lisa E. Soronen, Nicole Vitale, and Karen A. Haase are writing on legal issues for the National School Boards Association. This article encourages administrators to hand over cell phone sexting cases to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. Julie Hilden is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School. A former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, she has more recently appeared on Good Morning America, Court TV, CNN, and NPR. Hilden argues that harsh penalties are extreme and unjust.
- Issue 20. Are Open Relationships Healthy?
YES: Donald Dyson, from Seeing Relationships Through a Wider Lens: Open Relationships as a Healthy Option, written for Taking Sides: Family and Personal Relationships (2009)
NO: Stanley Kurtz, from Here Come the Brides: Plural Marriage Is Waiting in the Wings, The Weekly Standard (December 26, 2005)
Donald Dyson is assistant professor of human sexuality education at Widener University and the national co-chair of the conference for the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. Dyson argues that there are essential qualities of a healthy relationship and that an open relationship can be successful. Stanley Kurtz, a writer and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, argues that allowing same-sex marriage will create a slippery slope, eventually leading to plural marriages. Kurtz contends that such marriages prove destructive to the institution of marriage itself.