mkg4583

Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Marriage, Parentage, and the Constitution of the Family

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Liberty, Marriage, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on January 28, 2010 at 4:33 pm
January 27, 2010
Marriage, Parentage, and the Constitution of the Family
WebMemo #2783

The family is a prime institution of civil society. In its origins, it is both natural and pre-political. Family is not the creature of the state but a network of relationships between a man and a woman, their offspring (if any), and the families from which they themselves come and that their union will create.

In the modern era, temptations to experiment with the institutions of marriage and family have multiplied. With less emphasis on the long-term responsibilities of marriage, the consequences of redefining the institution for children and society are subordinated to the desires of adults. Rather than compound these weaknesses, policymakers and citizens should consider and adopt necessary reforms to strengthen families and rebuild civil society as the engine of the greatest human goods.

Marriage as a Natural Institution

The Compact Oxford English Dictionary defines marriage straightforwardly as the “formal union of a man and a woman, by which they become husband and wife.”[1] The United States Census Bureau defines family as a “group of two people or more (one of whom is the householder) related by birth, marriage, or adoption.”[2] Until recently, the plain meaning of these definitions has been universally recognized.

The underpinnings of sexual differentiation and complementarity have been understood as fixed in natural law. The jurist Joseph Story spoke for this tradition when he wrote, “Marriage is treated by all civilized societies as a peculiar and favored contract. It is in its origin a contract of natural law.”[3]

The marriage contract derives its strength from its conformity with the truth about the human person. Whether or not spouses in a particular marriage are able or willing to have children, they are themselves the children of one man and one woman. Their coming together is the extension into a new generation of the pairings of men and women. Marriage is not only a conjunction of individuals but the intertwining of family heritages. Marriage is the intragenerational expression of the union of man and woman that results from, and often results in, its intergenerational expression: the child.

The simplicity of this truth accounts for the nearly universal history and expression of marriage across cultures. Despite the enormity of the pressures marriage and family face today, the vast majority of people in American society express the desires to marry, experience a lifelong faithful relationship,[4] have children,[5] and raise those children into adulthood where they are able to establish families of their own.

Protecting Marriage Protects Society

The personal benefits of marriage to men and women, their children, and the social benefits to neighborhoods and nations are extensive. Author Michael Novak famously referred to the family unit as the “original Department of Health, Education and Welfare.”

The intact, married family performs best on measure after measure of social outcomes for parents and children alike. For example:

  • Married adults have better health, live longer lives, suffer fewer accidents or injuries, experience less depression, and enjoy greater happiness than either single or cohabiting adults.[6] Health benefits are particularly pronounced for married men.[7]
  • Married women experience less domestic violence than single or divorced women, and they are the victims of fewer acts of violent crime overall.[8]
  • Children raised in intact, married families with their biological mother and father experience a vast array of benefits that span the age spectrum and persist into their own adulthood, including achieving literacy, avoiding teenage pregnancy and juvenile crime, graduating from high school, and attaining marital success.[9]

The fracturing of a family is not the breaking of a single link in a chain but the opening of a hole in a protective net. One scholar has referred to five concentric “rings of community” that the family affects:(1) their unborn children, (2) kin or extended family, (3) the neighborhood, (4) the community of faith, and (5) the nation as community.[10] Damage to one of these rings affects all the others.

Marriage is a wealth-creating and wealth-preserving institution. One proximate result of its weakening has been the growth of government as substitute provider. As one prominent economist has remarked, “Deinstitutionalization of marriage will lead to an expansion of the size and scope of the state.”[11]

Decades of Failed Experiments

Current challenges to the primacy of marriage and family as well-established civil institutions are often premised on the assertion that they will inflict little damage beyond that done by previous changes in law and culture. Those prior experiments, however, bear witness to the unintended consequences of ill-considered changes in public policy.

No-Fault Divorce. Advocates of no-fault divorce assured policymakers that the impact on children would be minimal if not beneficial.[12] National studies of the children of that generation who are now adults provide a clearer picture, as do surveys of divorced adults.

While many marriages are not salvageable (particularly in the presence of abuse, adultery or addiction), a recent University of Texas study of ever-divorced spouses found that only a third of them felt that they had done enough to try to save their marriage.[13] Moreover, children of divorce disproportionately suffer from such maladies as depression, compromised health, childhood sexual abuse, arrests, and addiction.[14]

Welfare. The expanding programs of the Great Society, while well-intentioned and effective in meeting short-term needs for basic necessities, also had long-term and unwelcome effects on intact families.

Until welfare reform in 1996, anti-poverty initiatives in the United States contributed to the self-defeating financing of family breakdown. Marriage remains the primary route out of poverty for low-income couples, and children who grow up in single-parent homes are five times more likely to live in poverty than children in two-parent homes.[15]

In each of these instances, experiments with family form and support mechanisms have inadequately considered the needs of children. They have spurred calls for reform, frequently from the children themselves as they reach maturity. These calls remind policymakers that no period of family decline has proved inevitable or irreversible.

Go with What Works

The decline in the most fundamental indicators of the health of marriage over the past 40 years is real. Rather than risk further decline in this core institution of civil society through additional experiments with the nature of marriage, policymakers would be wise to turn their attention to reforms that capitalize on the lessons of prior eras.

Blueprints are proliferating for the strengthening of traditional marriage.[16] Attention to these blueprints should be the first concern of policymakers seeking the common good of a marriage-centered and child-focused culture. The well-being of this generation and of generations to come depends on their success.

Chuck Donovan is Senior Research Fellow in the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation.


[1]Oxford University Press, “Marriage,” Compact Oxford English Dictionary, at http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/marriage?view=uk (January 11, 2010).

[2]U.S. Census Bureau, “Current Population Survey Definitions and Explanations,” at http://www.census.gov/population/www/cps/cpsdef.html (January 11, 2010).

[3]Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Conflict of Laws, cited in Matthew Spalding, We Still Hold These Truths: Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming Our Future (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2009), p. 157.

[4]Mindy E. Scott, Erin Schelar, Jennifer Manlove, and Carol Cui, “Young Adult Attitudes About Relationships and Marriage: Times May Have Changed, But Expectations Remain High,” Child Trends, July 2009, pp. 4-5, at http://www.childtrends.org/Files//Child_Trends-2009_07_08
_RB_YoungAdultAttitudes.pdf
(January 8, 2010).

[5]Frank Newport, “Desire to Have Children Alive and Well in America,” Gallup.com, August 19, 2003, at http://www.gallup.com/poll/9091/desire
-children-alive-well-america.aspx
(January 11, 2010).

[6]Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher, The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially (New York: Broadway, 2000), cited in the Witherspoon Institute, Marriage and the Public Good (Princeton, NJ: Witherspoon Institute, 2006), p. 31.

[7]Jennifer Steinhauer, ‘Studies Find Big Benefits in Marriage,” The New York Times, April 10, 1995, A10, at http://www.nytimes.com/1995/04/10/us/studies
-find-big-benefits-in-marriage.html?pagewanted=1
(January 8, 2010).

[8]Witherspoon Institute, Marriage and the Public Good, p. 33.

[9]Ibid., pp. 22-29; see also, generally, Patrick F. Fagan, “Special Collection: Mapping America: Marriage, Family and the Common Good,” October 9, 2009, at http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=WX09J01 (January 9, 2010).

[10]Allan Carlson, Conjugal America: On the Public Purposes of America (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Press, 2007), p. 42.

[11]Jennifer Roback Morse, “The Limited Government Case for Marriage,” in Jennifer A. Marshall and J. D. Foster, eds., Indivisible: Social and Economic Foundations of American Liberty (Washington, D.C.: The Heritage Foundation, 2009), p. 31.

[12]Elizabeth Marquardt, Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children and Divorce (New York: Crown Publishers, 2005), p. 169.

[13]Ibid., Norval Glenn, foreword, p. xxii.

[14]Ibid., p. 189.

[15]Robert Rector, “Reducing Poverty by Revitalizing Marriage in Low-Income Communities: A Memo to President-elect Obama,” Heritage Foundation Special Report No. 45, January 13, 2009, at http://www.heritage.org/
Research/Family/sr0045.cfm
.

[16]See especially David Blankenhorn and Linda Malone-Colon, The Marriage Index: A Proposal to Establish Leading Marriage Indicators (New York and Hampton, VA: Institute for American Values and National Center on African American Marriages and Parenting, 2009), pp. 14-22. The authors offer 101 specific ideas to strengthen the institution of marriage without alteration of its historical terms.

Marriage, Parentage, and the Constitution of the Family.

Advertisements

Feminist Gulag: No Prosecution Necessary

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, custody, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Feminism, Fit Parent, Foster CAre Abuse, Foster Care Scam, Non-custodial fathers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Disorders, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on January 9, 2010 at 4:50 pm
Feminist Gulag: No Prosecution Necessary | Print | E-mail
Written by Stephen Baskerville
Thursday, 07 January 2010 00:00
//

proseutionLiberals rightly criticize America’s high rate of incarceration. Claiming to be the freest country on Earth, the United States incarcerates a larger percentage of its population than Iran or Syria. Over two million people, or nearly one in 50 adults, excluding the elderly, are incarcerated, the highest proportion in the world. Some seven million Americans, or 3.2 percent, are under penal supervision.

Many are likely to be innocent. In The Tyranny of Good Intentions (2000), Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence Stratton document how due process protections are routinely ignored, grand juries are neutered, frivolous prosecutions abound, and jury trials are increasingly rare. More recently, in Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent (2009), Harvey Silverglate shows how federal prosecutors are criminalizing more and more of the population. “Innocence projects” — projects of “a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing” — attest that people are railroaded into prison. As we will see, incarcerations without trial are now routine.

The U.S. prison population has risen dramatically in the last four decades. Ideologically, the rise is invariably attributed to “law-and-order” conservatives, who indeed seldom deny their own role (or indifference). In fact, few conservatives understand what they are defending.

Conservatives who rightly decry “judicial activism” in civil law are often blind to the connected perversion of criminal justice. While a politicized judiciary does free the guilty, it also criminalizes the -innocent.

But traditionalists upholding law and order were not an innovation of the 1970s. A newer and more militant force helped create the “carceral state.” In The Prison and the Gallows (2006), feminist scholar Marie Gottschalk points out that traditional conservatives were not the prime instigators, and blames “interest groups and social movements not usually associated with penal conservatism.” Yet she names only one: “the women’s movement.”

While America’s criminalization may have a number of contributing causes, it coincides precisely with the rise of organized feminism. “The women’s movement became a vanguard of conservative law-and-order politics,” Gottschalk writes. “Women’s organizations played a central role in the consolidation of this conservative victims’ rights movement that emerged in the 1970s.”

Gottschalk then twists her counterintuitive finding to condemn “conservatives” for the influx, portraying feminists as passive victims without responsibility. “Feminists prosecuting the war on rape and domestic violence” were somehow “captured and co-opted by the law-and-order agenda of politicians, state officials, and conservative groups.” Yet nothing indicates that feminists offered the slightest resistance to this political abduction.

Feminists, despite Gottschalk’s muted admission of guilt, did lead the charge toward wholesale incarceration. Feminist ideology has radicalized criminal justice and eroded centuries-old constitutional protections: New crimes have been created; old crimes have been redefined politically; the distinction between crime and private behavior has been erased; the presumption of innocence has been eliminated; false accusations go unpunished; patently innocent people are jailed without trial. “The new feminist jurisprudence hammers away at some of the most basic foundations of our criminal law system,” Michael Weiss and Cathy Young write in a Cato Institute paper. “Chief among them is the presumption that the accused is innocent until proven guilty.”

Feminists and other sexual radicals have even managed to influence the law to target conservative groups themselves. Racketeering statutes are marshaled to punish non-violent abortion demonstrators, and “hate crimes” laws attempt to silence critics of the homosexual agenda. Both are supported by “civil liberties” groups. And these are only the most notorious; there are others.

Feminists have been the most authoritarian pressure group throughout much of American history. “It is striking what an uncritical stance earlier women reformers took toward the state,” Gottschalk observes. “They have played central roles in … uncritically pushing for more enhanced policing powers.”

What Gottschalk is describing is feminism’s version of Stalinism: the process whereby radical movements commandeer the instruments of state repression as they trade ideological purity for power.

Path to Prison
The first politicized crime was rape. Suffragettes advocated castrating rapists. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, who opposed it for everyone else, wanted rapists executed.

Aggressive feminist lobbying in the legislatures and courts since the 1970s redefined rape to make it indistinguishable from consensual sex. Over time, a woman no longer had to prove that she was forced to have non-consensual sex, but a man had to prove that sex was consensual (or prove that no sex had, in fact, happened). Non-consent was gradually eliminated as a definition, and consent became simply a mitigating factor for the defense. By 1989, the Washington State Supreme Court openly shifted the burden of proving consent to the defendant when it argued that the removal of legislative language requiring non-consent for rape “evidences legislative intent to shift the burden of proof on the issue to the defense” and approved this blatantly unconstitutional presumption of guilt. The result, write Weiss and Young, was not “to jail more violent rapists — lack of consent is easy enough for the state to prove in those cases — but to make it easier to send someone to jail for failing to get an explicit nod of consent from an apparently willing partner before engaging in sex.”

Men accused of rape today enjoy few safeguards. “People can be charged with virtually no evidence,” says Boston former sex-crimes prosecutor Rikki Klieman. “If a female comes in and says she was sexually assaulted, then on her word alone, with nothing else — and I mean nothing else, no investigation — the police will go out and arrest someone.”

Almost daily we see men released after decades in prison because DNA testing proves they were wrongly convicted. Yet the rape industry is so powerful that proof of innocence is no protection. “A defendant who can absolutely prove his innocence … can nonetheless still be convicted, based solely on the word of the accuser,” write Stuart Taylor and K.C. Johnson in Until Proven Innocent. In North Carolina, simply “naming the person accused” along with the time and place “will support a verdict of guilty.” Crime laboratories are notorious for falsifying results to obtain convictions.

The feminist dogma that “women never lie” goes largely unchallenged. “Any honest veteran sex assault investigator will tell you that rape is one of the most falsely reported crimes,” says Craig Silverman, a former Colorado prosecutor known for zealous prosecutions. Purdue University sociologist Eugene Kanin found that “41% of the total disposed rape cases were officially declared false” during a nine-year period, “that is, by the complainant’s admission that no rape had occurred.” Kanin discovered three functions of false accusations: “providing an alibi, seeking revenge, and obtaining sympathy and attention.” The Center for Military Readiness (CMR) adds that “false rape accusations also have been filed to extort money from celebrities, to gain sole custody of children in divorce cases, and even to escape military deployments to war zones.”

In the infamous Duke University lacrosse case, prosecutor Michael Nifong suppressed exculpating evidence and prosecuted men he knew to be innocent, according to Taylor and Johnson. Nifong himself was eventually disbarred, but he had willing accomplices among assistant prosecutors, police, crime lab technicians, judges, the bar, and the media. “Innocent men are arrested and even imprisoned as a result of bogus claims,” writes Linda Fairstein, former head of the sex-crimes unit for the Manhattan District Attorney, who estimates that half of all reports are unfounded.

Innocence projects are almost wholly occupied with rape cases (though they try to disguise this fact). Yet no systematic investigation has been undertaken by the media or civil libertarians into why so many innocent citizens are so easily incarcerated on fabricated allegations. The exoneration of the Duke students on obviously trumped-up charges triggered few investigations — and no official ones — to determine how widespread such rigged justice is against those unable to garner media attention.

The world of rape accusations displays features similar to other feminist gender crimes: media invective against the accused, government-paid “victim advocates” to secure convictions, intimidation of anyone who defends the accused. “Nobody dependent on the mainstream media for information about rape would have any idea how frequent false claims are,” write Taylor and Johnson. “Most journalists simply ignore evidence contradicting the feminist line.” What they observe of rape characterizes feminist justice generally: “calling a rape complainant ‘the victim’ — with no ‘alleged’.” “Unnamed complainants are labeled ‘victims’ even before legal proceedings determine that a crime has been committed,” according to CMR.

Rape hysteria, false accusations, and distorted scholarship are rampant on university campuses, which ostensibly exist to pursue truth. “If a woman did falsely accuse a man of rape,” opines one “women’s studies” graduate, “she may have had reasons to. Maybe she wasn’t raped, but he clearly violated her in some way.” This mentality pervades feminist jurisprudence, precluding innocence by obliterating the distinction between crime and hurt feelings. A Vassar College assistant dean believes false accusations foster men’s education: “I think it ideally initiates a process of self-exploration.… ‘If I didn’t violate her, could I have?’”

Conservative critics of the Duke fiasco avoided feminism’s role but instead emphasized race — a minor feature of the case but a safer one to criticize. Little evidence indicates that white people are being systematically incarcerated on fabricated accusations of non-existent crimes against blacks. This is precisely what is happening to men, both white and black, accused of rape and other “gender” crimes that feminists have turned into a political agenda.

The Kobe Bryant case demonstrates that a black man accused by a white woman is also vulnerable. Historically, this was the more common pattern. Our race-conscious society is conditioned to remember lynching as a racial atrocity, forgetting that the lynched were usually black men accused by white women. Feminist scholars spin this as “the dominant white male ideology behind lynching … that white womanhood was in need of protection against black men,” suggesting fantastically that white “patriarchy” used rape accusations to break up a progressive political romance developing between black men and white women. With false rape accusations, the races have changed, but the sexes have remained constant.

Violent Lies
“Domestic violence” is an even more purely political crime. “The battered-women’s movement turned out to be even more vulnerable to being co-opted by the state and conservative penal forces,” writes Gottschalk, again with contortion. Domestic violence groups are uniformly feminist, not “conservative,” though here too conservatives have enabled feminists to exchange principles for power.

Like rape, domestic “violence” is defined so loosely that it need not be violent. The U.S. Justice Department definition includes “extreme jealousy and possessiveness” and “name calling and constant criticizing.” For such “crimes” men are jailed with no trial. In fact, the very category of “domestic” violence was developed largely to circumvent due process requirements of conventional assault statutes. A study published in Criminology and Public Policy found that no one accused of domestic violence could be found innocent, since every arrestee received punishment.

Here, too, false accusations are rewarded. “Women lie every day,” attests Ottawa Judge Dianne Nicholas. “Every day women in court say, ‘I made it up. I’m lying. It didn’t happen’ — and they’re not charged.” Amazingly, bar associations sponsor seminars instructing women how to fabricate accusations. Thomas Kiernan, writing in the New Jersey Law Journal, expressed his astonishment at “the number of women attending the seminars who smugly — indeed boastfully — announced that they had already sworn out false or grossly exaggerated domestic violence complaints against their hapless husbands, and that the device worked!” He added, “The lawyer-lecturers invariably congratulated the self-confessed miscreants.”

Domestic violence has become “a backwater of tautological pseudo-theory,” write Donald Dutton and Kenneth Corvo in Aggression and Violent Behavior. “No other area of established social welfare, criminal justice, public health, or behavioral intervention has such weak evidence in support of mandated practice.” Scholars and practitioners have repeatedly documented how “allegations of abuse are now used for tactical advantage” in custody cases and “become part of the gamesmanship of divorce.” Domestic abuse has become “an area of law mired in intellectual dishonesty and injustice,” according to the Rutgers Law Review.

Restraining orders removing men from their homes and children are summarily issued without any evidence. Due process protections are so routinely ignored that, the New Jersey Law Journal reports, one judge told his colleagues, “Your job is not to become concerned about the constitutional rights of the man that you’re violating.” Attorney David Heleniak calls New Jersey’s statute “a due process fiasco” in the Rutgers Law Review. New Jersey court literature openly acknowledges that due process is ignored because it “perpetuates the cycle of power and control whereby the [alleged?] perpetrator remains the one with the power and the [alleged?] victim remains powerless.” Omitting “alleged” is standard even in statutes, where, the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reports, “the mere allegation of domestic abuse … may shift the burden of proof to the defendant.”

Special “integrated domestic violence courts” presume guilt and then, says New York’s openly feminist chief judge, “make batterers and abusers take responsibility for their actions.” They can seize property, including homes, without the accused being convicted or even formally charged or present to defend himself. Lawyer Walter Fox describes these courts as “pre-fascist”: “Domestic violence courts … are designed to get around the protections of the criminal code. The burden of proof is reduced or removed, and there’s no presumption of innocence.”

Forced confessions are widespread. Pennsylvania men are incarcerated unless they sign forms stating, “I have physically and emotionally battered my partner.” The man must then describe the violence, even if he insists he committed none. “I am responsible for the violence I used,” the forms declare. “My behavior was not provoked.”

Child-support Chokehold
Equally feminist is the child-support machinery, whereby millions have their family finances plundered and their lives placed under penal supervision without having committed any legal infraction. Once they have nothing left to loot, they too are incarcerated without trial.

Contrary to government propaganda (and Common Law tradition), child support today has little to do with fathers abandoning their children, deserting their marriages, or even agreeing to a divorce. It is automatically assessed on all non-custodial parents, even those involuntarily divorced without grounds (“no-fault”). It is an entitlement for all divorcing mothers, regardless of their actions, and coerced from fathers, regardless of their fidelity. The “deadbeat dad” is far less likely to be a man who abandoned the offspring he callously sired than to be a loving father who has been, as attorney Jed Abraham writes in From Courtship to Courtroom, “forced to finance the filching of his own children.”

Federalized enforcement was rationalized to reimburse taxpayers for welfare. Under feminist pressure, taxpayers instead subsidize middle-class divorce, through federal payments to states based on the amount of child support they collect. By profiting off child support at federal taxpayer expense, state governments have a financial incentive to encourage as many single-mother homes as possible. They, in turn, encourage divorce with a guaranteed, tax-free windfall to any divorcing mother.

While child support (like divorce itself) is awarded ostensibly without reference to “fault,” nonpayment brings swift and severe punishments. “The advocates of ever-more-aggressive measures for collecting child support,” writes Bryce Christensen of Southern Utah University, “have moved us a dangerous step closer to a police state.” Abraham calls the machinery “Orwellian”: “The government commands … a veritable gulag, complete with sophisticated surveillance and compliance capabilities such as computer-based tracing, license revocation, asset confiscation, and incarceration.”

Here, too, “the burden of proof may be shifted to the defendant,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Like Kafka’s Joseph K., the “defendant” may not even know the charge against him, “if the court does not explicitly clarify the charge facing the [allegedly?] delinquent parent,” says NCSL. Further, “not all child support contempt proceedings classified as criminal are entitled to a jury trial,” and “even indigent obligors are not necessarily entitled to a lawyer.” Thus defendants must prove their innocence against unspecified accusations, without counsel, and without a jury.

Assembly-line hearings can last 30 seconds to two minutes, during which parents are sentenced to months or years in prison. Many receive no hearing but are accused in an “expedited judicial process” before a black-robed lawyer known as a “judge surrogate.” Because these officials require no legislative confirmation, they are not accountable to citizens or their representatives. Unlike true judges, they may lobby to create the same laws they adjudicate, violating the separation of powers. Often they are political activists in robes. One surrogate judge, reports the Telegraph of Hudson, New Hampshire, simultaneously worked “as a radical feminist lobbying on proposed legislation” dealing with child support.

Though governments sensationalize “roundups” of alleged “deadbeat dads,” who are jailed for months and even years without trial, no government information whatever is available on incarcerations. The Bureau of Justice Statistics is utterly silent on child-support incarcerations. Rebecca May of the Center for Family Policy and Practice found “ample testimony by low-income non-custodial parents of spending time in jail for the nonpayment of child support.” Yet she could find no documentation of their incarceration. Government literature “yields so little information on it that one might be led to believe that arrests were used rarely if at all. While May personally witnessed fathers sentenced in St. Louis, “We could find no explicit documentation of arrests in St. Louis.” In Illinois, “We observed courtrooms in which fathers appeared before the judge who were serving jail sentences for nonpayment, but little information was available on arrests in Illinois.”

We know the arrests are extensive. To relieve jail overcrowding in Georgia, a sheriff and judge proposed creating detention camps specifically for “deadbeat dads.” The Pittsburgh City Planning Commission has considered a proposal “to convert a former chemical processing plant … into a detention center” for “deadbeat dads.”

Rendered permanently in debt by incarceration, fathers are farmed out to trash companies and similar concerns, where they work 14-16 hour days with their earnings confiscated.

More Malicious Mayhem
Other incarcerations are also attributable to feminism. The vast preponderance of actual violent crime and substance abuse proceeds from single-parent homes and fatherless children more than any other factor, far surpassing race and poverty. The explosion of single parenthood is usually and resignedly blamed on paternal abandonment, with the only remedy being ever-more draconian but ineffective child-support “crackdowns.” Yet no evidence indicates that the proliferation of single-parent homes results from absconding fathers. If instead we accept that single motherhood is precisely what feminists say it is — the deliberate choice of their sexual revolution — it is then apparent that sexual liberation lies behind not only these newfangled sexual crimes, but also the larger trend of actual crime and incarceration. Feminism is driving both the criminalization of the innocent and the criminality of the guilty.

We will continue to fight a losing battle against crime, incarceration, and expansive government power until we confront the sexual ideology that is driving not only family breakdown and the ensuing social anomie, but the criminalization of the male population. Ever-more-repressive penal measures will only further erode freedom. Under a leftist regime, conservatives must rethink their approach to crime and punishment and their unwitting collusion with America’s homegrown Stalinists.

Stephen Baskerville is associate professor of government at Patrick Henry College and author of Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family.

Feminist Gulag: No Prosecution Necessary.

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.

The Evolution of Divorce > Publications > National Affairs.

Children’s Rights Initiative for Sharing Parents Equally

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, custody, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Feminism, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on August 16, 2009 at 4:40 pm

SUPPORT THE RESPONSIBLE FATHERHOOD AND HEALTHY FAMILIES ACT OF 2009

Obama-Change-500

Many poor fathers are shut out of the lives of their children because the family court system puts profits over children and parents.  The majority of these fathers are homeless, but the public has this skewed perception that these fathers are taking five vacation trips per year, driving fast cars, have a trophy girl friend, and could care less about their children who are straving and momma is trying to scrape every penny together to feed them.

In 2006, then Senator Barrack Obama sponsored the Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act which failed miserably.  The contributions of fathers are grossly ignored by the media unless it is someone like Michael Jackson.  We seriously need change in putting fathers at an equal level as mothers when it comes to raising children.

We need to make serious changes and get rid of bad laws that hurt families and children.

Attorney Andrew J. Thompson writes about what we need in order to have true responsible fatherhood:

https://mkg4583.wordpress.com/2009/07/01/responsible-fatherhood-and-healthy-families-family-law-and-fathers/

Equality in Parenting: while parents’ roles will always differ, both parents matter deeply to every child, and on the whole, their roles should be valued equally and with an equality of balance. When parents separate, divorce, and act as single parents, each parent should be responsible for roughly equal shares of financial and parenting time responsibilities.  This equality should be recognized under the law.  The father who is willing to bear his share of each of these responsibilities should be honored and acknowledged, and his role and time with the children should not be inhibited by the family courts.

Support Enforcement: while covering a relatively equal share of his children’s financial support is part and parcel to fatherhood and will always be expected of fathers, current child support standards are far too onerous and unfairly burdensome to fathers.  The federal government plays a role in support regulation today and productive reforms can be made in the law as follows:

  1. Repeal the Bradley Amendment: Fathers who have been alienated from their children, perhaps have not seen them for 5,10 or 20 years, should not be forced to pay support to the mother.  The Bradley Amendment has created a situation where we have billions of dollars of uncollectible child support over the past 20 years, and it is time for its repeal.
  2. Title IV-D Funding: Under current law, states are rewarded with federal funds based on the amount of support they collect.  This creates an incentive in the system to create unreasonably high support guidelines and calculations, set inappropriately high support awards, and deploy draconian enforcement methods that force many, good fathers to live in poverty or near poverty conditions.  States should receive federal funding focusing directly and solely on those cases where collection is achievable (actual resources are shown to be available), and there is a history of continuing dereliction and lack of cooperation on the part of the parent obligated for support.
  3. Imputation of Income: Not even the IRS can arbitrarily impute an income against which it may levy charges, yet nearly every state permits this practice in determining the amount of support a father will have to pay.  This practice defies the principles underlying many of our Constitutional rights.  No state should be allowed to receive any federal funding as long as it allows for this practice.
  4. Sanctions/Imprisonment: There are many jurisdictions nationally where more than 10% of the prison/jail population is made up of fathers who are unable to pay support.  This runs contrary to the purpose of the laws themselves, as it prevents from earning the income necessary to do what the law is expecting of him.  The law should prohibit any parent who is willing to work and pay support from being jailed for non-payment of support, and parents responsible for support should be given a preference in professional and other licensing that may be necessary in order to earn the income to pay support.
  5. Garnishments: While other creditors are limited to garnishing 25% of an individual’s income, child support agencies can collect up to 65% – 65% of a low or mid-income wage, leaves the person completely unable to meet any other obligations, even the most basic.  Garnishments for support should be limited to 25%, consistent with otehr creditors.

Domestic Violence Issues: domestic violence is a very serious crime and should always be treated as such.  Allegations of domestic violence should result in appropriate protection for the victim with appropriate sanctions.  Children should not suffer alienation from a parent, they should not be punished for the actions of the parent.

Here is some info on the Act:

http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-s1309/show

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/record.xpd?id=110-h20070801-76

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • De.lirio.us
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • MySpace
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Blogosphere News
  • Print this article!
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • StumbleUpon

Posted on by Semper Fi

Children’s Rights Initiative for Sharing Parents Equally.

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.”
//
Is the princess sterotype harming our daughters? – Times Online.

Families – The True Strength of America

In Child Custody, Child Support, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Feminism, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping on July 20, 2009 at 10:23 pm

Families – The True Strength of America
Copyright © by Ron Ewart
July 2009

The glue that binds us all together is the bond forged in families – husband, wife and children. It is a powerful bond, held together by love, mutual respect and a large dose of pre-programmed genetics.

The saying that “blood is thicker than water” gets its’ roots from the bond of family. Families are the natural order of life on this planet, at least for most mammals, but it is especially true for the human mammal.

The character of family for we humans is several orders of magnitude above our other earthly creatures and considerably more complex. Being complex, it leads to more complex problems that require resolution.

Sure, family life is more complicated now than it was before, with both parents working to maintain their lifestyle and a schedule for children with education and ancillary activities that has gone way beyond what we used to do in the 1940’s and 50’s with sand-lot baseball and kick-the-can, sans television.

And yes, our adopted contemporary lifestyle has weakened the bond of family a little and increased the complexity of daily life, but still our families survive and thrive, in spite of that lifestyle. Yes, our new lifestyle has fractured the family some and divorce rates are up, but even with the added strain, over 50% of families still stay together.

We need to work a little harder on getting the number of stay-together families higher and we will. But all things tend to run in cycles and it takes time to adapt to rapidly changing technology and the rapid pace of our lives.

We fully expect the divorce rates will go down some in the future, as our adaptation increases.

Raising children in this environment is not easy, but when has raising children ever been easy?

Still, the joy that children bring adults, or each other, is incalculable. The birth of newborns, babies first step or first word, joy during the holidays, the elation and pride that comes from achievements in school or sports, the first date, marriage and its promise ….. all difficult sometimes, but all very worthwhile in the cycle of life.

In spite of these conditions that shake the very fibers of the nuclear family, those fibers and that bond are the true strength of America.

Responsible families produce the current and next generation of thinkers, intellectuals, hard workers, producers, consumers and pray-ers. Some lose and some win, but most who lose pick themselves up again and get back in the game …. sometimes all by themselves, sometimes with the help of family and sometimes in spite of family.

That bond of family is even stronger under the umbrella of freedom and it is that bond that will allow Americans to hold onto their freedom. The job of preserving freedom must start at the family level. It must start with teaching our kids about the foundations of freedom and liberty in America.

Our children are not being taught the great history of America in our schools and why we have become the most powerful nation on Earth, but also the wealthiest, the most creative, industrious, ingenious and the most generous.

Many adults who grew up in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and now in the first decade of the 21st Century, haven’t learned and aren’t learning it either.

The fact is, America is a “Constitutional Republic”, (see definitions below) which means that the minority is protected from the majority (mob rule) by the rule of law under the Supreme Law of the Land, our Constitution.

Because of the current massive attempts by all levels of our government (especially the federal government) to rule every aspect of our lives, our constitution is being torn asunder by the day and yet it is the only document that stands between us and socialism, communism, fascism, a dictator, or outright anarchy.

It is the ultimate responsibility of the parents in the family to pass on the heritage of freedom and liberty to their children, even if our public school system isn’t doing it. It is the family’s responsibility to teach their children about the documents that established that freedom and how important it is to preserve, protect and defend those documents.

In the end, the preservation of freedom lies with each individual but each individual’s drive to preserve freedom is best nourished in the safe environment of a loving family. It is up to the parents of the family to initiate the conversations about freedom and our founding documents. It is up to the parents to show their children the rich heritage of this great nation and learn about those who sacrificed so much that we might live free.

With most families having one or more computers and access to the Internet, the information about America is literally at the family’s finger tips. Talk about these issues when you gather together for holidays. But the most effective environment to discuss America, is right at the dinner table when all are gathered to share the evening meal.

President Reagan stated that “freedom is only one generation away from extinction.”

If Americans care about the preservation of our liberty and American sovereignty, they must teach their children about freedom, so that it is carried on from generation to generation, or freedom will die and our culture of liberty and our very sovereignty will be absorbed into the one-world-order without a shot being fired. America will become but a footnote in some history book that will improperly paint America as some strange anomaly that could have never lasted very long anyway.

Americans need to do everything in their power to see that that footnote is never written.

Losing is not an option.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Constitutional Republic: “….. is a state where the head of state and other officials are elected as representatives of the people, and must govern according to existing constitutional law that limits the government’s power over citizens. In a constitutional republic, executive, legislative, and judicial powers are separated into distinct branches and the will of the majority of the population is tempered by protections for individual rights so that no individual or group has absolute power. The fact that a constitution exists that limits the government’s power makes the state constitutional. That the head(s) of state and other officials are chosen by election, rather than inheriting their positions, and that their decisions are subject to judicial review makes a state republican.”

A True Democracy: “….. where the majority has the ultimate say in all things ….. essentially mob rule.”

Ron Ewart, President
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF RURAL LANDOWNERS
P. O. Box 1031, Issaquah, WA 98027
425 222-4742 or 1 800 682-7848
(Fax No. 425 222-4743)
Website: www.narlo.org

Families – The True Strength of America.

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.

Children of any age suffer when parents divorce – Daily Tribune: Breaking news coverage for southeastern Oakland County, Michigan

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Civil Rights, custody, Divorce, Domestic Relations, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on July 2, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Dear Annie: How do I talk to my adult children about divorcing their mother? I’ve been a good father and tried hard to be a good husband, but I knew early on that the rushed decision to marry was a mistake. I considered divorce 17 years ago and went to counseling, but my wife said I was the one with the problem, and things didn’t change. I have had a number of indiscretions seeking companionship and intimacy.

When my wife said she would turn my children against me, I became depressed and had thoughts of suicide. She has said she will make my life hell if I leave her. But, Annie, we have no life as a couple, and I often wish God would take me. My children are tremendously important, but I feel manipulated by them with their threats of keeping the grandchildren from seeing me if I divorce their mother. I plan to stay in the marriage a little longer for the sake of my youngest child, who will graduate next year, but I don’t know how much more I can take.

My wife and I are both at fault for this broken marriage. I am guilty of many things and have apologized. My children know their mother is difficult to live with. I want them to understand that the marriage is beyond repair, and divorce could be a way to heal. I am angry that my wife isn’t thinking of the children when she badmouths me to them. What can I do?

— Fearful in the Dakotas

Dear Fearful: Most children, no matter the age, are upset when their parents divorce. And it is unfortunate that many spouses try to alienate the other parent from the children. When you decide to file, get your children together for a discussion. Explain that you love them all deeply and have no intention of enumerating their mother’s faults or your own and assessing blame. Things just haven’t worked out, and you are both unhappy. No matter how difficult the situation becomes, it is important that you don’t give up communicating with your children. We also recommend the National Center for Fathering (fathers.com), which is loaded with information and support.

Dear Annie: A dear friend of mine has become quite the gum chewer and is terribly noisy with it — popping and cracking, etc. When I quit smoking some years back, I took up gum chewing and understand that chomping away can bring pleasure, but I don’t do it in public. “John,” however, seems oblivious to his noise, no matter when or where. I’ve seen friends give him nasty looks, but he doesn’t notice.

I love John and can endure these noises, but some of our friends have begun to distance themselves, and he can’t understand why. I don’t want to hurt his feelings, so how can I tell him his gum chewing is the reason?

— Would Walk Across Croc-Infested Waters for Him

Dear Would Walk: Say, “Honey, I never realized how loud our gum cracking has become. When I do it, will you please tell me so I can stop? It must be really irritating to others. And I’ll tell you when you do it, OK?”

Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.

Comments

The following are comments from the readers. In no way do they represent the view of dailytribune.com.

Published: Thursday, July 2, 2009

via Children of any age suffer when parents divorce – Daily Tribune: Breaking news coverage for southeastern Oakland County, Michigan.

What we need is a fatherhood revolution: Parental Alienation (Canada)

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, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Feminism, Foster CAre Abuse, 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 Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on July 2, 2009 at 2:32 am

Monday, June 29, 2009

What we need is a fatherhood revolution

It is nice to see more positive discussions on fatherhood. The Victim Feminist mantra that we are all bad and abusers is slowly being suffused with the benefits of paternity for children and that patriarchy is not completely without merit. I don’t mean the kind of patriarchy that suppresses anyone rather the kind that offers protection to those in need like our children. There is room for the equality women seek and the strengths dads have to offer in a family of parental equals. Have you ever noticed there is only a one non-vowel letter difference in the words matriarchy and patriarchy. Perhaps we can call a family of parental equals a natriarchy – the “n” standing for neutral. All 3 words start with a consonant.MJM

Warwick Marsh | Saturday, 20 June 2009

The times they are a-changing. Being a dad is becoming cool.

Father’s Day 2009 is being celebrated with a renewed sense of vigour and excitement. Fathers and children are appearing in more advertisements. The media are running father-friendly stories. Restaurants are booked out for Father’s Day as well as Mother’s Day.

When the Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation was formed in 2002 to help and encourage Australian dads, our television community service advertisements were initially threatened with a black ban by the Advertising Standards Board. Political correctness ruled the day and fathers were incorrect. This would not happen today. Fatherhood has become sexy, a newspaper here said recently. A quick squiz at pop culture supports this optimistic statement.

Take the 2003 film Finding Nemo. That was a story about a father fish looking for his son. Amazingly, it is well inside the top 20 grossing movies of all time. Just a bit further down that list are other popular movies with positive fatherhood themes: I am Sam, Dear Frankie, The Incredibles, Night at the Museum, Pursuit of Happyness, and the brilliant Australian movie with Eric Bana, Romulus My Father. Even Snoop Dogg is cashing in on the fatherhood revival with his Father Hood TV show.

Last night, with my wife, I watched Swing Vote, Kevin Costner’s popular film about a no-hoper dad whose vote determines an entire presidential election. Interestingly, the plot revolves around a single father and his daughter and treats him with a great deal of respect. This story could never have screened 20 years ago. Fatherhood is coming in from the cold — and not before time.

Here in Australia, songwriter Colin George put together a compilation CD called Fatherhood which features some of our best artists such as Paul Kelly, Shane Howard, Neil Murray and John Butler. They sing about their children, fatherhood and families. This album has morphed into an annual Fatherhood Festival in the surfing town of Byron Bay, which is better known for hardcore punk, drugs and yoga festivals. The home of Australian counterculture has become the home of fatherhood. The idea of a Fatherhood Festival has spread to several other cities in Australia. Similar events are happening in the US. “Family First” is the name of a minor political party in Australia, but the idea putting your family first is catching on. Just like the 60s counterculture, it could be the beginning of a revolution.

The renovation of fatherhood and the renewal of masculinity have been heralded by writers like Ed Cole, author of Maximised Manhood; Gordon Dalby, Healing the Masculine Soul; Robert Bly, Iron John; and Warren Farrell, Father and Child Reunion and even by feminist authors such as Adrienne Burgess, Fatherhood Reclaimed and Susan Falundi, Stiffed. Australian author Steve Biddulph has been a trailblazer for the Australian fatherhood and men’s movement for many years. His books sell very smartly overseas as well.

The Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation believes that fatherlessness is a major contributor to the problems our children face. A leading expert, Dr Bruce Robinson, says that fatherlessness costs Australia A$13 billion a year. Similar estimates on the cost of fatherlessness in America by the National Fatherhood Initiative are well over US$100 billion per year. Fatherlessness increases the likelihood that children will grow up in poverty, increased crime, drug abuse, youth suicide, child sexual abuse, mental health problems, high levels of child obesity, poor health, poor nutrition and lower levels of educational performance for children. In spite of what radical feminists may say about the ills of patriarchy, involved and loving fathers are essential for the development of healthy children and strong families.

Last year Matthew Hayden, one of Australia’s most famous cricketers, was pleased to go in to bat for Aussie dads and their children. He starred in our community service advertisements around Australia as the epitome of the renewal of Australian fatherhood. I asked Matthew how he felt when he had his first child and how he now feels as a father of three children.

There’s nothing that replaces the moment of joy in your life when you have children. As a male I think you actually go through a bit of a chest beating stage. It’s like, “Gees, I’ve produced this beautiful baby, I’m a man.” It actually physically does change you as well because suddenly it’s not just your wife and you. It’s a very unselfish thing, you’ve now got this beautiful little individual and life, that you have to care and nurture and you become very selfless and that’s a difficult time in your life, but look, whatever you put into life, you get back ten-fold. With our three beautiful children, it’s just amazing how they give back to you in such simple but such rewarding ways. I wouldn’t change one damn thing.

Hayden’s passion for his family is inspirational and it is men like him, all across Australia, America and around the world, who are arresting the harmful effects of fatherlessness by their love and commitment to their families. We need a fatherhood revolution which will create involved, committed and responsible fathers. Everyone benefits. A fatherhood revolution will bring support and joy to hardworking mothers and will help children lead exceptional lives.

Warwick Marsh and his wife Alison are the founders of Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation. They have five children and have been married for 33 years.

http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/what_we_need_is_a_fatherhood_revolution/

//

Parental Alienation (Canada): What we need is a fatherhood revolution.

Breakthrough Parenting – Moving Your Family from Struggle to Cooperation

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Jayne Major, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parents rights on June 23, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Breakthrough Parenting – Moving Your Family from Struggle to Cooperation.
Breakthrough Parenting®

For more than 20 years, we have helped families from all backgrounds achieve what they described as solid breakthroughs.

Breakthroughs usually come from hard work of course. In this case, we invested more than 15,000 hours of work to develop a truly comprehensive program to help parents understand how children think, how they function at different ages, and how to get effective discipline through teaching what to do, as opposed to just pointing out what not to do. All of this with no manipulation and no violence.

Would you like to move your family from struggle to cooperation?
Here’s what one parent said about the award-winning Breakthrough Parenting® program:

“I had power struggles with my six year-old son on a daily basis, these have now been completely eliminated. Your techniques allow for a child’s individuality to shine through, in addition to the discipline necessary to give them the skills to learn and to develop good values. Breakthrough Parenting has made an incredible difference in my life!”

The Culver City, Cal. PTA (Parents & Teachers
Association) won the California State PTA highest
award for their Breakthrough Parenting program.

Family court judges in one of the largest counties in the State of Washington now specify in court orders for parents that they “…must take parenting classes such as Breakthrough Parenting.” Over several years these judges have seen the huge benefits of these classes for both parents and children.

Click here to learn more about our Parenting-Class-In-A-Box!

Are you going through a divorce with custody issues?
Learn here how to solve custody problems at a fraction of the sadly typical financial and emotional cost.

We have 20 years of experience with divorce custody cases and know a LOT about what helps parents.

“The techniques I learnt from Breakthrough Parenting made a definite impression on the court-appointed custody evaluator.”

~Jim Ward, parent, Los Angeles, Calif.

Click here to learn more about how we can help!

Would you like to be trained to become a Certified Breakthrough Parenting® Instructor anywhere in the U.S. or overseas?

Professionals at agencies, hospitals, family ministries, and in private practice across the U.S., Canada and overseas have set up exceptionally successful parenting programs with help from our comprehensive training program.

“Breakthrough Parenting is a revolutionary program, and it is obvious to my team that we have seen more success in the lessons of Breakthrough Parenting we have presented to date than in all the classes any of us have ever taught.”

~Mollie M. Hughes, CBPI, CHS, Everett, Washington

With more than 20,000 hours put into the development of the key materials used for this program, this is the most comprehensive and up-to-date parenting program today.

This program contains no fluff or “pop psychology,” it is simply based on solid research and experience with many thousands of families.

Every part of this program has shown its value to trained professionals across the U.S., working with parents of all educational and socioeconomic backgrounds.

All materials are as clear as we could make them, and the program is designed let you help parents take action immediately, without having to digest large amounts of information.

The very high quality classroom materials (available in English and Spanish) help instructors get the attention of stressed parents.

Even many very jaded family professionals have called this program “life changing!”

Most of the instructors that we have trained were previously using other parenting programs.

They mixed bits and pieces from several different programs in order to try to come up with a complete program to help today’s parents, but still got questions that weren’t covered in their materials.

The Breakthrough Parenting training curriculum is complete. It covers all that parents need to know about raising kids to be successful, while they grow up and afterwards when they have to go out on their own as responsible adults in society.

Parents learn how to “reach” teenagers so that communication is possible about anything that comes up. You may have noticed that you can’t really tell teens (or, increasingly also “tweens”) anything, so you have to make them want to communicate with you, and we show you how.

Breakthrough Parenting gives you a genuine understanding of how children function, not just “tips on parenting”.

Family court judges in one of the largest counties in Washington state now state in their court orders for parents that they, “…must take parenting classes such as Breakthrough Parenting.” Why do they mention Breakthrough Parenting specifically? Because they have seen the huge benefit of these classes for parents and their children.

MFTs (Marriage and Family Therapists) and LCSWs (Licensed Clinical Social Workers) can get 15 California CEUs (Continuing Education Units, also recognized by many other states) for our program, we are CEU Provider # PCE 1402.

However, you do not have to be an MFT or LCSW to take this training. Our many successful graduates have been teachers, day care providers, family ministry staff, domestic violence case managers and workers, psychologists, nurses, drug rehabilitation professionals, human resource professionals, and more categories.

What is important is that you have experience working with a public audience. We can teach you the rest in the most efficient professional training program available today.

News: We just got funding for 4 reduced tuitions for our instructor training program, be quick and you may be able to get in for less than our 1998 rates!

Currently Breakthrough Parenting Instructor Training is offered in Los Angeles (CA), Orlando (FL), and Seattle (WA).

Click here for information on becoming a Certified Parenting Instructor!

~Ms. Mindy Dadon, parent, Los Angeles, Calif.

How To Kidnap A Child

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 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, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, 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, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D on June 8, 2009 at 3:53 pm

by Stephen Baskerville, PhD

Congratulations! You have embarked on a great adventure. Kidnapping a child is probably unlike anything you have done before. If you are a first-time kidnapper you may be hesitant; perhaps you have lingering scruples. It is true you will probably do irreparable harm to your own child. Children of divorce more often become involved in drugs, alcohol, and crime, become pregnant as teenagers, perform poorly in school, join gangs, and commit suicide.

But look at the advantages! You can be rid of that swine you live with, with all his tedious opinions about child-rearing. YOU call the shots! What could be more rewarding? And a little extra cash each month never hurts, eh?

Few people realize how easy abduction is. It happens 1,000 times a day, mostly by parents! So if you’re thinking, “I could never get away with it,” wake up! Millions do. In fact many only realize the possibility when they become victims. Then they invariably say, “If only I had known how easy it is I would have done it myself!” So don’t be caught off guard. Read on, and discover the exciting world of child kidnapping and extortion.

If you are mother the best time to snatch is soon after you have a new child or pregnancy. Once you have what you want, you will realize that the father is no longer necessary (except for child support).

A father should consider snatching as soon as he suspects the mother might. Once she has the child, you have pretty much lost the game. You will always be at a disadvantage, but it is in your interest (as it is in hers) to snatch first. Preventive snatching may not look good (and unlike her, it can be used against you). But hey, you have the kid. If you hit the road, it could take years to track you down.

Surprise is crucial for an elegant abduction.
Wait until the other parent is away, and clean the place out thoroughly. Take all the child’s effects, because if you don’t grab it now you will never get it, and you will never be forced to return any of it. The more you have, the better “home” you can claim to provide. You also want to achieve the maximum emotional devastation to your spouse. Like the terrorist, you want to impress with how swift, sudden, and unpredictable your strike can be.

Concealing the child is illegal, but it will also buy you time. The police will make the case a low priority, and if you are a mother you will never be prosecuted. In the meantime claim to have established a “stable routine” and that returning the child (or even visits) would be “disruptive.” Anything that keeps the child in your possession and away from their father works to your advantage.

Find superficial ways to appear cooperative. Inform the father of your decisions (after you have made them). At the same time avoid real cooperation. The judge will conclude that the parents “can’t agree” and leave you in charge. Since it is standard piety that joint custody requires “cooperation,” the easiest way to sabotage joint custody is to be as uncooperative as possible.

Go to court right away. The more aggressive you are with litigation the more it will appear you have some valid grievance. The judge and lawyers (including your spouse’s) will be grateful for the business you create. Despite professions of heavy caseloads, courts are under pressure to channel money to lawyers, whose bar associations appoint and promote judges. File a motion for sole custody, and get a restraining order to keep the father from seeing his children. (A nice touch is to say he is planning to “kidnap” them.) Or have him restricted to supervised visitation.

Going to court is also a great opportunity to curtail anything you dislike about your spouse’s child-rearing. If you don’t like his religion, get an injunction against him discussing it. Is he fussy about table manners or proper behavior? Getting a court order is easier than you think. You may even get the child’s entire upbringing micro-managed by judicial directives.

Charges of physical and sexual abuse are also helpful. Accusing a father of sexually abusing his own children is very easy and can be satisfying for its own sake.

Don’t worry about proving the charges.
An experienced judge will recognize trumped-up allegations. This is not important, since no one will ever blame the judge for being “better safe than sorry,” and accusations create business for his cronies. You yourself will never have to answer for false charges. The investigation also buys time during which you can further claim to be establishing a routine while keeping Dad at a distance and programming the children against him.

Abuse accusations are also marvelously self-fulfilling.
What more logical way to provoke a parent to lash out than to take away his children? Men naturally become violent when someone interferes with their children. This is what fathers are for. The more you can torment him with the ruin of his family, home, livelihood, savings, and sanity, the more likely that he will self-destruct, thus demonstrating his unfitness.

Get the children themselves involved. Children are easily convinced they have been molested. Once the suggestion is planted, any affection from their father will elicit a negative reaction, making your suggestion self-fulfilling in the child’s mind. And if one of your new lovers actually has molested the child, you can divert the accusation to Dad.

Dripping poison into the hearts of your children can be gratifying, and it is a joy to watch the darlings absorb your hostility. Young children can be filled with venom fairly easily just by telling them what a rat their father is as frequently as possible.

Older children present more of a challenge. They may have fond memories of the love and fun they once experienced with him. These need to be expunged or at least tainted. Try little tricks like saying, “Today you will be seeing your father, but don’t worry, it won’t last long.” Worry aloud about the other parent’s competence to care for the child or what unpleasant or dangerous experience may be in store during the child’s visit. Sign the child up for organized activities that conflict with Dad’s visits. Or promise fun things, like a trip to Disneyland, which then must be “cancelled” to visit Dad.

You will soon discover how neatly your techniques reinforce one another. For example, marginalizing the father and alienating the child become perfect complements merely by suggesting that Daddy is absent because he does not love you. What could be more logical in their sweet little minds!

And what works with children is also effective with judges. The more you can make the children hate their father the easier you make it to leave custody with you.

Remember too, this guide is no substitute for a good lawyer, since nothing is more satisfying than watching a hired goon beat up on your child’s father in a courtroom.

And now you can do what you like! You can warehouse the kids in daycare while you work (or whatever). You don’t have to worry about brushing hair or teeth. You can slap them when they’re being brats. You can feed them fast food every night (or just give them Cheez Whiz). If they become a real annoyance you can turn them over to the state social services agency. You are free!

November 19, 2001

The original article can be found here: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig2/baskerville1.html

Why Kids Usually Side with the Custodial Parent Especially If They’re Emotionally Abusive

In adoption abuse, 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, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, Liberty, 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, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 7, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Do your children refuse to see you since you and your ex separated? When you actually get to see your kid(s), do they lash out at you? Do they know things about your break up or divorce that they shouldn’t know? Do they “diagnose” or berate you by using adult terms and expressions that are beyond their years?

If so, you’re probably experiencing the effects of parental alienation or hostile aggressive parenting. It’s normal to have hard feelings at the end of a significant relationship, however, you have a choice about how you handle it.

Most cases of parental alienation occur in dissolved marriages/relationships, break ups, and divorces in which there’s a high degree of conflict, emotional abuse, and/or mental illness or personality disorders.

If you were emotionally abused by your ex while you were still together, then your kid(s) learned some powerful lessons about relationships, especially if you had a “no talk” policy about the rages, yelling, and verbal attacks. Children are adversely affected by witnessing constant conflict and emotional abuse, no matter their age.

Emotionally abusive women and men are scary when on the attack, which probably makes it all the more confusing to see your ex turn your child(ren) against you. Don’t your kids see how out of whack their mom or dad is being? Don’t they know that you love them and how much you want to be in their lives? Don’t they realize they need you now more than ever? Yes and no.

On some level, they do know this. Nonetheless, they’re lashing out at you like mini-versions of your ex. Why?

It’s not that confusing if you think about it from a child’s perspective. Children depend utterly upon their custodial parent. Seeing mom or dad lose it and out of control is anxiety provoking, if not downright terrifying. The following are possible reasons why your ex’s campaign of parental alienation may be successful.

1.) You left them alone with the crazy person. You got out and they didn’t. They’re mad that you’re not there anymore to intervene, buffer, protect, or take the brunt of it.

2.) Self-preservation. They see how your ex is treating you because she or he is angry with you. Your kid(s) don’t want your ex’s wrath directed at them. It’s like siding with the bully at school so they don’t beat the crap out of you.

3.) Fear of loss. If they make your ex mad they worry that they’ll be emotionally and/or physically banished, too. This is especially true if your ex used to shut you out, give you the cold shoulder, and/or ignore you when she or he was upset with you. Your kids probably fear your ex will do this to them if they don’t go along with him or her.

4.) They’re mad at you. You’re no longer physically present at home, which they experience as psychological loss. Many kids experience this as betrayal and/or abandonment. Even if they can recognize that you didn’t have a happy marriage, they still want mom and dad to be together.

Loss, whether it’s physical (death) or psychological (divorce), requires a mourning period. Children aren’t psychologically equipped to handle grief and mourning. Pending other developmental milestones, kids don’t have the psychological capacity to successfully navigate loss until mid-adolescence. If you’d died, they could idealize your memory. However, you’re alive and chose to leave (or your ex chose for you). How do you mourn the loss of someone who’s not dead? It takes a level of intellectual sophistication children don’t possess not to vilify the physically absent parent—especially when your ex isn’t capable of it as an adult.

5.) Rewards and punishment. Your ex “rewards” the kids (material goods, praise, trips and fun activities—probably with your support money—oh the irony) for siding with her or him, being cruel to you, or cutting you off. If your kid(s) stand up for you or challenge your ex’s smear campaign, they’re chastised, lose privileges, or have affection withheld from them. Remember how your ex used to treat you when she or he was displeased? It’s way scarier when you’re a kid. You have options as an adult that your children don’t.

6.) The good son or daughter. They see how upset and out of control your ex is and want to take care of and make her or him “better.” They try to do this by doing what your ex wants, which is being hostile toward you and/or excluding you from their lives. This creates what psychologists refer to as the parentified child. Parentification forces a child to shoulder emotions and responsibilities for which she or he isn’t developmentally prepared.

Emotional parentification is particularly destructive for children and frequently occurs in parental alienation cases. The custodial parent implicitly or explicitly dumps their emotional needs on the child. The child becomes the parent’s confidante, champion/hero and surrogate for an adult partner. This is extremely unhealthy as it robs these kids of their childhood and leads to difficulty in having normal adult relationships later in life.

7..) Power and control. They see the power your ex wields by behaving in an abusive and hurtful way toward you. They can wield the same power by acting out and hurting you, too. A child or teenager’s first taste of power can be thrilling for them. Of course, what they’re learning from you ex is how to gain control by being an emotionally abusive bully.

8.) It’s good to be the victim. The more your ex plays the professional victim to friends, family and the legal system, the more benefits she or he gains—deferential treatment, sympathy, power, and money. The kids pick up on this victim mentality and behaviors and use it to net their own gains.

A combination of the above reasons probably applies to your child(ren) siding with your ex, particularly when you’ve been a good and loving parent. It’s demoralizing to have your kid(s) slap or push you away each time you reach out to them. It’s maddening that family court, in many cases, is blind to the abuses of parental alienation. Try to keep in mind that most children aren’t consciously aware that the above phenomena are occurring. Of course, that doesn’t make it any easier to be the emotional and financial punching bag for your ex and children.

The original article can be found here: http://washingtonsharedparenting.com/?p=411

LA County Puts the “Fix” on Parents Rights

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Autism, 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, Christian, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, Indians, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Jayne Major, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Orphan Trains, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 4, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Your rights to retain physical and legal custody of your children during divorce proceeding is compromised by California’s new ex post facto law recently passed by the California Senate. As a matter of fact, in Los Angeles County, it already is.

In California counties divorce proceedings in the past 12 years may have been “fixed” in counties where counties supplemented Judges salaries with benefits above the state mandated salary. (Under California Law, only the state may compensate judges for performance of their work. The California Constitution (Sec. 17, 19, 20) states that Judges may not receive money from other parties than their employer, the State of California, and the Legislature has the sole responsibility for setting compensation and retirement benefits.)

However California, like all 50 states and territories, receive hundreds of Billions of $$ from the federal government to run its state courts and welfare programs, including Social Security Act Title Iv-D, Child Support Iv-E, Foster Care and VAWA prevention and intimidation programs against family law litigants. The federal block grants are then given to the counties applying for the monies.

If counties have been paying judges money above state legislated salaries, then counties have been fixing cases for years by maintaining de facto judicial officers to rule in their favor. How does this affect parent’s rights? The money received in block grants is applied for by the counties based on the divorce and custody proceeding awards. For example, the more sole custody or foster home proceedings existing in the county, the more money the county is qualified to receive.

Both the US Constitution, and the California Constitution. California’s wording is even stronger than the US Constitution. Here are the direct quotes:

United States Constitution, Section 9, Article 3
“No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed.”

Constitution of the State of California – Article I, Section 9
“A bill of attainder ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts may not be passed.”

The law in question is SBX2 11 which retroactively pardons, just about everyone involved in official activity including judges who received money for benefits from the county.

“The California Constitution requires the Legislature to prescribe compensation for judges of courts of record. Existing law authorizes a county to deem judges and court employees as county employees for purposes of providing employment benefits. These provisions were held unconstitutional as an impermissible delegation of the obligation of the Legislature to prescribe the compensation of judges of courts of record. This bill would provide that judges who received supplemental judicial benefits provided by a county or court, or both, as of July 1, 2008, shall continue to receive supplemental benefits from the county or court then paying the benefits on the same terms and conditions as were in effect on that date.”

The law also goes on to state:

“This bill would provide that no governmental entity, or officer or employee of a governmental entity, shall incur any liability or be subject to prosecution or disciplinary action because of benefits provided to a judge under the official action of a governmental entity prior to the effective date of the bill on the ground that those benefits were not authorized under law.”

Is this why attorney Richard I Fine is in a LA County Jail? For more on his story see:

Attorney Richard Fine files suit against judges http://www.dailynews.com/ci_8113733

Richard Fine, a brave and talented California attorney and United States Department of Justice Attorney http://www.ahrc.se/new/index.php/src/tools/sub/yp/action/display/id/2652

Metropolitan News-Enterprise http://www.metnews.com/articles/2009/stur021809.htm

The Full Disclosure Network: http://www.fulldisclosure.net/Programs/538.php and http://www.fulldisclosure.net/Programs/539.php

JUDICIAL BENEFITS & COURT CORRUPTION (Part 3-4) http://www.fulldisclosure.net/Programs/540.php

FISCAL CRISIS: Illegal Payments Create Law For Judicial Criminal & Liability Immunity: Nominees For U S Supreme Court To Be Impacted? See: http://www.fulldisclosure.net/news/labels/SBX2%2011.html

The Bill as passed by the Senate: http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/sen/sb_0001-0050/sbx2_11_bill_20090214_amended_sen_v98.html

Deadbeat Social Scientists – Child Support Myths Debunked

In Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Support, child trafficking, 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, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D on May 27, 2009 at 12:30 am

By Robert Locke
Monday, July 02, 2001

EVERYBODY HATES DEADBEAT DADS. They are excoriated from the feminist Left to the familyvalues Right. This has resulted in a national frenzy of efforts to tighten up childsupport enforcement, beginning with the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1975 (amended in 1984) and including numerous state statutes. Unfortunately, as a new book persuasively argues, they are largely a myth. In fact, they are frequently victims in their own right. Dr. Braver began his research intending only to refine the received wisdom, but his empirical findings changed his own mind. The prevalence of the myths he has exploded raises serious questions about the entire structure of liberal social science, on which our nation’s public policies are based, and the susceptibility of statistics to manipulation by liberal academics.

Dr. Braver refutes six key antifather myths one by one. He writes:

“1. Divorced dads are not overwhelmingly deadbeats in terms of child support compliance. They actually pay far better than assumed, especially if they remain fully employed.”

The horrifying figures for nonpayment of child support that are usually quoted are wrong for a number of reasons. First, they are based solely on maternal reporting. Second, they are based on lumping together divorcees with nevermarrieds, who pay at a lower rate. Third, some studies of the problem record only payments made through court clerks, not all payments. Fourth, most of the remaining deadbeats are in jail, unemployed, in poverty, or otherwise unable to pay for understandable reasons.

“2. Divorced dads are not overwhelmingly disappearing or runaway dads. Most continue a surprisingly high amount of contact with their children, and much of whatever disconnection does occur can be attributed directly to mothers impeding or interfering with visitation.”

Myth holds that divorced men are generally uninterested in their children, a view that derives mainly from a single inaccurate study and from the popculture stereotype of the divorced father with sports car and girlfriend in tow. But, in reality, roughly threequarters of divorced fathers who live in the same town as their children see them regularly, according to Dr. Braver’s own research. And they would frequently see them even more often if it were not illegal for them to do so under the visitation rules to which they are legally subject. Not to mention maternal denial of these visitation privileges, which is a serious and underappreciated issue in its own right.

“3. Divorced fathers do not end up noticeably more economically advantaged by divorce than mothers… in the long run, many divorced mothers will surpass divorced fathers in economic well being. Divorced mothers and children do not disproportionately end up in poverty, and those few who do almost without exception would continue to be in that state whether or not their ex-husbands paid full child support.”

An entire feminist obsession, which many nonfeminists have been taken in by, has been erected upon the so-called “feminization of poverty.” This turns out to be a statistical mirage generated by biased studies. Those divorced mothers who end up in longterm poverty turn out to be (surprise, surprise) those who were from poor backgrounds in the first place, even when they were married. In only 2% of divorces would full payment of alimony and child support lift a poor mother out of poverty who is now in it.

“4. Divorced fathers are not far better satisfied or advantaged in the negotiations leading to their divorce settlements. In fact, fathers are significantly disadvantaged and dissatisfied compared to mothers, who feel more in control of the settlement process than fathers.”

A substantial feminist inspired mythology claims that because the judicial system is run mainly by men, it favors fathers at every step in the divorce process. Despite the fact that every major feminist demand (starting with abortion and running right down the list) has been passed by maledominated legislatures and courts, this men vs. women mythology is emotionally satisfying and therefore believed in. But in fact, the court system has a demonstrable maternalist bias in custody awards and other issues which can be traced in the history of legislation and court decisions.

“5. Divorced fathers are not more content and better emotionally adjusted after divorce than mothers. In fact, overwhelming evidence suggests that they are far more emotionally devastated by divorce than mothers. Only with respect to calming their anger more quickly than their exspouse do fathers have an emotional advantage over mothers.”

The myth holds that divorced dads don’t have a care in the world, with the possible exception of their new, younger, girlfriends. In fact, they tend to be less well adjusted emotionally than their exwives by standard measures of psychological well being. According to a 1985 USA Today poll believed to be valid, 85% of divorced women claim to be happier postdivorce, compared to only 58% of men. Divorced women still usually have their children; divorced men often end up with nothing, relationshipwise.

“6. Fathers do not generally trigger the marriage’s demise by abandoning their wives and families.”

The myth holds that women are devotedly maternal while contemporary American men are too immature to “commit” enough to make their marriages work and are therefore responsible for most divorces. In fact, 2/3 of all divorces are initiated by the woman. And women tend to initiate divorces not because they are abused or otherwise objectively illtreated, but for emotional reasons like “my husband doesn’t communicate with me.”

Not only does Dr. Braver exonerate deadbeat dads, but he documents a number of ways in which postdivorce custodial mothers misbehave. The big thing mothers do is deprive fathers of their lawful visitation rights. The courts are set up to take very seriously the enforcement of childsupport payments by fathers, but they assign little seriousness to the issue of visitation rights. Mothers in most jurisdictions can arbitrarily deny courtordered visitation rights without fear of sanction from police or the judicial system. It would seem that one appropriate reform is to enable fathers to withhold childsupport payments when visitation rights have not been honored.

Mothers routinely practice more subtle forms of aggression. Because they have custody of the children most of the time, they are well placed to poison their minds against their fathers. They are particularly prone to do this if they remarry and wish to “reprogram” the kids to accept their new spouse as their father. They also have a tendency to do it simply out of spite at their ex-husband. Some mothers cynically exploit the police to falsely claim harassment or domestic violence to keep their ex-husband away, a tactic that the law stupidly encourages in a number of ways. It seems that the maternal instinct may not always be the good thing it is usually depicted as, if it drives women to behave like enraged shebears and clutch their children at the expense of their fathers’ legitimate rights.

So where did these myths come from, if untrue? Basically, our society developed a massive emotional desire to believe the worst of divorced fathers. Then social scientists, despite their pretensions to objectivity and hard statistics, lamely translated these biases into research findings. The negative stereotyping of divorced fathers that routinely appears would get people arrested by the PC police if it were applied to minorities, women, or any other category of person. Dr. Braver suggests that our society is experiencing a great deal of stress over the ongoing decay of the traditional family and needed to find a scapegoat. Deadbeat dads conveniently appealed as villains to both feminists and family values types, guaranteeing political support and ideological cover on both sides of the aisle. Conservatives also sought to cultivate respectability with the liberal bestowers of moral respectability by endorsing the liberal line (a classic case of the negative consequences of allowing the Left the moral high ground.) There was also an appeal to a pseudoscientific version of sociobiology, which claimed that it is the nature of males to seek polygamous or serialmonogamous relationships because of an evolutionary incentive to spread their DNA around. This has been called the “Darwin made me do it” defense and raises obvious questions on its own that this is not the place for. Once again, truth was intimidated out of people by the sheer selfassertion of liberals who arrogated to themselves the right to decide which ideas are “offensive.” We have got to learn to simply ignore them, and to use their mistakes on issues like this one as a battering ram to destroy their credibility. Fortunately, and partly due to Dr. Braver’s research, which was expressed in a Presidential commission in 1996, the political system is starting to recognize the necessity of fathers again. For example, more states are establishing joint custody as the norm.

But the most disturbing thing Dr. Braver shows has nothing to do with divorced families per se, but pertains to the shabby standards of social science research. This research, which forms the picture of society on which government policy is based, is conducted almost entirely by liberal academics, and yet is taken by legislatures and courts, not to mention the general public, as being simply objective truth. He documents in devastating detail the degree to which sloppy research standards have opened the door to liberal bias. Properly disciplined research has epistemological safeguards built in to protect it from the biases of the researchers. Naturally, this makes one wonder what other received truths of our society are myths generated by biased research.

Liberal social scientists have mangled their research on divorce in a number of ways. Here are a few:

1. Almost all studies have been based on what people report to be true, not on verified tax returns or bank statements.

2. This reporting hasn’t even included the father most of the time.

3. One notorious study that claimed to show a 73% decrease in maternal incomes after divorce used incomeadjustment figures based on Labor Department raw data gathered in… 1961!

4. This same study also measured pretax income, not aftertax, ignoring the fact that childsupport is taxfree. (There is also a tax credit for child care.) Headofhousehold mothers are taxed at a lower rate than nowsingle divorced fathers, and can claim their children as exemptions.

5. Divorced fathers spend substantial amounts of money on their children beyond simple child support. They spend significant undocumented amounts on visitation and buying necessities and other items for their children. They must maintain larger residences than they would without children visiting now and then. They bear most visitational transportation costs.

6. Divorced fathers are often ordered to pay for their children’s medical insurance over and above child support. Not only do most studies not count this, some even falsely assume the mother is paying.

7. Divorced fathers and nevermarried fathers behave very differently, the nevermarrieds being consistently worse in almost every way. Studies tend to lump them together.

8. Studies of the decline in maternal standardofliving tend to ignore the fact that after divorce, mothers tend to upgrade their job skills and otherwise move up the economic ladder, as is the general pattern over time of the whole population.

9. In the reams of studies being done about divorced fathers, almost none of the studies ever asked these fathers why they were abandoning their children, which the received wisdom claimed they were doing. Naturally, if they had, they might have found there was no reason, because they weren’t.

No one on the peer review committees that oversee the publication of this research in academic journals, or the giving of grants to fund it, ever blew the whistle on these errors. The system failed.

But it gets worse. Many of the bad figures and illogical analyses are from the Census Bureau reinforcing the view that, like the National Endowment for the Arts, the Census Bureau and its budget should be ruthlessly gutted as soon as possible to restrict it to the narrow duty prescribed to it by the Constitution and keep it from spouting liberal nonsense by collecting figures the Constitution does not authorize it to.

The second great intellectual villain of divorce mythology is one Prof. Lenore Weitzman of Harvard University. She was the author of an immensely influential 1985 study that claimed that after divorce, mothers experience a 73% drop in their standard of living and fathers a 42% rise. This study was the basis for several pieces of legislation. It turns out that her finding was based on a simple misprogramming of the computer analyzing the data which reveal that mothers end up with 73% of their former standard of living, (a 27% drop) not 73% less.

This was not an innocent “computer error.” The computer did what it was supposed to do; the investigator mangled the result. The idea that vast policy changes can come from such incompetence is nothing less than mind boggling. This incident needs to be treated as the My Lai of academic social science, which needs to be dethroned from its privileged position in policy disputes. Dr. Braver, who investigated this error and gave Prof. Weitzman a chance to respond, documents her mendacity and evasive behavior throughout this episode, which ended in her admitting the charges against her, for which she has never been disciplined.

The Left has chased conservative social scientists who could have blown the whistle on these shenanigans out of the academy. When will people learn that having a conservative presence in academia really does matter? If there had been an adequate number of conservative sociologists in the academy, someone could have critiqued these figures when they came out and before they had the chance to mislead the public and influence policy. Frankly, it is time to start pruning government funding for sociological research, which always seems to just prove we need more government spending, and to start cutting back sociology departments at the universities.

Dr. Braver’s Deadbeat Dads is thus probably the most important work of conservative social science in a decade, easily in a class with Charles Murray’s “Losing Ground”

The original article can be found on Frontpage Magazine: http://www.frontpagemag.com/Printable.aspx?ArtId=24190

Why Marriage Matters

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Support, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes on May 25, 2009 at 1:47 am

Why Marriage Matters, Second Edition:
Twenty-Six Conclusions from the Social Sciences

Sixteen of the top scholars on family life have re-issued a joint report on the importance of marriage. First released in 2002, the newly revised edition highlights five new themes in marriage-related research.

Why Marriage Matters, Second Edition: 26 Conclusions from the Social Sciences was produced by a politically diverse and interdisciplinary group of leading family scholars, chaired by W. Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia and includes psychologist John Gottman, best selling author of books about marriage and relationships, Linda Waite, coauthor of The Case for Marriage, Norval Glenn and Steven Nock, two of the top family social scientists in the country, William Galston, a Clinton Administration domestic policy advisor, and Judith Wallerstein, author of the national bestseller The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce.

Since 1960, the proportion of children who do not live with their own two parents has risen sharply—from 19.4% to 42.3% in the Nineties. This change has been caused, first, by large increases in divorce, and more recently, by a big jump in single mothers and cohabiting couples who have children but don’t marry. For several decades the impact of this dramatic change in family structure has been the subject of vigorous debate among scholars. No longer. These 26 findings are now widely agreed upon.

Five New Themes

In addition to reviewing research on family topics covered in the first edition of the report, Why Marriage Matters, Second Edition highlights five new themes in marriage-related research.

1. Even though marriage has lost ground in the minority communities in recent years, marriage has not lost its value in these communities.
2. An emerging line of research indicates that marriage benefits poor Americans, and Americans from disadvantaged backgrounds, even though these Americans are now less likely to get and stay married.
3. Marriage seems to be particularly important in civilizing men, turning their attention away from dangerous, antisocial, or self-centered activities and towards the needs of a family.
4. Beyond its well-known contributions to adult health, marriage influences the biological functioning of adults and children in ways that can have important social consequences.
5. The relationship quality of intimate partners is related to both their marital status and, for married adults, to the degree to which these partners are committed to marriage.

Update Research Findings

Among the research findings summarized by the report are:

About Children

* Parental divorce reduces the likelihood that children will graduate from college, and achieve high-status jobs.
* Children who live with their own two married parents enjoy better physical health, on average, than children in other family forms. The health advantages of married homes remain even after taking into account socioeconomic status.
* Parental divorce approximately doubles the odds that adult children will end up divorced.

About Men

* Married men earn between 10 and 40 percent more than single men with similar education and job histories.
* Married people, especially married men, have longer life expectancies than otherwise similar singles.
* Marriage increases the likelihood fathers will have good relationships with children. Sixty-five percent of young adults whose parents divorced had poor relationships with their fathers (compared to 29% from non-divorced families).

About Women

* Divorce and unmarried childbearing significantly increases poverty rates of both mothers and children. Between one-fifth and one-third of divorcing women end up in poverty as a result of divorce.
* Married mothers have lower rates of depression than single or cohabiting mothers.
* Married women appear to have a lower risk of domestic violence than cohabiting or dating women. Even after controlling for race, age, and education, people who live together are still three times more likely to report violent arguments than married people.

About Society

* Adults who live together but do not marry—cohabitors—are more similar to singles than to married couples in terms of physical health and disability, emotional well-being and mental health, as well as assets and earnings. Their children more closely resemble the children of single people than the children of married people.
* Marriage appears to reduce the risk that children and adults will be either perpetrators or victims of crime. Single and divorced women are four to five times more likely to be victims of violent crime in any given year than married women. Boys raised in single-parent homes are about twice as likely (and boys raised in stepfamilies three times as likely) to have committed a crime that leads to incarceration by the time they reach their early thirties, even after controlling for factors such as race, mother’s education, neighborhood quality and cognitive ability.


Fundamental Conclusions

The authors conclude with three fundamental conclusions:

1. Marriage is an important social good, associated with an impressively broad array of positive outcomes for children and adults alike.
2. Marriage is an important public good, associated with a range of economic, health, educational, and safety benefits that help local, state, and federal governments serve the common good.
3. The benefits of marriage extend to poor and minority communities, despite the fact that marriage is particularly fragile in these communities.

To Order

Pricing Information
1-4 copies, $5.00 ea
5-19 copies, $3.50 ea
20-29 copies, $3.00 ea
30-99 copies, $2.50 ea
100 copies or more, $2.00 ea. Single copies are $5.00 each (volume pricing information at right). To order, please download this form (pdf file, 95 kb) or use this web-based form.

To place your order by telephone, contact:

Institute for American Values
Phone:212.246.3942
Fax: 212.541.6665
Email: charity@americanvalues.org

The original article can be found here: http://www.americanvalues.org/html/r-wmm.html

Parental Rights – what would MLK do?

In Family Rights on May 12, 2009 at 7:03 pm

I ask myself what would Martin Luther King do..? would he stand up for parents and parents rights.. if he knew that more than 60 percent of black children grow up without fathers because of the federal government involvement in “welfare” rather than dads..??

Would MLK stay a Republican, as he was all his life.. or join with the Democrats in the Socialist Revolution to destroy capitalism, education, parenthood and even more black families?

What would MLK think about the Democrats attack on Christianity and the Gospel? Would he call it a “hate” crime?