Fathers looking to step up feel invisible

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, due process rights, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Feminism, Marriage, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on July 1, 2009 at 11:25 pm

Fathers looking to step up feel invisible

By MELISSA RAYWORTH | For The Associated Press • Published June 30, 2009

The reaction to Ofenloch’s brother-in-law Chuck, who serves as Morgan’s nanny, is often similar. “You can see people are wondering,” Ofenloch said, “‘Who the heck is this guy? Why is a guy taking her to school?'”

Despite the growing presence of daddy bloggers and “SAHDs” (stay-at-home-dads), society has been slow in catching up with the modern realities of fatherhood, said Erin Boyd-Soisson, an associate professor of family science at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa.

“Up until just 10 or 15 years ago,” she says, “when researchers did research into children, they used the term ‘non-maternal care’ for everyone but the mother. Fathers were lumped in with baby sitters.”

That’s since changed within academia. But not so much in the wider world.

“There is so much conditioning, in terms of thinking that women instinctively know more and have more experience with children,” said Claudia Strauss, a family communications expert and lecturer at Albright College in Reading, Pa. “You can’t just turn off the switch of what’s been there, in terms of role models and what’s been inculcated culturally and societally” for so many generations.

For some dads, the occasional stare or slight is just background noise. “I spend so much time by myself out with the kids, having people deal with me as the parent that I don’t notice it, really, when it does happen,” said Eric Gorman, a father of two who lives in Pittsburgh.

But Strauss said some men become less involved with their children’s lives after enough negative reinforcement. “Fathers can be made to feel less secure, especially young men when they first become fathers,” she said, “because it reinforces that idea that they don’t know what they’re doing.”

“Awareness is really important for the medical professional, for the nursery school provider, all these people who provide direct services to parents,” Strauss said. “If you don’t want fathers to be tangential, you can’t treat them as though they are.”

Allen agrees: “I’m not pushing for special dispensation for dads. But it really is just the little things that can accumulate in a dad’s psyche and they have enough momentum to push moms back into that sole primary-caregiver role.”

via Fathers looking to step up feel invisible – Nation & World – The Olympian – Olympia, Washington.

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