retail news in context, analysis with attitude

We’ve had a couple of stories the last few days about the changing nature of the American consumer, with singles and what might be called non-traditional families representing a growing segment to which retailers can cater, if they so choose. I said in my commentary that I found some of the numbers to be surprising, but not distressing, and that these shifts probably represent a considerable opportunity for companies that choose to embrace it.

To which one MNB user responded:

Why not distressing?  Are you trying to be PC?

We are all affected by these growing trends.  And ultimately, we are all paying the price, as a society and through tax dollars.

Social scientists have found that children growing up in single-parent families are disadvantaged in other ways when compared to a two-biological-parent families. Many of these problems are directly related to the poor economic condition of single-parent families, not just to parenting style. These children are at risk for the following:

• lower levels of educational achievement
• twice as likely to drop out of school
• more likely to become teen parents
• more conflict with their parent(s)
• less supervised by adults
• more likely to become truants
• more frequently abuse drugs and alcohol
• more high-risk sexual behavior
• more likely to join a gang
• twice as likely to go to jail
• four times as likely to need help for emotional and behavioral problems
• more likely to participate in violent crime
• more likely to commit suicide
twice as likely to get divorced in adulthood

I wonder.

I think some of what you describe may be true. But I also think some of it could represent a kind of wishful thinking on the part of some folks who find the whole notion of alternative lifestyles to be personally distasteful for whatever reason.

I know gay couples who I think would be terrific parents, if they had the opportunity. I know heterosexual couples who have several children, but who have no business being parents. And while single parenthood is probably not the ideal situation for all sorts of logistical reasons, I’d rather have one loving parent than two narcissistic parents.

This is why I’m not distressed. The simple reality of 21st century America - like it or not - is that the shape of our families and the faces of our parents are changing. Beyond whatever religious or moral issues this might raise for some folks, it remains a marketing opportunity for people and companies who seize upon it.

As for being politically correct....I don’t think so.

Political correctness is relative...and I think that some of what I say is politically incorrect for some segments of the business communities about which I write.
KC's View: