Bill O’Reilly recently attacked Jennifer Aniston because of her new movie The Switch, about a single woman deciding to have a baby using a sperm donor and not with a man who would be a father to her child. While promoting the movie, Jennifer Aniston commented on the movie’s premise, saying:
“Women are realizing more and more that you don’t have to settle, they don’t have to fiddle with a man to have that child. They are realizing if it’s that time in their life and they want this part they can do it with or without that.”
Many have been commenting on what the movie is really saying about society, but this commentary goes back as far as when other movies of the same type came out; movies like like Baby Mama and Miss Conception. But one person in particular had quite the negative reaction to Aniston’s comments about women having children without fathers being in the picture; and that person is none other than Bill O’Reilly.
O’Reilly is under the impression that Jennifer Aniston is some gigantic role model amongst children and commented saying, “She’s throwing a message out to 12-year-olds and 13-year-olds that, ‘Hey you don’t need a guy. You don’t need a dad.’ That is destructive to our society.”
When I heard about this comment, the first thing I thought of was “Why would 12 and 13-year olds need a guy in the first place? At that age, you kind of want them to stay far, far away from guys”, but perhaps he just meant that Jennifer Aniston is out there saying that kids don’t need any kind of male figures in their lives whatsoever. Even so, that’s a pretty big slip up on O’Reilly’s part. Secondly, what 12 and 13-year-olds know who Jennifer Aniston is or what she is doing or what movies she is in? I really don’t think they care much about Jennifer Aniston and I was assured in my thought about this when Beth Feldman of Role Mommy came out and said the same thing.
But let’s get down to the real point of this topic–Do children of single mothers suffer more than if they were brought up in a household with a father present?
Susan Newman, a social psychologist and author of the book Parenting an Only Child commented on O’Reilly statement saying,
“The traditional family that we have always known as mom, dad and two kids is no longer the traditional family. … Children of single parents do just as well as kids who have two parents. There’s nothing in the research that says having a baby by yourself is a terrible thing.”
Carl Pickhardt, a parenting expert and psychologist also commented on where Bill O’Reilly’s comments were coming from and what to take away from them, saying that while fathers are important in a child’s life, what it is even more important and downright crucial is “the quality of parental commitment to raising that child after it is born. … It is a prejudice that single parents — mostly moms — are deficient parents. In fact, they are among the strongest and most resourceful parents I see.”