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Mental Disorder/Illness Opposition to Parental Alienation Syndrome – Part 1

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children's behaviour, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, due process rights, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Fit Parent, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Disorders, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parentectomy on December 10, 2009 at 3:35 pm

When I first discovered the term of Parental Alienation Syndrome, I thought that everyone was in agreement that it was valid since proof of alienating tactics can be seen in parents that train children to hate, and vilify the other parent.

Isn’t it obvious that anyone who does this is mentally ill? To judges, attorneys and parents everyone seems to agree, a parent that does this to a child is an abuser.  Since the vast majority of women have sole custody, most of the abusers are women.  But Parental Alienationn is a gender-neutral sickness, because I have friends that are women that are alienated from the children.  By the dads.

Further reading showed that Parental Alienation Syndrome is generated and perpetuated by an axis of disorders listed in the current DSM book. These include paranoia, histrionic, and borderline disorders. There are a few more that can be added to this disorder, but I have read that these are the core disorders that make up this syndrome.

The American Psychological Association uses a test, shortnamed the MMPI-II test that can actually indicate any of the above mentioned disorder exist.  Collectively and through actions by the abusive parent, this makes up Parental Alienation Syndrome.

By itself, the test does not indicate mental illness.

But answers to the test point to actions and activities that mentally ill persons see as OK.  Denial, lying, slander, libel, self-medicating, etc. are OK with these folk since to them, the end justifies the means.  Sociopathic behavior is fine and dandy, with Parental alienators.

For dozens of children’s and parent’s rights activists, a group of “Anon…..s.” or members of  the Pig Pen as we call them spend their days attacking fathers and children through lies and slander.  They also attack women from time to time, so women are “abusers,” too.

They have also been creating fake IDs on Facebook, and joining father’s groups to stalk them there. Just recently, a person known as “Randi James” (not real name, obviously) was de-friend-ed by dozens of men (and a few women) when she spewed her bittternes against fathers in a comment thread on Facebook.

If you read some of the hatred that comes from their hate websites you can see why they lost their kids and

  1. Denial – Everyone else to blame for their problems. They are “victims” or “battered women”.
  2. Paranoia – Most alienates are paranoid and hide while they lie. they imagine they are being stalked.
  3. Lying – See 1, also they will say anything to win in family court, especially false allegations of abuse, etc. Besides lying in court, they when they blog, or write or when they talk to you.
  4. Hate – See, 1 2.3. above.

There are some websites that glorify in blaming others for “their problems”. Primarily being no one believes them. Either they were “battered” women, or married to “abusers” or the children are now in the hands of “abusers”.

You will also find vicious attacks on Dr. Richard Gardner (he is dead, it is OK to attack a dead person.)  All the stuff about Dr. Garnder is made up.   Attacks on fathers, activists for children, etc. are their primary targets. They go after live dads, too, but never with their own names, since they fear libel and slander laws.

Despite the fact that women are playing on their “home field” in Family Court, these women of the “pig pen” lost a fight that bookies had them winning.

Why is this? See the list above. Nuff said.  Part 2 to come.

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The Evolution of Divorce

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Feminism, Foster Care, Homosexual Agenda, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Marriage, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Single Moms, Single Parenting on September 11, 2009 at 6:15 pm

The Evolution of Divorce

W. BRADFORD WILCOX

In 1969, Governor Ronald Reagan of California made what he later admitted was one of the biggest mistakes of his political life. Seeking to eliminate the strife and deception often associated with the legal regime of fault-based divorce, Reagan signed the nation’s first no-fault divorce bill. The new law eliminated the need for couples to fabricate spousal wrongdoing in pursuit of a divorce; indeed, one likely reason for Reagan’s decision to sign the bill was that his first wife, Jane Wyman, had unfairly accused him of “mental cruelty” to obtain a divorce in 1948. But no-fault divorce also gutted marriage of its legal power to bind husband and wife, allowing one spouse to dissolve a marriage for any reason — or for no reason at all.

In the decade and a half that followed, virtually every state in the Union followed California’s lead and enacted a no-fault divorce law of its own. This legal transformation was only one of the more visible signs of the divorce revolution then sweeping the United States: From 1960 to 1980, the divorce rate more than doubled — from 9.2 divorces per 1,000 married women to 22.6 divorces per 1,000 married women. This meant that while less than 20% of couples who married in 1950 ended up divorced, about 50% of couples who married in 1970 did. And approximately half of the children born to married parents in the 1970s saw their parents part, compared to only about 11% of those born in the 1950s.

In the years since 1980, however, these trends have not continued on straight upward paths, and the story of divorce has grown increasingly complicated. In the case of divorce, as in so many others, the worst consequences of the social revolution of the 1960s and ’70s are now felt disproportionately by the poor and less educated, while the wealthy elites who set off these transformations in the first place have managed to reclaim somewhat healthier and more stable habits of married life. This imbalance leaves our cultural and political elites less well attuned to the magnitude of social dysfunction in much of American society, and leaves the most vulnerable Americans — especially children living in poor and working-class communities — even worse off than they would otherwise be.

THE RISE OF DIVORCE

The divorce revolution of the 1960s and ’70s was over-determined. The nearly universal introduction of no-fault divorce helped to open the floodgates, especially because these laws facilitated unilateral divorce and lent moral legitimacy to the dissolution of marriages. The sexual revolution, too, fueled the marital tumult of the times: Spouses found it easier in the Swinging Seventies to find extramarital partners, and came to have higher, and often unrealistic, expectations of their marital relationships. Increases in women’s employment as well as feminist consciousness-raising also did their part to drive up the divorce rate, as wives felt freer in the late ’60s and ’70s to leave marriages that were abusive or that they found unsatisfying.

The anti-institutional tenor of the age also meant that churches lost much of their moral authority to reinforce the marital vow. It didn’t help that many mainline Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish leaders were caught up in the zeitgeist, and lent explicit or implicit support to the divorce revolution sweeping across American society. This accomodationist mentality was evident in a 1976 pronouncement issued by the United Methodist Church, the largest mainline Protestant denomination in America. The statement read in part:

In marriages where the partners are, even after thoughtful reconsideration and counsel, estranged beyond reconciliation, we recognize divorce and the right of divorced persons to remarry, and express our concern for the needs of the children of such unions. To this end we encourage an active, accepting, and enabling commitment of the Church and our society to minister to the needs of divorced persons.

Most important, the psychological revolution of the late ’60s and ’70s, which was itself fueled by a post-war prosperity that allowed people to give greater attention to non-material concerns, played a key role in reconfiguring men and women’s views of marriage and family life. Prior to the late 1960s, Americans were more likely to look at marriage and family through the prisms of duty, obligation, and sacrifice. A successful, happy home was one in which intimacy was an important good, but by no means the only one in view. A decent job, a well-maintained home, mutual spousal aid, child-rearing, and shared religious faith were seen almost universally as the goods that marriage and family life were intended to advance.

But the psychological revolution’s focus on individual fulfillment and personal growth changed all that. Increasingly, marriage was seen as a vehicle for a self-oriented ethic of romance, intimacy, and fulfillment. In this new psychological approach to married life, one’s primary obligation was not to one’s family but to one’s self; hence, marital success was defined not by successfully meeting obligations to one’s spouse and children but by a strong sense of subjective happiness in marriage — usually to be found in and through an intense, emotional relationship with one’s spouse. The 1970s marked the period when, for many Americans, a more institutional model of marriage gave way to the “soul-mate model” of marriage.

Of course, the soul-mate model was much more likely to lead couples to divorce court than was the earlier institutional model of marriage. Now, those who felt they were in unfulfilling marriages also felt obligated to divorce in order to honor the newly widespread ethic of expressive individualism. As social historian Barbara Dafoe Whitehead has observed of this period, “divorce was not only an individual right but also a psychological resource. The dissolution of marriage offered the chance to make oneself over from the inside out, to refurbish and express the inner self, and to acquire certain valuable psychological assets and competencies, such as initiative, assertiveness, and a stronger and better self-image.”

But what about the children? In the older, institutional model of marriage, parents were supposed to stick together for their sake. The view was that divorce could leave an indelible emotional scar on children, and would also harm their social and economic future. Yet under the new soul-mate model of marriage, divorce could be an opportunity for growth not only for adults but also for their offspring. The view was that divorce could protect the emotional welfare of children by allowing their parents to leave marriages in which they felt unhappy. In 1962, as Whitehead points out in her book The Divorce Culture, about half of American women agreed with the idea that “when there are children in the family parents should stay together even if they don’t get along.” By 1977, only 20% of American women held this view.

At the height of the divorce revolution in the 1970s, many scholars, therapists, and journalists served as enablers of this kind of thinking. These elites argued that children were resilient in the face of divorce; that children could easily find male role models to replace absent fathers; and that children would be happier if their parents were able to leave unhappy marriages. In 1979, one prominent scholar wrote in the Journal of Divorce that divorce even held “growth potential” for mothers, as they could enjoy “increased personal autonomy, a new sense of competence and control, [and the] development of better relationships with [their] children.” And in 1974’s The Courage to Divorce, social workers Susan Gettleman and Janet Markowitz argued that boys need not be harmed by the absence of their fathers: “When fathers are not available, friends, relatives, teachers and counselors can provide ample opportunity for youngsters to model themselves after a like-sexed adult.”

Thus, by the time the 1970s came to a close, many Americans — rich and poor alike — had jettisoned the institutional model of married life that prioritized the welfare of children, and which sought to discourage divorce in all but the most dire of circumstances. Instead, they embraced the soul-mate model of married life, which prioritized the emotional welfare of adults and gave moral permission to divorce for virtually any reason.

THE MORNING AFTER

Thirty years later, the myth of the good divorce has not stood up well in the face of sustained social scientific inquiry — especially when one considers the welfare of children exposed to their parents’ divorces.

Since 1974, about 1 million children per year have seen their parents divorce — and children who are exposed to divorce are two to three times more likely than their peers in intact marriages to suffer from serious social or psychological pathologies. In their book Growing Up with a Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps, sociologists Sara McLanahan and Gary Sandefur found that 31% of adolescents with divorced parents dropped out of high school, compared to 13% of children from intact families. They also concluded that 33% of adolescent girls whose parents divorced became teen mothers, compared to 11% of girls from continuously married families. And McLanahan and her colleagues have found that 11% of boys who come from divorced families end up spending time in prison before the age of 32, compared to 5% of boys who come from intact homes.

Research also indicates that remarriage is no salve for children wounded by divorce. Indeed, as sociologist Andrew Cherlin notes in his important new book, The Marriage-Go-Round, “children whose parents have remarried do not have higher levels of well-being than children in lone-parent families.” The reason? Often, the establishment of a step-family results in yet another move for a child, requiring adjustment to a new caretaker and new step-siblings — all of which can be difficult for children, who tend to thrive on stability.

The divorce revolution’s collective consequences for children are striking. Taking into account both divorce and non-marital childbearing, sociologist Paul Amato estimates that if the United States enjoyed the same level of family stability today as it did in 1960, the nation would have 750,000 fewer children repeating grades, 1.2 million fewer school suspensions, approximately 500,000 fewer acts of teenage delinquency, about 600,000 fewer kids receiving therapy, and approximately 70,000 fewer suicides every year. As Amato concludes, turning back the family-­stability clock just a few decades could significantly improve the lives of many children.

Skeptics confronted with this kind of research often argue that it is unfair to compare children of divorce to children from intact, married households. They contend that it is the conflict that precedes the divorce, rather than the divorce itself, that is likely to be particularly traumatic for children. Amato’s work suggests that the skeptics have a point: In cases where children are exposed to high levels of conflict — like domestic violence or screaming matches between parents — they do seem to do better if their parents part.

But more than two-thirds of all parental divorces do not involve such highly conflicted marriages. And “unfortunately, these are the very divorces that are most likely to be stressful for children,” as Amato and Alan Booth, his colleague at Penn State University, point out. When children see their parents divorce because they have simply drifted apart — or because one or both parents have become unhappy or left to pursue another ­partner — the kids’ faith in love, commitment, and marriage is often shattered. In the wake of their parents’ divorce, children are also likely to experience a family move, marked declines in their family income, a stressed-out single mother, and substantial periods of paternal absence — all factors that put them at risk. In other words, the clear majority of divorces involving children in America are not in the best interests of the children.

Not surprisingly, the effects of divorce on adults are more ambiguous. From an emotional and social perspective, about 20% of divorced adults find their lives enhanced and another 50% seem to suffer no long-term ill effects, according to research by psychologist Mavis Hetherington. Adults who initiated a divorce are especially likely to report that they are flourishing afterward, or are at least doing just fine.

Spouses who were unwilling parties to a unilateral divorce, however, tend to do less well. And the ill effects of divorce for adults tend to fall disproportionately on the shoulders of fathers. Since approximately two-thirds of divorces are legally initiated by women, men are more likely than women to be divorced against their will. In many cases, these men have not engaged in egregious marital misconduct such as abuse, adultery, or substance abuse. They feel mistreated by their ex-wives and by state courts that no longer take into account marital “fault” when making determinations about child custody, child support, and the division of marital property. Yet in the wake of a divorce, these men will nevertheless often lose their homes, a substantial share of their monthly incomes, and regular contact with their children. For these men, and for women caught in similar circumstances, the sting of an unjust divorce can lead to downward emotional spirals, difficulties at work, and serious deteriorations in the quality of their relationships with their children.

Looking beyond the direct effects of divorce on adults and children, it is also important to note the ways in which widespread divorce has eroded the institution of marriage — particularly, its assault on the quality, prevalence, and stability of marriage in American life.

In the 1970s, proponents of easy divorce argued that the ready availability of divorce would boost the quality of married life, as abused, unfulfilled, or otherwise unhappy spouses were allowed to leave their marriages. Had they been correct, we would expect to see that Americans’ reports of marital quality had improved during and after the 1970s. Instead, marital quality fell during the ’70s and early ’80s. In the early 1970s, 70% of married men and 67% of married women reported being very happy in their marriages; by the early ’80s, these figures had fallen to 63% for men and 62% for women. So marital quality dropped even as divorce rates were reaching record highs.

What happened? It appears that average marriages suffered during this time, as widespread divorce undermined ordinary couples’ faith in marital permanency and their ability to invest financially and emotionally in their marriages — ultimately casting clouds of doubt over their relationships. For instance, one study by economist Betsey Stevenson found that investments in marital partnerships declined in the wake of no-fault divorce laws. Specifically, she found that newlywed couples in states that passed no-fault divorce were about 10% less likely to support a spouse through college or graduate school and were 6% less likely to have a child together. Ironically, then, the widespread availability of easy divorce not only enabled “bad” marriages to be weeded out, but also made it more difficult for “good” marriages to take root and flourish.

Second, marriage rates have fallen and cohabitation rates have surged in the wake of the divorce revolution, as men and women’s faith in marriage has been shaken. From 1960 to 2007, the percentage of American women who were married fell from 66% to 51%, and the percentage of men who were married fell from 69% to 55%. Yet at the same time, the number of cohabiting couples increased fourteen-fold — from 439,000 to more than 6.4 million. Because of these increases in cohabitation, about 40% of American children will spend some time in a cohabiting union; 20% of babies are now born to cohabiting couples. And because cohabiting unions are much less stable than marriages, the vast majority of the children born to cohabiting couples will see their parents break up by the time they turn 15.

A recent Bowling Green State University study of the motives for cohabitation found that young men and women who choose to cohabit are seeking alternatives to marriage and ways of testing a relationship to see if it might be safely transformed into a marriage — with both rationales clearly shaped by a fear of divorce. One young man told the researchers that living together allows you to “get to know the person and their habits before you get married. So that way, you won’t have to get divorced.” Another said that an advantage of cohabitation is that you “don’t have to go through the divorce process if you do want to break up, you don’t have to pay lawyers and have to deal with splitting everything and all that jazz.”

My own research confirms the connection between divorce and cohabitation in America. Specifically, data from the General Social Survey indicate that adult children of divorce are 61% more likely than adult children from married families to endorse the notion that it is a “good idea for a couple who intend to get married to live together first.” Likewise, adult children of divorce are 47% more likely to be currently cohabiting, compared to those who were raised in intact, married families. Thus divorce has played a key role in reducing marriage and increasing cohabitation, which now exists as a viable competitor to marriage in the organization of sex, intimacy, childbearing, and even child-rearing.

Third, the divorce revolution has contributed to an intergenerational cycle of divorce. Work by demographer Nicholas Wolfinger indicates that the adult children of divorce are now 89% more likely to divorce themselves, compared to adults who were raised in intact, married families. Children of divorce who marry other children of divorce are especially likely to end up divorced, according to Wolfinger’s work. Of course, the reason children of divorce — especially children of low-conflict divorce — are more likely to end their marriages is precisely that they have often learned all the wrong lessons about trust, commitment, mutual sacrifice, and fidelity from their parents.

THE DIVORCE DIVIDE

Clearly, the divorce revolution of the 1960s and ’70s left a poisonous legacy. But what has happened since? Where do we stand today on the question of marriage and divorce? A survey of the landscape presents a decidedly mixed portrait of contemporary married life in America.

The good news is that, on the whole, divorce has declined since 1980 and marital happiness has largely stabilized. The divorce rate fell from a historic high of 22.6 divorces per 1,000 married women in 1980 to 17.5 in 2007. In real terms, this means that slightly more than 40% of contemporary first marriages are likely to end in divorce, down from approximately 50% in 1980. Perhaps even more important, recent declines in divorce suggest that a clear majority of children who are now born to married couples will grow up with their married mothers and fathers.

Similarly, the decline in marital happiness associated with the tidal wave of divorce in the 1960s and ’70s essentially stopped more than two decades ago. Men’s marital happiness hovered around 63% from the early 1980s to the mid-2000s, while women’s marital happiness fell just a bit, from 62% in the early 1980s to 60% in the mid-2000s.

This good news can be explained largely by three key factors. First, the age at first marriage has risen. In 1970, the median age of marriage was 20.8 for women and 23.2 for men; in 2007, it was 25.6 for women and 27.5 for men. This means that fewer Americans are marrying when they are too immature to forge successful marriages. (It is true that some of the increase in age at first marriage is linked to cohabitation, but not the bulk of it.)

Second, the views of academic and professional experts about divorce and family breakdown have changed significantly in recent decades. Social-science data about the consequences of divorce have moved many scholars across the political spectrum to warn against continuing the divorce revolution, and to argue that intact families are essential, especially to the well-being of children. Here is a characteristic example, from a recent publication by a group of scholars at the Brookings Institution and Princeton University:

Marriage provides benefits both to children and to society. Although it was once possible to believe that the nation’s high rates of divorce, cohabitation, and nonmarital childbearing represented little more than lifestyle alternatives brought about by the freedom to pursue individual self-fulfillment, many analysts now believe that these individual choices can be damaging to the children who have no say in them and to the society that enables them.

Although certainly not all scholars, therapists, policymakers, and journalists would agree that contemporary levels of divorce and family breakdown are cause for worry, a much larger share of them expresses concern about the health of marriage in America — and about America’s high level of divorce — than did so in the 1970s. These views seep into the popular consciousness and influence behavior — just as they did in the 1960s and ’70s, when academic and professional experts carried the banner of the divorce revolution.

A third reason for the stabilization in divorce rates and marital happiness is not so heartening. Put simply, marriage is increasingly the preserve of the highly educated and the middle and upper classes. Fewer working-class and poor Americans are marrying nowadays in part because marriage is seen increasingly as a sort of status symbol: a sign that a couple has arrived both emotionally and financially, or is at least within range of the American Dream. This means that those who do marry today are more likely to start out enjoying the money, education, job security, and social skills that increase the probability of long-term marital success.

And this is where the bad news comes in. When it comes to divorce and marriage, America is increasingly divided along class and educational lines. Even as divorce in general has declined since the 1970s, what sociologist Steven Martin calls a “divorce divide” has also been growing between those with college degrees and those without (a distinction that also often translates to differences in income). The figures are quite striking: College-educated Americans have seen their divorce rates drop by about 30% since the early 1980s, whereas Americans without college degrees have seen their divorce rates increase by about 6%. Just under a quarter of college-educated couples who married in the early 1970s divorced in their first ten years of marriage, compared to 34% of their less-educated peers. Twenty years later, only 17% of college-­educated couples who married in the early 1990s divorced in their first ten years of marriage; 36% of less-educated couples who married in the early 1990s, however, divorced sometime in their first decade of marriage.

This growing divorce divide means that college-educated married couples are now about half as likely to divorce as their less-educated peers. Well-educated spouses who come from intact families, who enjoy annual incomes over $60,000, and who conceive their first child in ­wedlock — as many college-educated couples do — have exceedingly low rates of divorce.

Similar trends can be observed in measures of marital quality. For instance, if we look at married couples aged 18-60, 72% of spouses who were both college-educated and 65% of spouses who were both less-educated reported that they were “very happy” in their marriages in the 1970s, according to the General Social Survey. In the 2000s, marital happiness remained high among college-educated spouses, as 70% continued to report that they were “very happy” in their marriages. But marital happiness fell among less-educated spouses: Only 56% reported that they were “very happy” in their marriages in the 2000s.

Wilcox Figure

These trends are mirrored in American illegitimacy statistics. Although one would never guess as much from the regular New York Times features on successful single women having children, non-marital childbearing is quite rare among college-educated women. According to a 2007 Child Trends study, only 7% of mothers with a college degree had a child outside of marriage, compared to more than 50% of mothers who had not gone to college.

So why are marriage and traditional child-rearing making a modest comeback in the upper reaches of society while they continue to unravel among those with less money and less education? Both cultural and economic forces are at work, each helping to widen the divorce and marriage divide in America.

First, while it was once the case that working-class and poor Americans held more conservative views of divorce than their middle- and upper-class peers, this is no longer so. For instance, a 2004 National Fatherhood Initiative poll of American adults aged 18-60 found that 52% of college-­educated Americans endorsed the norm that in the “absence of violence and extreme conflict, parents who have an unsatisfactory marriage should stay together until their children are grown.” But only 35% of less-educated Americans surveyed endorsed the same viewpoint.

Likewise, according to my analysis of the General Social Survey, in the 1970s only 36% of college-educated Americans thought divorce should be “more difficult to obtain than it is now,” compared to 46% of less-educated Americans. By the 2000s, 49% of college-educated Americans thought divorce laws should be tightened, compared to 48% of less-­educated ­Americans. Views of marriage have been growing more conservative among elites, but not among the poor and the less educated.

Second, the changing cultural meaning of marriage has also made it less necessary and less attractive to working-class and poor Americans. Prior to the 1960s, when the older, institutional model of marriage dominated popular consciousness, marriage was the only legitimate venue for having sex, bearing and raising children, and enjoying an intimate relationship. Moreover, Americans generally saw marriage as an institution that was about many more goods than a high-quality emotional relationship. Therefore, it made sense for all men and women — regardless of socioeconomic status — to get and stay married.

Yet now that the institutional model has lost its hold over the lives of American adults, sex, children, and intimacy can be had outside of ­marriage. All that remains unique to marriage today is the prospect of that high-quality emotional bond — the soul-mate model. As a result, marriage is now disproportionately appealing to wealthier, better-­educated couples, because less-educated, less-wealthy couples often do not have the emotional, social, and financial resources to enjoy a high-quality soul-mate marriage.

The qualitative research of sociologists Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas, for instance, shows that lower-income couples are much more likely to struggle with conflict, infidelity, and substance abuse than their higher-income peers, especially as the economic position of working-class men has grown more precarious since the 1970s. Because of shifts away from industrial employment and toward service occupations, real wages and employment rates have dropped markedly for working-class men, but not for college-educated men. For instance, from 1973 to 2007, real wages of men with a college degree rose 18%; by contrast, the wages of high-school-educated men fell 11%. Likewise, in 1970, 96% of men aged 25-64 with high-school degrees or with college degrees were employed. By 2003, employment had fallen only to 93% for college-­educated men of working age. But for working-aged men with only high-school degrees, labor-force participation had fallen to 84%, according to research by economist Francine Blau. These trends indicate that less-educated men have, in economic terms, become much less attractive as providers for their female peers than have college-educated men.

In other words, the soul-mate model of marriage does not extend equal marital opportunities. It therefore makes sense that fewer poor Americans would take on the responsibilities of modern married life, knowing that they are unlikely to reap its rewards.

The emergence of the divorce and marriage divide in America exacerbates a host of other social problems. The breakdown of marriage in ­working-class and poor communities has played a major role in fueling poverty and inequality, for instance. Isabel Sawhill at the Brookings Institution has concluded that virtually all of the increase in child poverty in the United States since the 1970s can be attributed to family breakdown. Meanwhile, the dissolution of marriage in working-class and poor communities has also fueled the growth of government, as federal, state, and local governments spend more money on police, prisons, welfare, and court costs, trying to pick up the pieces of broken families. Economist Ben Scafidi recently found that the public costs of family breakdown exceed $112 billion a year.

Moreover, children in single-parent homes are more likely to be exposed to Hollywood’s warped vision of sex, relationships, and family life. For instance, a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that children in single-parent homes devote almost 45 minutes more per day to watching television than children in two-parent homes. Given the distorted nature of the popular culture’s family-related messages, and the unorthodox family relationships of celebrity role models, this means that children in single-parent families are even less likely to develop a healthy understanding of marriage and family life — and are therefore less likely to have a positive vision of their own marital future.

Thus, the fallout of America’s retreat from marriage has hit poor and working-class communities especially hard, with children on the lower end of the economic spectrum doubly disadvantaged by the material and marital circumstances of their parents.

STRENGHTENING MARRIAGE

There are no magic cures for the growing divorce divide in America. But a few modest policy measures could offer some much-needed help.

First, the states should reform their divorce laws. A return to fault-based divorce is almost certainly out of the question as a political matter, but some plausible common-sense reforms could nonetheless inject a measure of sanity into our nation’s divorce laws. States should combine a one-year waiting period for married parents seeking a divorce with programs that educate those parents about the likely social and emotional consequences of their actions for their children. State divorce laws should also allow courts to factor in spousal conduct when making decisions about alimony, child support, custody, and property division. In particular, spouses who are being divorced against their will, and who have not engaged in egregious misbehavior such as abuse, adultery, or abandonment, should be given preferential treatment by family courts. Such consideration would add a measure of justice to the current divorce process; it would also discourage some divorces, as spouses who would otherwise seek an easy exit might avoid a divorce that would harm them financially or limit their access to their children.

Second, Congress should extend the federal Healthy Marriage Initiative. In 2006, as part of President George W. Bush’s marriage initiative, Congress passed legislation allocating $100 million a year for five years to more than 100 programs designed to strengthen marriage and ­family ­relationships in America — especially among low-income couples. As Kathryn Edin of Harvard has noted, many of these programs are equipping poor and working-class couples with the relational skills that their better-educated peers rely upon to sustain their marriages. In the next year or two, many of these programs will be evaluated; the most successful programs serving poor and working-class communities should receive additional funding, and should be used as models for new programs to serve these communities. New ideas — like additional social-marketing campaigns on behalf of marriage, on the model of those undertaken to discourage smoking — should also be explored through the initiative.

Third, the federal government should expand the child tax credit. Raising children is expensive, and has become increasingly so, given rising college and health-care costs. Yet the real value of federal tax deductions for children has fallen considerably since the 1960s. To remedy this state of affairs, Ramesh Ponnuru and Robert Stein have proposed expanding the current child tax credit from $1,000 to $5,000 and making it fully refundable against both income and payroll taxes. A reform along those lines would provide a significant measure of financial relief to working-class and middle-class families, and would likely strengthen their increasingly fragile marriages.

Of course, none of these reforms of law and policy alone is likely to exercise a transformative influence on the quality and stability of marriage in America. Such fixes must be accompanied by changes in the wider culture. Parents, churches, schools, public officials, and the entertainment industry will have to do a better job of stressing the merits of a more institutional model of marriage. This will be particularly important for poor and working-class young adults, who are drifting away from marriage the fastest.

This is a tall order, to say the least. But if our society is genuinely interested in protecting and improving the welfare of children — especially children in our nation’s most vulnerable communities — we must strengthen marriage and reduce the incidence of divorce in America. The unthinkable alternative is a nation divided more and more by class and marital ­status, and children doubly disadvantaged by poverty and single parenthood. Surely no one believes that such a state of affairs is in the national interest.

W. Bradford Wilcox is the director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and a senior fellow at the Institute for American Values.

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Time Gets a Little Right and Much Wrong about Marriage in America – GlennSacks.com » Blog Archive

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, custody, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Feminism, Freedom, Homosexual Agenda, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Liberty, Marriage, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome on August 31, 2009 at 12:53 am

Time Gets a Little Right and Much Wrong about Marriage in America

August 30th, 2009 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

You’d think that an article that ends with this sentence,

What we teach about the true meaning of marriage will determine a great deal about our fate,

would do a better job than this one does of teaching its readers about marriage (Time, 7/2/09).  Caitlin Flanagan gets a few of the high points right, but ignores others entirely.  Maybe there’s an unwritten rule that I don’t know about that forbids mention of certain things.

What Flanagan gets right are things like the value of marriage and a stable home environment to children’s wellbeing.  She understands as well that much of our divorce culture stems from a attitude of hedonism that’s been learned over the past few decades.  Adults often seem incapable of seeing and acting on the most obvious truth – that divorce harms children and that they benefit from having two parents to raise them.  Absent the direst circumstances, adults who have made the choice to have children, should stick together and stick with the children until they themselves become adults.  After that, divorce is fine.

So Flanagan gets the basics, but her context goes a long way toward undermining her thesis.  That context is male infidelity.  The article starts off with photos of various high-profile male philanderers – Eliot Spitzer, Mark Sanford, John Edwards and, yes, Jon Gosselin.  In the text, she tosses in John Ensign, just to balance the ticket, I suppose.

So what Flanagan is suggesting, without coming out and saying it explicitly, is that the “me first” culture that’s destroying marriage is all about the narcisism of men.  Never does she mention a high-profile female adulterer.  Nowhere does she cite statistics that show that, while married men stray more than do married women, the difference is a matter of a few percentage points.  Depending on which study you prefer, something like 23-28% of married men have extramarital affairs while 15-22% of married women do.  In Flanagan’s piece no women do.

Nor does she mention that most marriages in which one or the other partner commits adultery remain intact.  So sexual infidelity, as wrong as it is, as painful as it is, as self-centered as it is, has little to do with the failure of marriage in America.

Flanagan champions marriage for the many good reasons we all know, but, while bemoaning the fragility of that most important of institutions, she never asks why it’s become fragile.  Doubtless the answers to that question are many and complex, but why not give it a shot?  Why not at least try?

Well, maybe it’s because doing so would inevitably lead where Flanagan and Time fear to tread.  Maybe it would violate that unwritten rule I mentioned earlier.  That marriage is in such ill repute, might conceivably force us to ask how it got that way.  After all, 50 years ago, it wasn’t.  So what happened?

Well, one thing that happened was feminism.

I’m aware of course that many feminists are married.  Gloria Steinem is; Katha Pollitt is; most of my female feminist friends are.  But one of the most consistent themes of feminist discourse over the past 40 years has been that marriage is the seat of male subjugation of women.  According to many feminist writers (see, e.g. Catharine MacKinnon) over the years, marriage is at best unnecessary and at worst dangerous to women.  And if men are dangerous to women, they’re no less so to children, so the story goes.

Never mind that essentially every word of those claims is directly contradicted by massive amounts of social science.  Never mind that, whatever may be true about women, men, fish and bicycles, children need their fathers.  And never mind that children have more to fear from their mothers than from their fathers.

Never mind all that because, for decades, popular culture absorbed and repeated most of those feminist claims producing TV programs, movies, books (fiction and non-fiction), short stories, etc. which hewed to the feminist narrative that men are dangerous to women and children and, in any case, incompetent to – and uninterested in – caring for children.

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc?

No, that’s not my argument.  My argument is simply this: I find it highly coincidental that, after decades of denigrating men, fathers and the institution of marriage, that the institution of marriage is now so shaky.  Maybe the one had nothing to do with the other.  Maybe if second wave feminism had never happened, marriage would still be on the rocks.  About that we’ll never know.  But what we do know is what did happen.  Anyone who chooses to believe that the denigration of marriage by feminists and taken up by popular culture had nothing to do with its current status is welcome to that opinion.

Flanagan, not content to ignore feminism’s contibution to the decline of marriage, moves right on to ignore the law’s.  I’ve detailed elsewhere the many, many ways in which family law separates children from fathers and thus tends to obviate the reason for marriage.  So I won’t go into that again.  But what I will say is this:  we know the one thing that will do more than anything else to discourage it – shared parenting.

Women file for about 70% of divorces in the United States.  They do so because they know to a virtual certainty that they will retain physical custody of their children.  That was the finding of a massive study done in 2000 by Margaret Brinig and Douglas Allen of over 40,000 divorce cases in four states.  They learned that far more than any other factor encouraging divorce was the fact that the woman knew she would not lose contact with her children.  What’s also true is that divorce rates drop in jurisdictions that adopt some version of shared parenting.  Establish shared parenting as the law, and, in addition to all its other benefits, watch the divorce rate drop.

But Caitlin Flanagan reports none of that.

Think of what might happen if we devoted even half the resources to telling the truth about fathers and children that we devoted to disinformation about them over the past 40 years.  Combine that with making real efforts – like establishing the presumption of shared parenting in all 50 states – to ensure maximal continued contact between fathers and children post-divorce.  Do those two things and let’s see what the state of marriage is in this country.

Thanks to Jed for the heads-up.

GlennSacks.com » Blog Archive » Time Gets a Little Right and Much Wrong about Marriage in America.

Parents’ Rights – Nancy Schaefer Speaks at the World Congress on Families

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Feminism, Liberty, Marriage, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment on August 28, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Nancy Schaefer Speaks at the World Congress on Families


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Nancy Schaefer
President of Eagle Forum of Georgia

Nancy Schaefer
August 27, 2009

Nancy Schaefer, President of Eagle Forum of Georgia and Eagle Forum’s National Chairman for Parents’ Rights, spoke at the World Congress on Families V in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on August 11, 2009.

Pro-family leaders and groups from 63 nations attended the World Congress of Families V. 900 delegates were Dutch and other nations represented included, United States, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, the U.K., Ireland, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Romania, Poland, Latvia, Moldavia, Slovakia, Russia, Nigeria, Ghana, the Democratic Republic, of Congo, Kenya, Pakistan, Australia, and the Philippines. More than 3,000 people around the world watched the live telecast via the Internet.

On August 16th, Schaefer delivered, via cyber space, her speech to the Nordic Committee for Human Rights (NCHR) in Gothenburg, Sweden on the protection of Family Rights in Nordic countries.

Schaefer spoke on “The Unlimited Power of Child Protective Services” (CPS).

She told her audience “children are seized unnecessarily from their families due to federal aid created in 1974 entitled “The Adoption and Safe Families Act.” It offers financial incentives to the States that increase adoption numbers. To receive the ‘adoption incentives’ or ‘bonuses’, local CPS must have more children. They must have merchandise that sells… this is an abuse of power. It is lack of accountability and it is a growing criminal/political phenomenon spreading around the globe.”

To hear the entire speech click here.

Nancy Schaefer wrote a scathing report on “The Corruption of Child Protective Services” while serving as a State Senator of Georgia.

To read or to get a copy of Schaefer’s “Report” or her speech in Amsterdam, please visit the Eagle Forum of Georgia website at www.eagleforumofgeorgia.org

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord”
Psalm 33:12

Eagle Forum of Georgia
Phone: 706-754-8321
Web-Site: www.eagleforumofga.org
Email: nancy.schaefer@nancyschaefer.com

+ Review other Parents’ Rights Articles

I Love When Step Moms Speak Out!!! You Go Girl !!!

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, children legal status, children's behaviour, Civil Rights, custody, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Marriage, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Sociopath on August 13, 2009 at 5:00 am

I was MEGA tempted

to just throw away that football schedule complete with scripted notes from the two oldest skids!! I’m the one who gets the mail and does all the paperwork; bill paying, etc.

But I knew if I did it would come back to bite me in a serious way.

It’s like a breakup that never ends. Here the girhippo has told the older two (SS stb 13 and SS stb 11) LAST YEAR at this time that they don’t have to come to visitation; they proved they were only interested in ‘coming to collect’ xmas, b-day presents, etc.

So BF, being “one of those dads” that doesn’t want to FORCE his kids to come to visitation; let the older two OPT OUT. They were making demands of eating out at every meal, no chores, mall sprees, etc. and we just couldn’t do it money wise (the gir and slan bring home about three times the amount of money that we do plus they have no homeowner expenses b/c they rent a trailer)

So now this “teaser” to have him come to games and continue the manipulation really gets on my last nerve. It’s total manipulation b/c the gir KNOWS that BF LOVES sports and is very proud of his skid’s sports participation (to the complete abandonment of academics; all three skids make low “D”s and “F”s in all the “real” subjects)

The gir makes a PRETENSE of shared parenting and cooperation to all onlookers and I think this CRAP just continues the FARCE!

Ideally BF should hold her in contempt and exercise his parental rights to visitation, but he knows the gir would just wage war that much harder (she knows all the court officials, judges, school admins, etc. on a first name basis as she works for CPS and it’s her hometown)
She is determined to put him through hell for divorcing her and “abandoning” the children; oh how she LOVES to play the “victim.”

BitchBitchBarbie's picture

seriously manipulator

I’m very proud of your restraint that you were able to keep from crumpling up that shit and throwing it in the garbage. I myself have been in that position of power and sometimes am not so successful! It never ceases to amaze me how much power the gir has. It boggles the mind.

The thing that impresses me most about America is the way parents obey their children. ~Edward, Duke of Windsor, Look, 5 March 1957

crayon's picture

The only thing that kept me from throwing it in the burn pile

Was the odd chance that gir would test and say “did you get the schedule” If BF said “what schedule” then she would know I threw it out or am “screening” the mail.

Now mind you the gir has REFUSED our mail before. . .hmmmm

Reserve Capital Punishment for Guilt Parenting and PASinators

vickmeister's picture

Long as . . .

you don’t have to go watch the games, it might be a good way to get DH and Droopy out of your hair if games fall on the Saturdays when you have him.

I remain, the world’s most evil stepmom; ask anyone.

crayon's picture

Well I like to show up sometimes

Just to show that I’m in the picture STILL! The gir and skids would love nothing more than BF to dump me and start spending 100% on skids; problem is without my salary, BF wouldnt’ be able to afford the gas to get to said games.

They like the “look” of LONELY BF standing at the games and pining after his “long lost” children who demand the moon; you know the children he gave up because of being with “that whore” (aka ME!)

The gir has always forced the skids to choose either her and the slan or BF and me. She loves it when BF comes to the games by his lonesome so she can say to the skids “SEEEEE I told you daddy’s having a rough, lonely time right now and that whore doesn’t even care about your games!”

Reserve Capital Punishment for Guilt Parenting and PASinators

secondwife19's picture

Hmmm… is that manipulation I’m smelling?

It sure is.

Complete manipulation on Girhippo’s part, and BF is falling for it. He SHOULD fight for his visitation rights because by not doing so, it’s just showing Gir that she can walk all over him.

But I understand the whole BM having the court system wrapped around her slimy finger.

Warthog was able to put DH in jail by accusing him of running her over with the car. Actually what had happened was DH was driving BM back to her dad’s house and she jumped out the car because she didn’t wanted to go there. But since BM knows all the judges and every cop in town because I’m sure she’s given them a few sexual favors, they all listen to her side of the story and care not for DH’s.

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” Dr. Seuss

crayon's picture

If I were BF I wouldnt’ go to the games because:

1. BF wasn’t consulted about it

2. It’s wrong to enroll a girl (who isn’t athletic in the least) in boy’s football just for attention; she’s going to be a TARGET b/c she is VERY BOSSY and SARCASTIC!

3. The skids are on the verge of failing academics EVERY semester

4. They don’t want to come to visitation so basically they are getting quasi “visitation” on THEIR TERMS again

But meek little BF will go to the games like a lamb to the slaughter; too bad he doesn’t put his “foot down” with them as he ALWAYS is with ME!!!

Reserve Capital Punishment for Guilt Parenting and PASinators

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I was MEGA tempted | Step Talk.

Why today’s parents are simply the best – Life and Style | The Independent UK

In Best Interest of the Child, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Family Rights, Marriage, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Parental Relocation, Parents rights on August 11, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Why today’s parents are simply the best

Posted by The Independent

  • Friday, 7 August 2009 at 07:58 am
Author: By Jerome Taylor and Kevin Rawlinson

Teenage anti-social behaviour is on the increase, but for how much of this should parents bear the blame? Latest research suggests that, rather than being disinterested and irresponsible, parents today are more conscientious than they were 20 years ago, spending more time with their offspring and paying more attention to where they are outside the home. In fact, they are so determined to be the perfect providers that they worry about it far more than their parents did.

Academics at Oxford University, who carried out a study of families for the Nuffield Foundation, a charitable trust, found there was “no evidence of a decline in parenting” over the past two decades. In order to understand the rise in anti-social behaviour among teenagers, we need to look outside of the home, they suggested. They did, however, conclude that today’s parents are more stressed, with a 50 per cent increase in depression rates among those in the poorest families between 1986 and 2006.

So how has parenting changed? To start, the home is a different entity to what it was in the 1970s. Families tend to be smaller, women give birth later, more parents have chosen to cohabit rather than marry and the proportion of children living with just one parent has tripled from the early 1970s, to reach 24 per cent.

Behavioural problems occur across family types, so how has the relationship with our children changed?

Frances Gardner, a professor of child and family psychology at Oxford, led a team that looked at comparable data taken from the past 20 years and found a marked increase in many of the factors that suggest parents are far more involved in their children’s lives than they used to be. They are, for example, spending more quality time together: 70 per cent of young people spent more time with their mothers in 2006, compared to 62 per cent in 1986. The figure has also risen for fathers, from 47 per cent to 52 per cent.

And rather than have little idea where their teenagers are at night, modern parents are more likely to monitor their children’s movements. In 1986, 79 per cent of parents expected to know where their children were going; by 2006, that figure had risen to 85 per cent. The proportion of children who said they regularly told their parents where they would be also increased, from 78 per cent to 86 per cent.

Professor Gardner concludes there is no concrete link between overall parenting standards and the increase in problem behaviour among adolescents, saying: “This leads us to believe this factor does not generally explain the rise in problem behaviour.”

But others are less convinced. Trudi Butler, a parenting coach who runs the Parent Guru agency in Edinburgh, said the report raised as many questions as it answered. “I certainly do believe modern parents spend more time with their children than they used to and they are extremely conscientious about how they bring up their kids,” she said. “But when it comes to bad behaviour, I think parents perhaps should play a greater role in disciplining their children. Obviously I would not recommend a return to 1950s-style parenting but there must be some sort of middle ground.”

Dr Pat Spungin, who founded the website Raisingkids.co.uk, said she believed parents needed to do more to prepare their children for the future, beyond making them feel good. “It depends on what your definition of parenting is, but I would argue that a key element is socialising a child so they are ready for the outside world,” she said. “It is so much more than just making them feel good about themselves and spending time with them. It is about making sure a child is educated and socialised but also respects authority and is grounded enough for when they themselves become parents.”

Additional reporting: Jennifer Morgan

Family fortunes: How life has changed

* Smaller families and later childbirth. In 1971, there were 84 births per 1,000 women aged between 15 and 44. That number has since dropped to 56 births, meaning British families are getting smaller.

* Fewer marriages and more cohabitation. Since 1972, the number of marriages per year has dropped from 480,000 to 306,000 and divorce has risen by a third over the same period, to 167,000 annulments per year.

* The average age at first marriage has also increased substantially, from the early 20s in the 1970s to 31 years for men and 29 years for women now. Over the same period, cohabitation for women tripled to about 31 per cent of 18- to 49-year-olds.

* Divorce peaked in the 1990s and has since come down, although about one in five British children still experience the permanent separation of their parents.

* Though starting to fall, rates of child poverty rose markedly between the mid-1970s and the early 2000s. Inequality in household incomes grew in the 1980s and stabilised in the 1990s. More mothers now work, with 80 per cent of those with children aged 11 or over employed in either full-time or part-time work.

‘Perhaps we just worry too much’

Andy McSmith, a child of the Sixties, has four children, including Imogen, 18, who is awaiting her A-level results

Andy says: To some of us parents, these findings say only what we already know. When we were young, children amused themselves, especially on sunny days. There was less traffic, the word ‘paedophile’ had not entered the language; and people were not afraid to let their children out of sight for hours. I also remember my surprise on learning that my uncle read books to my cousins, but heaven knows how many hours I have spent reading JK Rowling, JRR Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, Mark Twain etc, aloud, because that is what fathers now do. All the parents I know pile more structured activity into their children’s lives than their parents did. Perhaps we just worry too much.”

Imogen says: I was sure all my friends were given a lot more quality time with their televisions than I was, though now I can almost sympathise with my mum’s disapproval of the telly. Reading was the big thing in our house. Usually one of my parents would read to me every night, and I was enlisted in quite a few extracurricular activities ? ballet, Brownies, French etc ? so my parents would often shepherd me and my two siblings (and another one, a bit later) back and forth. We were rarely given homework at primary school so I suppose these endeavours were to occupy our ever-expanding minds. My parents were around me a lot but, saying that, they weren’t ridiculously over-protective. Compared to some of my friends’ parents they were really laid back ? though that didn’t stop me feeling envious of some of my peers who claimed they could do whatever they wanted.”

‘I’ve given them more freedom ? and a mobile’

Amanda Morgan, 49, and her husband live in Loughborough, Leicestershire, with their son Charlie, 18, who is about to take a gap year before university

Amanda says: My parents were fairly full-on when it came to school work and behaviour, but on the other hand, myself and my three siblings had an enormous amount of freedom for outdoor activities. We were expected to keep ourselves occupied and to rely on each other for company rather than on gangs of friends. There were some pretty strict curfews, though perhaps less so for the younger siblings. I have made a conscious effort to bring up my teenagers differently. I have been far more accepting of contacts from outside the home, allowing my children to develop a social circle of their choosing. And I have always insisted on regular mobile phone updates on their whereabouts at all times. My husband has certainly spent more time with the children than my father did with us. He has always tried not to let his work get in the way of his parenting.”

Charlie says: I’m the youngest child and I think, by the time she got to me, mum had become a bit more complacent. For example, I’m allowed to watch TV shows that my elder brother was banned from, and the curfews are less strict. In fact, mum actively encourages me to go out! She does, however, always want to know where I’m going and who with. I think the main difference for parents and teenagers now is the technology ? my grandparents were probably worried sick about what my mum was up to ? they just didn’t have the option of checking up on her. Mobile phones have changed all that.”

‘I had to be back by teatime’

Deirdre Hughes, 48, is vice-president of the Institute of Career Guidance. She says that while her upbringing was different to that of her daughter Gemma, the values she wants to pass on are the same. Gemma Hughes, 23, is a marketing resources assistant. She says one of the most important lessons she learned from her parents is how to look after herself

Deirdre says: “I remember having fewer restrictions when I was a girl: I could go out all day and nobody asked any questions as long as I was back by teatime. But when I was older, I was not allowed out as much as my daughter was. Still, I used to leave a pillow in my bed, shin down the drainpipe and go out with my friends. I wanted to teach Gemma that she has to work hard, to be independent but also that I will always be there for her.”

Deirdre waved Gemma off to live in Barcelona for a year at the age of 20. The family found it hard but felt it was an important part of her upbringing.

Gemma says: “When I was younger, my parents did not wrap me up in cotton wool. By the time I was in secondary school, I could cook for myself and would sometimes make meals for the family. My family is close, but we do not live in each others’ pockets.”

Would she bring her children up the same way? “Absolutely, I learned valuable lessons from my parents. There was nothing wrong with my upbringing and I think: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.”
View full article here

Life and Style | The Independent UK – Why today’s parents are simply the best.

Is the Princess stereotype Harming our Daughters? – Times Online

In Best Interest of the Child on August 6, 2009 at 5:29 pm
August 4, 2009

Is the princess stereotype harming our daughters?

Little girls love glamorous princesses, but as Disney launches its newest, Tiana, a study says the stereotype is harmful

Lizzie Gorham is in love. Her passion influences what she wears, how she decorates her room, and her dreams. Sounds scary? It depends who you ask. After all, Lizzie is not yet 4.

She’s also not alone. Lizzie’s world — like that of so many other little girls — is full of royalty, tiaras and beautiful dresses. And, like the other girls, her focus is not the prince, but the woman he woos: a Disney princess.

“This is my Aurora dress,” says Lizzie, twirling around with excitement in the bedroom of her home in Buckinghamshire. “Aurora from Sleeping Beauty is my favourite princess because she marries a handsome prince and because her dress is pink. I like the Princess dresses and the stories. And I want to marry a prince.”

A ninth member of the successful “Disney Princess” brand is soon to join the ranks of Cinderella and Snow White; one who, Disney hopes, will widen their appeal. Princess Tiana, who is black, appears this December in The Princess and The Frog and the trailer for the film has just been released (Tiana already takes centre stage on the dedicated princess website, disney.go.com/princess, where you can enter the world of your favourite heroine).

Ten years ago, one of the corporation’s executives had the idea of grouping the Disney princesses together. It was a masterstroke. Each princess retained her individual mystique, but gained mass-market appeal as part of a distinctive group. Sales of their merchandise, — from Cinderella dolls to Ariel pyjamas — have soared from $300 million in 2001 to $4billion last year.

But while the Disney machine is busy girding itself up for yet another multimillion dollar marketing opportunity, a report last week highlighted the possibly damaging effect of dolls on a generation of girls. The Women and Work Commission, reporting on the gender and opportunities gap, found that while girls are outperforming boys at school and at university, they still earn less than men — and the pay gap may be widening. One of the main reasons for this, says the Commission, is that little girls spend too much time in the Wendy house, playing with dolls or pretending to be nurses while their little brothers want to be Bob the Builder.

From an early age, girls are being socialised, it seems, for the caring, soft “feminine jobs” that perpetuate gender stereotypes, job segregation, and lower pay rates. The Commission, chaired by Baroness Prosser, recommended that “The Department for Children, Schools and Families disseminate national guidance for teachers and early years childcare workers on how to ensure that the horizons of children aged 3 to 5 are not limited by stereotypes of what girls and boys can do.”

Some argue that the merchandising of dolls such as the Disney princesses only perpetuates these gender divides. “[Princess dolls] are promoting a very narrow and prescriptive view of femininity, and one that ought to be outmoded in the 21st century. I think they are regressive,” says Dr Melanie Waters, lecturer in English literature and specialist in feminist theory at Northumbria University. They encourage girls to be passive, and to nurture. There is also, says Dr Waters: “an aggressive focus on beauty, hair accessories and other images that promote the idea that girls should be concerned with their appearance”.

New research, however, appears to show that the attraction towards dolls may be innate. In June, an American academic found that little girls fall in love with princesses and so-called “girly” toys from a very early age for genetic rather than social reasons. Gerianne Alexander, from Texas A&M University, showed young babies aged three to eight months a pink doll and a blue toy truck. The girls showed a definite visual preference for the doll and the boys for the truck. Girls may be biologically programmed to love Cinderella before any “self-awareness of gender identity and gender-congruent behaviour”.

Whether it is down to social pressure or biology, the fact remains that not everyone thinks Disney Princesses are charming, particularly from a feminist point of view. Snow White, for example, in the film first shown in 1937, is cleaning the dwarves’ cottage within minutes of arriving, while the key to Sleeping Beauty is her waiting to be brought back to life by a Prince’s kiss.

The more modern princesses, who arrived decades later with Ariel in The Little Mermaid in 1989, are more assertive and involved in their destiny. However, no Disney film has, as yet, been brave enough to subvert the genre entirely, like Princess Fiona in Shrek, who is, of course, an ogre.

Disney doesn’t agree, and Andrea Tartaglia, Disney’s Vice President of Franchise Marketing, Europe and the Emerging Markets, is keen to emphasise that beauty is not dwelt upon in the films. “We are talking about being kind — it’s inner beauty, not external,” he claims. “When we develop our product and our strategy for those characters over time, we always look at some specific attributes that we want to include in the product. Those are, for example, the idea of being kind, the idea of being respectful and loving animals. All these contribute to a positive message that one could give to kids and how we think they should aspire to that behaviour.”

Whether these attributes are all that’s needed for 21st-century girls is questionable and although inner beauty may matter, all the princesses are (coincidentally or not) outwardly gorgeous too. They all have very small waists, large busts and flawless skin — just what’s required to attract a prince, apparently.

“I’d like to be a princess, because I’d look nice,” says five-year-old Jessica Thompson. She loves “everything” about the princesses, particularly that they look “pretty”.

However, Karen Benveniste, Jessica’s mother, is not unduly concerned: “I don’t want to sound like I’m not into women’s rights because my daughters like Disney princesses,” she says. “I’m as feminist as they come, but I don’t analyse it that closely. I think kids are entitled to escapism at that age. In fact, I’m very sad that Alice, my other daughter, who’s only 7, is already moving away from the princesses.”

But Dr Waters can’t understand why parents aren’t more concerned about their daughters’ fascination with princesses. She’s convinced they’re bad news. “I don’t want to be the no-fun feminist, suggesting little girls can’t dress up,” she says, “but there’s something insidious about the merchandising of all this.” There are various contradictory messages at play, she says. “Mulan, for example, discovers that she’s happier in warrior garb than in a dress, but in the images that are merchandised, she’s always wearing the very restrictive feminine dress. The films may show gutsy, tough heroines, but it’s a shame a lot of that is negated in the way they are promoted.”

It’s certainly true that some of the more recent Princesses show their feisty side (Pocahontas and Mulan are usually included in the grouping, though Mulan isn’t a princess, either by birth or by marriage). Belle from Beauty and the Beast would rather read than dally with the local hunk; Pocahontas actually turns down the chance of everlasting love to go back to her people and be a leader. Yet the merchandising shows almost identikit princesses waiting for their princes to come.

Andrea Tartaglia seems surprised by suggestions of a disconnect between the heroines of the films and dolls. He also admits that he never considered the issue of Mulan’s clothing. “We tend to be very true to the original story telling,” he insists.

In reality, is wearing a dress and wanting to be kind really that bad? The princesses may be marketed at three-to-six-year-olds (the age at which the Women in Work Commission feels that gender stereotyping should be challenged) but for now at least, most mothers seem content to let their daughters discover their feminine, caring sides through dolls, Disney or otherwise.

“I can think of far worse things for them to like,” says Karen Benveniste. Suzanne Gorham, mother of Lizzie, agrees. “It’s all about a dance, a kiss, marriage, happily ever after, and some high heels,” she says. “It does worry me slightly that if something terrible happened, Lizzie thinks that she would be rescued by a handsome prince. But then again, she is only three.”
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Is the princess sterotype harming our daughters? – Times Online.

The State of Fatherhood – Florida International University

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Liberty, Marriage, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on July 31, 2009 at 2:30 am

“Divorce marginalizes or severs a father’s relationship with his child,” he says. “In reality, the father becomes a visitor in his or her life. He is no longer a father in the very literal sense.”

“Children of divorce really miss their fathers” the reports goes on to state. Is it hard for mothers to care about their children enough to let them see their dads? It is time for moms to put their anger aside, and really, really consider the children.

FIU lab investigates the state of fatherhood

By Sissi Aguila

Family roles have changed substantially since the 1950s. Mom now works outside the home. And dad is expected to be more involved in raising the kids. But as parental roles and responsibilities become less defined, psychologists question: Are there essential characteristics of fathering versus mothering?

FIU’s Fatherhood Lab explores these issues and Psychology Professor Gordon Finley, who runs the lab, focuses specifically on how divorce impacts fathers and the development of their children. Finley has found that a father’s role is unique and far too often neglected by the family court system.

Using questionnaires and a retrospective technique in which he asked 1,989 young adults to think back on their relationship with their fathers, Finley found that children of divorce really miss their fathers. According to Finley, they are denied a relationship with them because of present-day family law and court practices.

“Divorce marginalizes or severs a father’s relationship with his child,” he says. “In reality, the father becomes a visitor in his or her life. He is no longer a father in the very literal sense.”

Risky behaviors

For decades, researchers focused on motherhood when studying parenting. Today more attention is being paid to fathers, and the data is consistently showing that fathers are vital to raising happy, healthy and successful children. “They contribute more than bringing home the bacon,” Finley says.

The statistics are alarming: children from fatherless homes account for 63 percent of youth suicides, 85 percent of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders and 71 percent of all high school dropouts. And 37 percent of fathers have no access or visitation rights to their children.

Finley’s research indicates that fathers are more effective at attenuating high-risk behaviors such as sex, drugs and other criminal activities. These behaviors also involve high social costs.

Yet Finley says that his findings on fatherhood do not match today’s social reality or family policy. In divorce cases, the father rarely gets custody (only in about 15 percent of cases) and shared parenting is not equal. Fathers usually see their children only once a week and two weekends a month.

A girl needs her dad

Finley’s findings also suggest that parent-children relationships are not as much about identification or imitation, as once thought, but about transaction. The way a girl learns to become a woman is through her interaction with her father. That will determine how she will relate to men in her adult life.

His study concluded that girls experience a greater impact by divorce than boys.

“The real cost is actually to the daughters of divorce. They don’t have relationships with their fathers. So when they enter adolescence and start questioning whether to have sex, they don’t have a realistic idea of what men are like.”

When evaluating the consequences of divorce for children, balance is critical, says Finley. Society has a vested interest in balance.

Informing social policy

The take-home message, according to Finley, is simple: “Fathers matter. Children need their fathers and, as it turns out, fathers need their children,” he says.

Divorced fathers are eight to 10 times more likely to commit suicide than divorced mothers.  They also are higher on most indices of personal and social distress than divorced mothers.

Social policy, Finley argues, needs to catch up to the research: “Family law should be based on social science research – not ideology.”

Finley is a frequent contributor to journals that influence public policy. His study, “Father Involvement and Long Term Young Adult Outcomes: The Differential Contributions of Divorce and Gender,” was published by Family Court Review, an interdisciplinary communication forum for judges, attorney, mediators and professionals in the mental health and human services.

Earlier this year, Finley’s work provided the background for an article on divorced fathers and their adult offspring written for the American Bar Association’s Family Law Journal by Judith Wallerstein.  She is a leading psychologist and researcher who conducted a 25-year study on the effects of divorce on the children involved. Wallerstein has had considerable influence on the California court system.

Says Finley, “Today my goals are to continue research but also to shift the foundation of family policy from outdated ideology to current social science through increased public and governmental awareness.”

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FIU lab investigates the state of fatherhood | News at FIU – Florida International University.

Jill Brooke: Do Men Become Better or Worse Fathers After Divorce?

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Support, child trafficking, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Homeschool, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on July 21, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Do Men Become Better or Worse Fathers After Divorce?

If divorce is the future of duplicitous two-timers Gov. Mark Sanford to reality TV’s Jon Gosselin, these men will have to navigate co-parenting. However, a growing trend shows that many men become better parents post-divorce, to the surprise of ex-wives who find it difficult to grasp that a man who wasn’t a good husband can indeed be a good father.

Take the example of Peter Giles.

When Peter Giles’ three daughters were toddlers, work consumed him at the expense of family life. The New York businessman would justify the absences as doing the right thing for his family since he was providing the financial womb while his wife was taking care of their other needs.

What finally made him a better father? Getting a divorce.

“The divorce was such a shock and forced me to take stock of who I was and what success should look like,” said Giles, whose ex-wife Nancy Claus sought a divorce in 2001. “I came to realize that I had been providing for my children but needed to be more to them. ”

Like the majority of divorcing men today, Giles sought joint legal custody, which courts are more willing to grant since a federal study shows that men paid child support 90 percent of the time in comparison to less than 45 percent when the mother had sole custody.

When his daughters visited, Giles morphed into a multi-tasker taking on chores previously done by his wife including cooking, buying cosmetics and remembering to buy eggs and bacon at the market.

“I wish he would have been as involved and helpful when we were married,” said Claus. “But he has definitely become a much better Dad after our divorce.”

He is not alone.

“When a father is away from the stress of a failed marriage, he can be more relaxed and more reflective and as a result enjoy being more fully involved with his children,” said Don Gordon, professor emeritus of psychology at Ohio University and the director of the Center for Divorce Education.

David Gestl, the divorced father of four in Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, agrees, adding how it’s a relief not to argue about parenting styles which allows the father to develop his own.

“In my marriage, I was always walking on eggshells and getting criticized,” he said. “Recently after I made dinner, my son shook his chocolate milk and it went flying everywhere. I could say, just relax it’s nothing a paper towel won’t pick up. It’s okay to make a mistake and fix it. ”

One benefit to divorce is that with scheduled rationed time, each parent doesn’t take it for granted and can have more single minded focus with their kids.

CNBC anchor Dennis Kneale says divorce has made him “vastly closer ” to his 9-year-old daughter Jing-Jing. “In many families, mom is the center of everything and the husband is the supporting player,” he observed. “But with divorce, I have had more one on one time with her in ways I never did before.”

In a study on non-residential fathers, researcher Paul Amato from Pennsylvania State University found that the percentage of non-residential fathers being involved with their children more than tripled from 8 percent in the 1970’s to 26 percent in 2000’s.

A recent study by Kathleen Gerson, professor of sociology at New York University and author of ” The Unfinished Revolution:How a New Generation is Reshaping Family, Work,
and Gender in America” found the number to be 27 percent.

“Large numbers of contemporary fathers are doing their best to fulfill their responsibilities as parents despite the limitations of not residing with their children,” said Amato. “It’s time to recognize, value and support the commitment of these men to their children.”

Experts say that the rise of more involved fathers post-divorce is based on several factors that collectively aligned like shooting stars and is preventing what one organization calls, “a parentdectomy.”

A kid-focus culture for starters has helped cement ties.

Dr. Warren Farrell points out that pop culture’s parenting focus expanded the definition of a man’s identity. In one study tracking data from 1965-1998, married men had doubled their direct child care involvement. “More men put in the effort early which created deeper attachments that fathers didn’t want to lose,” said Farrell, who is also the author of “Father and Child Reunion.” Hence, more requests for joint custody.

Technology has also helped prevent or reduce what is called parental alienation where in the past the residential parent may – consciously or unconsciously – block contact either out of her resentment towards the father or because she has remarried and is protecting the stepfather relationship. A study by J. Annette Vanini and Edward Nichols found that 77 percent of noncustodial fathers faced some form of visitation interference.

But now fathers can give their kids pre-paid cell phones to insure contact. Divorce contracts are also often written to permit contact through email accounts.

Ted Rubin, a Huntington Long Island divorced dad to two girls, admits to using Facebook to keep in contact with his kids. “Sometimes when we speak on the phone I can tell if Mom is standing there and then later my daughter will contact me on Facebook,” he said. “A lot of Dads complain that moms could stand in the way of communication but now it’s almost impossible because kids are so tech savvy.”

In fact, Rubin, who has a contentious divorce with his ex-wife, says that email helps divorced parents diminish “the nastiness is our dialogues” which the kids would overhear on the phone. Now he can email what time he’s picking up the kids and delivering them without any verbal warfare.

Another big boost for continued contact has been videoconferencing. In 2002, Utah resident Michael Gough worried that his ex-wife’s relocation to Wisconsin would wipe out his parental involvement. Considering that less than 10 percent of divorces go to trial, he fought to have the right to videoconference with his daughter. Utah was the first state to pass legislation for virtual visitation in 2004.

“It costs me thousands of extra dollars to go to court but as a result there is now a statute for videoconferencing that other judges and attorneys can refer to and follow,” said Gough, who now runs a website called internetvisitation.org. Because of his efforts, Wisconsin, Florida and Texas all passed similar legislation and North Carolina did this month.

“With videoconferencing, I was able to read bedtime stories, help her with her homework and even watch her open up a present,” said Gough, with genuine sentimentality.

Schools are also helping divorced parents co-parent on neutral ground. While some wives would raise their eyebrows like thunderbolts when an ex-husband would arrive at the sports field, schools are not playing favorites.

“My ex-wife interpreted the divorce agreement that if I arrived at my son’s soccer game that it should only be when I had him for an overnight,” said Eric Ryerson, a nurse in Eugene, Oregon and father to an 11-year-old son. “But I want to see him more than my custody arrangement and by coming to sports events and volunteering at school, I can see him more.”

Ryerson went to the school and volunteered to be a chaperone for class trips, signed his name to contact forms and also spoke to coaches to provide information on his son’s soccer and baseball games.

“I asserted myself to be present and got rewarded for it,” said Ryerson. “I also got to meet his classmates and interacted with them.” Ryerson recalls fondly how in second grade he was nicknamed Mr. Pushy because he eagerly pushed his son’s friends on the swings. “My son told me he liked it when I came to school.”

In fact, research shows that the kids do like it when both parents are present.

“They have fewer behavior and emotional problems, higher self-esteem and better school performance than children in sole custody arrangements,” said Glenn Sacks, the National Executive Director of Fathers & Families. “When researchers have examined children of divorce, and studied and queried adult children of divorce, they’ve found that most prefer joint custody and shared parenting.”

For example, in one Arizona State University study of college students who experienced their parents’ divorces while they were children, over two-thirds believe that living equal times with each parent is the best arrangement. A Harvard University study also confirmed that children in joint custody settings fared much better than kids living in sole custody households.

While many men acknowledge progress, some still complain that the system treats fathers as second-class citizens when asking for more time with their children.

As Gary Nicholson, the president of the American Association of Marital Attorneys, explains, part of the problem is that various state laws tie child support payments to the amount of time a father is with their child. Payments can be adjusted if the father spends as much as 100 nights with his child so many mothers resist giving 50-50 splits and are angered by the request.

Said Nicholson, “Are there folks who look at this economically and think if I have equal time I won’t have to pay as much child support? Yes. But the majority of dads want to be involved in their kid’s lives. They feel they should be equal partners.”

As the nation sees more divorced families, more parents have learned that even though the marriage is over, they are forever linked as co-parents. Cultural cues also encourage that they should love their children more than they hate their spouse. Over time, many hard feelings thaw and enhanced appreciation can ensue.

Deb Rabino, a New York based make-up artist, learned to admire her ex-husband’s parenting of their two sons so much that when he lost his job in the financial industry, she voluntarily reduced his alimony and child support payments.

“He definitely became a better father after our divorce,” she said. “He honored his support of us and now it was our turn to help him out.”

The increased connection between children and fathers also results in other sacrifices as well. Michael Gough says videoconferencing helped get him more involved with his daughter. “My participation reminded me I have a daughter who needed me otherwise it could have been out of sight, out of mind.” Because his wife later relocated to Austin, Texas, Gough now found a new job to be near his daughter.

“Videoconferencing really helped us stay closer,” said Gough. “But it still can’t replace seeing my daughter and getting a hug.”

Like many men, he is getting remarried and may start a new family.

As Stephanie Coontz, the Director of Research and Public Education at the Council on Contemporary Families, observes, men have for more than 150 years tended to think of the responsibility of kids as a package deal. When the relationship split up, they’d walk away and start new families. “But we’re seeing a growing number of men separting from their wives but not their children,” she said.

Do you have any doubt that recent divorced dads including Dylan McDermott, Robin Williams, Russell Simmons or Guy Ritchie won’t enjoy time with their kids? All have said how much it means to them.

Still, it can be very painful for ex-wives to see that their families are living lives without them – especially when spouses repartner. However, in time, this divorce therapist has seen many women realize that a break from 24/7 parenting can benefit everyone. And love is far more elastic and flexible than we think.

(This story will also be discussed on CBS’ “Early Show”)

Jill Brooke: Do Men Become Better or Worse Fathers After Divorce?.

More reports of WA mothers mistreating children | PerthNow

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Feminism, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on July 20, 2009 at 3:12 am

The Mens Movement as well as Family groups have been stating this for years. Regardless of the studies and the facts, Fathers are still ignored as well as labelled worse than mothers..

Here a good example on how feminists continually live in denial..

“If she is a victim of domestic and family violence, a woman has very little power to change the situation.

It would mean that she would have to make one single phone call and that’s it. Even that is obviously way too hard for this biased, sexist female to comprehend..

Angela Hartwig, executive officer of the Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services WA.

Another member of the denial brigade continually making every effort to ensure that for the sake of their doctrine, children will just have to suffer the consequences..

Meanwhile we see women abusing children at more almost three times the rate (THREE TIMES THE RATE) than that of Fathers (427 to 155)..

show the number of mothers believed responsible for “substantiated maltreatment” has risen from 312 to 427. In the same period – 2005-06 to 2007-08 – the number of fathers reported for child abuse dropped from 165
to 155.

More reports of WA mothers mistreating children | PerthNow.

Nick Taylor

July 18, 2009 06:00pm

THE number of WA mothers reported for abusing their children has leapt in the past two years.

Figures from the Department for Child Protection, obtained by The Sunday Times, show the number of mothers believed responsible for “substantiated maltreatment” has risen from 312 to 427. In the same period – 2005-06 to 2007-08 – the number of fathers reported for child abuse dropped from 165 to 155.

A breakdown of all family-based child abuse shows and increase from 960 to 1505 last year.
Michael Woods, of the University of Western Sydney, said the data “debunked a common misconception about fathers and violence”.

Dr Woods, who is also a co-director of the university-based Men’s Information and Resource Centre said: “The figures undermine the myth that fathers are the major risk for their children’s wellbeing.

“The data is not surprising. It is in line with the international findings regarding perpetrators of child abuse.”

He said previous practices of lumping together de factos, live-in boyfriends and overnight male guests with fathers as male carers had “skewed beliefs” about who abused children.

Angela Hartwig, executive officer of the Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services WA, said the increases were a concern, but child abuse, neglect and domestic and family violence could be reported in several ways.

“Because the woman is so often the primary care-giver she is held as being responsible for the neglect,” she said.

“This could also explain why there is such a high number of neglect cases against women, as the data only shows the first person believed responsible.

“The statistics do not show the strong correlation that where there is child abuse there is often domestic and family violence and the women may be the victim of the abuse.

“If she is a victim of domestic and family violence, a woman has very little power to change the situation.

“It is difficult for a woman to provide for children when living with an abusive partner who has total control of all decisions made, which includes controlling the finances.”

Why I (and, I suspect, many separated women) regret divorcing | Mail Online

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Civil Rights, Divorce, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Marriage, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers on July 16, 2009 at 10:14 pm

By Jane Gordon

Last updated at 10:57 PM on 16th July 2009

Last weekend, at a family wedding in the country, I was overwhelmed by an emotion that has, in the last year, become only too familiar to me.

Sitting in a stifling marquee, listening to my cousin Sally’s husband making the traditional father-of-the-bride speech, I was overcome by a feeling that was part envy, part guilt and part regret.

My cousin’s marriage, which has lasted for 25 years, is by no means perfect – what marriage is? – but against the odds, she has achieved something that is now, and always will be, beyond my grasp.

A lost life: Jane Gordon with her husband and son in 1999, before her divorce

A lost life: Jane Gordon with her husband and son in 1999, before her divorce

As I looked at her sitting happy and radiant at the top table, laughing uproariously at her husband’s far from funny jokes, I realised that, in a world that has horribly devalued the institution of marriage, she was reaping the benefits of putting the love and security of her family first, before any disagreements she might have with her husband in the rough and tumble of daily life.

Watching her united with her husband on such an emotional occasion reminded me sharply of exactly what I had lost – but had no idea I was losing – seven years ago, when I got divorced from my husband, the father of my three children, after 25 years together.

Our relationship had broken down, I can now see, not because of any petty irritations such as his lateness or my untidiness, but because we had both moved irrevocably away from each other.

In the past few years of our marriage, I was more absorbed in my children and my career than I was in my husband while he, feeling increasingly isolated, simply switched off.

It’s a scenario that will be familiar to many couples. But how many of them choose to separate, and how many have the gumption to stick it out?

The trouble is nobody tells you the truth about divorce. They tell you it’s a ‘difficult’ experience, and it’s generally accepted that the process sits somewhere near the top of the ten most stressful life events.

‘No one ever points out that the repercussions of a marital split will reverberate down the timeline of your life forever’

But in the main it is regarded by society as a necessary evil. A milestone which, in an age when two in five UK marriages will fail, millions of us will go through at some point in our lives.

Indeed, in many ways, divorce is given a more positive spin in our confused modern world than marriage is.

The drawbacks of divorce are believed to be mostly either financial – as if the splitting up of the spoils of a life together were the very worst part of the process – or the fallout experienced by the children.

Little is ever said about the longer-term effects of divorce on the couple. No one ever points out that the repercussions of a marital split will reverberate down the timeline of your life forever.

This week, the Conservatives published a report commissioned by Iain Duncan Smith which proposed a three-month ‘cooling off’ period for couples considering divorce.

But the idea that couples would be ready to rethink their break-up after such a short period is unrealistic.

Change in family dynamics: Jane and her family before the divorce, now special occasions involve jugging the needs of her step family as well

Change in family dynamics: Jane and her family before the divorce, now special occasions involve jugging the needs of her step family as well

As I have discovered the hard way, it is only now, seven years after I received my decree nisi, that I am starting to realise the gravity of what I have done.

If it has taken me this long for the seismic shockwaves of divorce to really hit home, how are warring couples expected to take an informed decision about separation when they are in the midst of the rows, the tension and the recrimination that so often accompany the death throes of a marriage?

It is only now that I am experiencing something akin to the seven-year ‘itch’ of marriage; the seven-year ‘ache’ of divorce, a regular recurrence of the emotion I experienced at that recent wedding – a pang, a regret for what has gone for ever.

There is much in my post-divorced life that I am grateful for and happy about. I have gained a new partner and two stepchildren, and our ‘blended’ family is more harmonious than anyone could have expected.

My ex-husband, who is a media consultant, has ‘moved on’ to a perfectly ordered and elegant bachelor apartment and a social life (with a series of ever-younger girlfriends) that is the envy of his old married friends.

On the surface, we have ‘come through’ our split relatively unscathed. But however contented I might be with my new partner Robin – and he with me – we realise that our relationship is, well, somehow second-best.

‘I had no idea of the true complexity of unravelling a life that had been led in tandem with someone else for more than 20 years’

Our true loyalties lie not with our new ‘blended’ family, but with our own biological children and the ex-partners from whom we were both amicably divorced.

The important occasions in family life which I used to love – birthdays, Christmas and so on – are now difficult, trying times.

They are unsatisfactory no matter how hard we try; whether my partner and I attempt – as we have on several occasions – to unite our new and old lives or agree to simply be apart for the ‘sake’ of our children.

Now, for example, we spend Christmas apart – each ensconced with our children and ex-partners – which causes huge tension between us and has made us both dread the annual celebrations.

When my husband and I parted, my view of divorce was simplistic. I believed in the notion of divorce as a clean break and imagined a ‘fresh start’ would solve all my problems.

It wasn’t a decision made lightly, but I had no idea of the true complexity of unravelling a life that had been led in tandem with someone else for more than 20 years.

It was the death of my parents, within six months of each other in 2008, that was the catalyst for my change of heart.

At my father’s funeral, my brother made a moving address about the formidable achievements of an extraordinary man. He concluded that the greatest achievement of all was his remarkable partnership – over 60 years – with my mother.

Ashley and Cheryl Cole

Still going strong: Jane admires women like Cheryl Cole who can get past their husband’s infidelity for an enduring marriage

The fact that I had not been able to give my own children the security that I had taken for granted shamed and upset me almost as much as the loss of my adored parents.

My children hadn’t lost their parents when my husband and I divorced, but they had lost their family home and the continuity of family life that makes the journey from childhood to adulthood so much more comforting and secure.

It was at that funeral that I first experienced the feeling – part envy, part guilt and part regret – that has haunted me ever since.

With my new partner sympathetically sitting by my side and my ex-husband (who shared so much of my family history and yet had somehow been edited out of it), standing in the gallery, I truly understood what I had lost.

And there have been countless other moments in the past year when I have experienced similar feelings.

Last month, I attended a dinner party thrown by a close female friend whose own marriage had shifted perilously close to the edge of divorce, shortly after mine did, because her husband had an affair.

At the time of my break-up, my view of other people’s marriages was as skewed as my view of my own, and I viewed her reluctance to divorce in a cynical way – imagining that her main motivation was her fear of losing her status as a married woman.

‘It is impossible to go back, but at the same time my divorce makes it difficult for me to move forward’

But I now see there was a much more selfless reason for her tenacity. Because a marriage, however imperfect, isn’t just important in the happy moments of life – a child’s graduation or wedding for example – but also in the bad times.

Shortly after my friend and her errant husband were reunited, he lost his high-flying City job and he now admits that it would not have been possible for him to recover from that (they started a successful new business together) without her love and support.

Their relationship has changed – my friend admits that she is still wounded by his infidelity – but losing her trust in him for a time is nothing to what she would have lost had she gone ahead with her divorce.

Back then, I couldn’t understand her ability to accept his behaviour. But now I have nothing but admiration for the way she was able to take a longer view of her own marriage.

Indeed, I have a similar sense of admiration and e

nvy for a handful of other still-married friends whose relationships I had viewed somewhat cynically because they displayed such open animosity towards each other.

A good marriage – I now realise – is dependent upon the ability of both partners occasionally to be selfless and to compromise.

It is, of course, ironic that divorce has strengthened my belief in marriage. But then the years haven’t just changed my view of divorce; they have inevitably blurred my memory of the reasons for our split.

Somewhere in my new home there is a large brown envelope filled with the reasons why we parted, duly noted down by lawyers, but the passage of time has made those mutually exasperating irritations seem petty.

In 2002, they were real and seemingly insurmountable. Had someone told me the truth about divorce then – explained exactly how, in the years ahead, it would impact on my life – perhaps we would still be together.

WEDDING SCENE SHOWING BRIDE AND GROOM

I do two? Jane is unsure whether she will marry her new partner due to the scars left by the failure of her first marriage (file photo)

It is impossible to go back, but at the same time my divorce makes it difficult for me to move forward.

Maybe one day my new partner and I will marry, but the impact of our break-ups – he divorced several years before me – has so far prevented us from making a legal commitment to each other.

Our mutual fears that re-marriage will somehow invalidate our original families, and his concerns about the financial loss he would endure should our marriage subsequently break down, make the notion of a wedding unlikely.

But my divorce hasn’t just had a major impact on the likelihood of re-marrying. I worry, too, that it has affected my children’s view of marriage.

Will the repercussions of my break-up not only reverberate down the timeline of my life but also the timelines of my children’s lives?

My daughters were 19 and 22 when I divorced and my son, who lives with me, was just ten.

Seven years on, my daughters are both much more focused on their careers than their love-lives, and show no sign of settling down in the way that my cousin Sally’s daughter – several years younger – has done.

The long-term effects of my divorce, then, may not only deny me the opportunity to be a bride again and thus, in some way, legitimise my new relationship in the eyes of the world.

But they also could prevent me from being the mother-of-the-bride and – ultimately – a grandmother.

To paraphrase William Congreve’s famous quote: ‘Divorce in haste, repent at leisure.’

Why I (and, I suspect, many separated women) regret divorcing | Mail Online.

On Disney, Daughters, and Dads

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parentectomy, Parents rights on July 13, 2009 at 8:47 pm

by Michael J. Corso, Ph.D.

Once upon a time, in the land of Disney movies, if there was a daughter, there was no Dad. Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Snow White’s fathers are all more or less absent. In these popular tales, we meet young, fatherless women who are poisoned in spirit and body by some older, jealous witch-like woman. I have been wondering what message these movies communicate to my two daughters and their friends. Watching Disney’s recent feature length animated movies also made me curious as to whether there has been an evolution in the stories Disney is telling. These movies speak to us gathered around glowing screens the way myths spoke to our ancestors sitting around the embers of a fire. They represent archetypes of men and women, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers.

In that light, the tales above tell of the struggle between mother and maturing daughter in the absence of the father. Though the older female is usually a step, protecting us as in a dream from direct association with the biological mother, these stories animate an accurate, albeit fairy-tale version of the “traditional” family. A father away from his castle, a mother in charge at home, a daughter struggling toward independence while keeping house as little girls should. What is most distressing about these young women and the view objectionable today, is that each seems powerless to improve her situation.

Sleeping Beauty is, well… asleep. Utterly passive, her only hope is for the prince to arrive, slay the witch, and kiss Rose into arousal. The man has female fairies helping out, but he is clearly the hero. Cinderella, at least, is awake. She even has a helpful fairy godmother (the good side of the mother?). When she is imprisoned, however, Jacque and Gus-Gus, both mice and both male, heroically get the key and free her. The prince then completely liberates her by marrying her. Snow White, winner of several Oscars, will perhaps not win any awards in the “Best Female Role Model” category. Here is a woman mindlessly keeping house for not one, but seven men. The dwarves go whistling off to work every day and combined they make one dutiful, though moody, husband. Snow White’s hoped for her Prince comes and, though she is unconscious, he wakes her with a kiss so they can live happily ever after.

To read the rest of the story, click the link below:

On Disney, Daughters, and Dads.

Speakers on Parental Alienation at We the People Fest In Washington D.C. | Coshocton Tribune

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, fathers rights, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights on July 10, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Local group to speak in D.C.

COSHOCTON – C.A.S.O.O. and founder L Wilson will speak at the upcoming We The People Fest in Washington D.C. for the second year.

Last year the group attended and held a vigil for children who died while in the care of Children Services across the country. They rallied in Ohio for reform on the issue including Coshocton to create awareness and placed a video on the Internet called No Place To Hide upon returning from D.C.

The issue of parental and children alienation syndrome has grown and thousands are expected to attend this event with more than 100 speakers from across the country speaking and 18 different bands attending to play music in the range of Hip Hop and Christian Music.

The group will hold candle vigils for the three day event held July 16-19 at Senate Park and Capitol Hill Park.

via BRIEFS | coshoctontribune.com | Coshocton Tribune.

Change Views on Marriage? – The Heritage Foundation

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Feminism, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, kidnapped children, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation on July 10, 2009 at 12:00 pm

June 30, 2009
Change views on marriage
Failing Marriages

From reality show stars like Jon and Kate Gosselin to politicians to the folks next door – what we thought were the most solid of marriages are falling apart.

Viewers tuned in to TLC’s “Jon & Kate Plus 8” because it gave them hope that it is still possible to have a big, happy family led by a mom and dad who overcome all odds because of their undying commitment to each other. Others supported political leaders who we thought would fight to uphold timeless values, including the institution of marriage.

Many of us are now feeling a bit sick to our stomachs at revelations of infidelity – and are beginning to wonder whether there is any real hope left for this sacrament called marriage.

Our toxic liberal media culture tells us that the “old-fashioned” institution of marriage should be reinvented. This attitude feeds the selfishness at the root of all marital ills. Many people now casually shrug their shoulders and decide in advance that if they aren’t happy in marriage they will just walk away. It’s time to obliterate this cavalier attitude toward the most sacred of relationships.

America’s children and our national future suffer when mom and dad reject their vows. Consider this stunning trend: In 1950, for every 100 babies that were born in this country, 12 were born to a broken family; today, for every 100 babies that are born in America, 60 are born to a broken family. If we continue along this trajectory, our nation is doomed. The family unit has always been the basic building block of civil society. If you damage the DNA of the family unit, you end up radically changing the nation as a whole – and with tragic consequences. Not least among them are the broken hearts and lives of our children.

How to Save Your Family from Falling Apart

Fidelity, commitment and selflessness are timeless values that we must uphold in our own lives – regardless of who else may have trouble doing so. They are the keys to having strong, happy individuals and strong, happy families.

The social science data are clear: Men, women and children are all better off financially, emotionally and physically when they are part of an intact family unit where mom and dad are fully committed to each other. (Visit the Heritage Foundation’s http://www.FamilyFacts.org for more information.)

We know in our hearts this is true. Yet how many of us really work or sacrifice to make our own marriages strong? We’re willing to give our “all” to our jobs and even our hobbies. So why not start spending as much time on building your relationship with your spouse as you do on your favorite TV shows and sports? Can you imagine how vastly improved your marriage would be if you put even half the energy into it that you put into your career?

If you need professional help, please get it. Forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration are as important as fidelity and commitment – and there are counselors who can help guide you and your spouse to embrace them. Just make sure yours believes in biblical guidelines and is determined to help you save your marriage. A good place to find one is www. FamilyLife.com.

It is an amazingly beautiful experience to be married to a person who is fully committed to me and who I know loves me unconditionally. But there is something even more fulfilling than having a faithful mate: Being the person that my husband can depend on. Being the one who says, “I have your back. You can count on me. I will always love you.”

Vow today, anew, to become that person. Refuse to give up or to abandon the heart that trusted you with theirs.

Rebecca Hagelin is senior communications fellow for the Heritage Foundation and the author of “30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family” and runs the Web site HowToSaveYourFamily.com.

First appeared in the Washington Times

Change views on marriage.

Families without Fathers by David Popenoe – New Book

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Feminism, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on July 3, 2009 at 3:30 pm
This a book on American fatherhood and the result of children growing up in homes without dads.

This book is due out on July 15, 2009.  The author is David Popenoe is professor of sociology emeritus and co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. He is the author or editor of numerous books and articles, and as co-chair of the Council on Families in America, he was the primary author of its pioneering 1995 report Marriage in America: A Report to the Nation.

Families without Fathers
Fatherhood, Marriage and Children in American Society

Author(s): David Popenoe

jacket Image for Families without Fathers

Author Biography:
David Popenoe is professor of sociology emeritus and co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. He is the author or editor of numerous books and articles, and as co-chair of the Council on Families in America, he was the primary author of its pioneering 1995 report Marriage in America: A Report to the Nation.

Families without Fathers by David Popenoe : Eurospan Bookstore.

Fathers wanted, fathers needed

In Alienation of Affection, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, custody, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Feminism, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on July 3, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Fathers wanted, fathers needed

By Jesse Muhammad
Staff Writer | Last updated: Jul 3, 2009 – 8:55:36 AM

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Father’s Day, with its annual commercialized corporate advertisements and gift giving, has come and gone, but one group of men in America must continue year-round work to break the stereotype that they are irresponsible, no-good and indifferent towards parenting—the group of men is Black fathers.

fathers_gr1.jpg


‘I don’t have time to make excuses, because I have a baby on the way. Also, I have linked up with a few older men who are positive role models in my neighborhood because we as young males need guidance. I don’t want to be a ‘baby daddy.’ I want to be a father.’
—Robert Jackson, 18


Black children living in fatherless homes exceed 50 percent; single Black mothers are increasingly at the helm of households, not to mention the number of Black children having to talk to incarcerated fathers through a double pane of glass.While analysts and the media often focus on the problem, Dr. Rozario Slack and other advocates seek to counter the negative image with examples of Black men who are successful husbands, fathers and role models.

“We can’t just continue to point out the statistics. We already know them. But who is offering assistance to the men and being the example is the question. Where are those stories?” asked Dr. Slack.

Dr. Slack is the founder of Rozario Slack Enterprises in Chattanooga, Tenn. He travels across the country conducting seminars about marriage, fathering and other issues that impact children and families. He challenges Black men to develop healthy, wholesome family, and marital relationships. He has also published several books that offer real life tools.

“We help young men with pre-birth preparation, ways to avoid infidelity, financial management, and other means by which to save their families,” said Dr. Slack. He has been married over 16 years and has three children ages 13, 10, and 6.

“I am blessed to have an example in my parents who have been married for 58 years,” said Dr. Slack, who is also the head pastor of Temple of Faith Deliverance Church of God in Christ. “Divorce is far from my mind. We have to show that President Obama is only an example of other great Black husbands and fathers that exist. With all due respect, he is not the only one. Let’s push them out front.”

Strengthening relationships, providing services

To groups such as M3 Math & Science Academy in Berkeley, Calif., Black boys are the most important issue facing the Black community today. With one-third of all Black men in the country connected to the penal system and a more than 50 percent high school dropout rate, the situation is serious but the group hasn’t given up.

Since its inception, a central part of M3’s strategy has been getting more Black fathers involved in their sons’ lives, explained K.G. Charles-Harris, M3’s executive director. “Fathers are necessary for boys and the value of a father’s emotional support is irreplaceable,” said Mr. Charles-Harris.

“While the effort is still nascent, M3’s initial success bodes well for the future of the program,” said Prentice Parr, M3’s program manager. “The amount of involved fathers or male guardians has more than doubled over the past year. This is having a significant effect on the boy’s behavior and self-perception.”

In a study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, researchers found Black adolescent boys in households without a father are more at risk for developing low self-esteem compared with other Black adolescents. Further statistics noted that 69 percent of Black births are to unmarried women, compared to 25 percent for Whites.

According to the group Fathers Who Care, children from fatherless homes represent 71 percent of pregnant teenagers; 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children; 63 percent of youth suicides; 75 percent of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers; 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions; 85 percent of all youth sitting in prison; and 85 percent of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders.

Fathers Who Care is a comprehensive,father friendly community social service initiative based in Chicago. It was created to help indigent custodial and non-custodial fathers. The group provides services designed to empower fathers to build positive relationships with their children, strengthen parental involvementskills and promote responsible fatherhood.

“Picking up your child, holding him or her and giving them a kiss and saying I love you, means more than money or a new toy. No man has a greater gift than to give of himself,” said Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.), who co-sponsored a Black males expo led by Fathers Who Care on June 6 in Chicago.

“One fact that continues to appear is that our children are in crisis, big time. And part of the reason for this crisis, I believe, is due to fathers not being regularly involved in the lives of their children,” said Congressman Davis.

‘I don’t want to be a ‘baby daddy,’ I want to be a father’

A good example of a father is what 18-year-old Robert Jackson of Dallas did not have growing up in the projects. “My mother has been the only father I knew and the drug dealers in the streets became my uncles at a young age. I was always getting in trouble. But now that I am about to have a child, I had to have a change in my lifestyle,” he told The Final Call.

His girlfriend is eight months pregnant. They just graduated from high school with no plans of attending college. “I did not expect this to happen so now I am looking for a job because I do not want to hustle out in these streets. But the economic times are so hard that young people such as me are finding it hard to get a job,” he said.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor statistics, the unemployment rate among Black teens is six times the national rate. That means over 295,000 Black teenagers are actively seeking employment.

“I think the surge in young males becoming fathers has contributed to the ongoing stereotypes of Black fatherhood because many of these young people are unprepared,” said Dr. Felicia Wilson, a psychologist based in Las Vegas. She mentors teenage girls who become pregnant in high school.

“Yes, the economic times are hard but we have to teach our youth responsibility when it comes to sex. Teen pregnancy is prevalent so it creates situations where young men are running off. But all of the boys are not running despite the media coverage,” said Dr. Wilson.

“I don’t have time to make excuses because I have a baby on the way. Also I have linked up with a few older men who are positive role models in my neighborhood because we as young males need guidance. I don’t want to be a ‘baby daddy.’ I want to be a father,” said Mr. Jackson.

Dr. Wilson pointed out that many Black males get imprisoned for not paying child support and struggle to have relationships with the mothers of their children.

“Many young girls listen to their peers. So even when the young man is doing the best he can, she may still file child support out of spite,” said Dr. Wilson. “Then the relationship between them begins to take a downward spiral and the child suffers. It’s a dismal cycle which can cause a Black male with a clean prison record to now have a warrant for his arrest for child support.”

Victor Jackson, of Houston, was 17-years-old when his baby girl Ashyri was born. Out of immaturity he says he allowed the mother of his child to make all of the decisions, which he regrets.

“I wish I would have taken charge of the situation but I did not know how,” Mr. Jackson, 26, told The Final Call. “She promised she would never file child support on me but once we separated she did otherwise.”

In 2004, Mr. Jackson had child support documents delivered at his doorstep saying he owed more than $17,000. Being without work due to having a dishonorable discharge from the military, he avoided an arrest warrant by staying with friends.

“When I filed my taxes this year, they took the entire $2,300 from me. It’s rough,” said Mr. Jackson. “But whenever I get any kind of money, I give it directly to her mother because I want to do for my child.”

New York-based hip hop artist and father NYOIL launched two initiatives to strengthen the presence of Black fathers in the lives of their children and help them find jobs. The programs are called Where is My Dad? and the EMP Initiative.

“The purpose of Where is My Dad? is to assist Black fathers by providing information to help in the re-imaging of the world’s view of us,” said NYOIL, a father of three children.

The EMP (Empathy, Employment & Powerment) is a partnership with Distinctive Personnel, which is one of the largest Latino staffing agencies in the county. Through EMP, Black fathers can get assistance with job searches, resumé writing, interviewing skills, career counseling and green jobs preparation.

“People who are employed are empowered. This is not about talk, but action,” said NYOIL. He also volunteers with the Tsunami Track Club based in Staten Island.

Houston-based hip hop artist Zin travels frequently to Fort Worth, Texas, to visit his eight-year-old daughter born from a previous marriage. “Even though her mother and I are divorced, we have worked to build a friendship because it’s all about what is best for our daughter. It’s still a struggle but just because you are not with the mother doesn’t mean you should abandon your children,” he said.

Although his parents are no longer a couple, 18-year-old college bound student Keith J. Davis Jr. has a model relationship with his father who instilled in him a desire to be an entrepreneur.

“My father taught me early on the skills of negotiating, marketing, accounting and sales. I have been doing this since the age of 10 when he was selling wholesale clothes out of his trunk,” said the young Mr. Davis. “Without my father in my life I would not be where I am. Both of my parents are my support system.”

His father, Keith Davis Sr., sits at the helm of a marketing firm that has been in existence for over 10 years. “I have always tried to lead by example, instead of telling Keith Jr. how to do something, I would show him. The best teacher is a good example. We have to take care of our children,” he said.

Fathers wanted, fathers needed.

United Nations and Fatherhood policies

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, custody, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Freedom, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment on July 3, 2009 at 2:13 pm

United Nations and Fatherhood policies

As global leaders in policy formulation the UN agencies are a rich source of inspiration about global initatives on fatherhood and it’s importance.

All agencies are committed to the UN Millenium Development Goals. Fathers must be included in the picture if the MDGs are to be most effectively met in sustainable ways. For almost every goal, the father’s role makes a difference, as does the mother’s. Men in families may influence child survival, growth and development through the decisions they make about resource allocation, through supporting women in decision making, through economic contributions to the family which make the seeking of care more possible and through their caring for children.

(See also the MDGs and Africa paper updated in 2007 (download at bottom of this page). We would love to develop our understanding of where committed fatherhood can achieve the MDGs and hope to do so to help with the achievement of the goals!

via :: africanfathers.org :: United Nations and Fatherhood policies.

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.

FATHERING IS A FEMINIST ISSUE

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Feminism, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation on June 30, 2009 at 7:05 pm

FATHERING IS A FEMINIST ISSUE

Louise B. Silverstein 1

1 Yeshiva University

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Louise B. Silverstein, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx, NY 10461.

Copyright 1996 Human Sciences Press

ABSTRACT

Feminist theory has not yet addressed the ways in which the ideology of fatherhood has contributed to interlocking inequalities for women in both the workplace and family life. This paper is an effort to inject a feminist voice into the redefinition of fathering, which I see as essential both to the achievement of equality for women and to the reconstruction of the masculine gender role. I begin by describing how our unconscious gender ideology pressures all families to become traditional patriarchal families. I address feminist concerns about the dangers of over-valuing fathers’contributions to child development. I review the research evidence on whether fathers have the same potential for nurturing as mothers, and examine gay fathering in particular. Finally, I suggest that redefining fathering to emphasize nurturing as well as providing will place attachment and connection at the center of gender socialization for men. Masculinity would then become much less oppressive for men as well as for women.

First draft received: June 6, 1995 Final draft received: August 22, 1995

via Wiley InterScience :: JOURNALS :: Psychology of Women Quarterly.

Mom’s House, Dad’s House – Two Books on Divorce

In Best Interest of the Child, Childrens Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Marriage, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Relocation, Parentectomy, Parents rights on June 28, 2009 at 10:20 pm

For Kids on divorce, stepfamilies, and staying strong

Parents, if you only read one book about divorce and stepfamilies,
make it this one!

This wonderful book is a quick but profound read for parents, a lifesaving handbook for kids. Find immediate, concrete, and practical solutions! Get an inside look at how to reduce anxiety, accept family changes, encourage skill building, self-esteem, resilience and family teamwork. It’s alive with examples, stories, tips, ways to solve problems and “words to try”. 20 Chapters, 271 pages.

See “Kids and Parents” for more information

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Mom’s House, Dad’s House.

For Parents on divorce, children,
custody, and Parenting Plans

This classic guide can help you and your family heal

Often called “the bible”, this is the comprehensive guide that people return to again and again. The latest edition has 5 more chapters and 100 additional pages on family law, custody, dealing with the other parent, mediation, Parenting Plans, meeting children’s needs, one and two homes, building family strengths, and much more. 20 Chapters, 8 Appendices, 381 pages.

See “Parents” for more information