Posts Tagged ‘Teens’

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

‘My dad was my best friend, and I was Daddy’s Girl…My dad’s love was the most powerful I’ve ever witnessed’ :: Glenn Sacks on MND

In Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Glenn Sacks, Marriage on August 7, 2009 at 1:00 am

‘My dad was my best friend, and I was Daddy’s Girl…My dad’s love was the most powerful I’ve ever witnessed’

kaitlyn-bouchard“Losing my dad was the most devastating experience I’ve ever had to deal with…I would not be the person I am today if he was never a part of my life…He will forever be my hero.”

The National Students of AMF (deceased or “Ailing Mothers, Fathers,” or loved ones) Support Network is an organization dedicated to supporting college students coping with the illness or death of a loved one and empowering all college students to fight back against terminal illness.

Recently Kaitlyn Bouchard (pictured), a student and Chapter President at the University of Rhode Island, submitted a piece about her father to the National Students of AMF forum. She wrote:

Before I entered first grade, my parents divorced. I was young and didn’t really understand the new life I was thrown into. My mom and I moved out, and I was only able to see my dad every other weekend. I had been used to not seeing my dad very often, as he had been in the Navy. He eventually left the service to watch me grow up.

Being able to only spend time with my dad on the weekends, we would make the most out of it – we went to amusement parks, played mini golf, and we’d make midnight runs for snacks. My dad was my best friend, and I was Daddy’s Girl. We’d parade around town in matching sweatshirts, and go to the local diner on Sunday’s for breakfast. My dad even helped make the other kids at school jealous by sending gorgeous flowers to my classroom every Valentine’s Day.

My dad’s love for me has come to be the most powerful love I’ve ever witnessed. Only, I had no idea that this would all end before I even turned twelve years old.

Most of my time was spent living with my mom. One night in May 2002, mom had to do something no parent should ever have to. Just past 3AM, she opened my bedroom door and woke me up. Tears filled her eyes as she told me “Dad had a heart attack”. At that moment, I became wide awake and asked, “What hospital is he at? Mom took a moment to answer before saying “He’s in Heaven.”

It’s been seven years since that day. Losing my dad was the most devastating experience I’ve ever had to deal with. It was so completely unexpected and sudden. But I know for a fact I would not be the person I am today if he was never a part of my life. He taught me many valuable lessons, and even though I only knew him for eleven years I am so thankful that he was my dad. He will forever be my hero…

Read the full piece here.

Help, Resources for Dads
The National Fathers’ Resource Center is a division of Fathers For Equal Rights, Inc. (FER), located in Dallas, Texas, with offices in both Dallas and Ft. Worth. In existence for over three decades, it has services and resources for dads nationwide and is one of the largest and most active fathers’ rights organizations in the U.S. www.fathers4kids.org

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‘My dad was my best friend, and I was Daddy’s Girl…My dad’s love was the most powerful I’ve ever witnessed’ :: Glenn Sacks on MND.

The State of Fatherhood – Florida International University

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

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

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

FIU lab investigates the state of fatherhood

By Sissi Aguila

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

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

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

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

Risky behaviors

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

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

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

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

A girl needs her dad

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

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

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

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

Informing social policy

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Why teenage children don’t get on with their father’s new wives | Vanguard News

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, family court, Family Court Reform, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers on July 26, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Why teenage children don’t get on with their father’s new wives

By Bunmi Sofola

THE horrors of divorce, once dubbed the modern epidemic, are nothing compared with  the nightmare of constantly living with the evidence that the parents who’d painstakingly drummed moral values into you are afterall not infallible. Divorce, though painful is at least cut and dried. The end of a marriage is imminent, children, thank heavens, are resilient and adaptable to change.

After the initial blow of divorce, provided that the parents behave in a civilized manner and don’t fight for their children’s affection or grumble about each other, there can be some very satisfying compromise. Not so with polygamy. Polygamy in the sense that you give your wife and children the false impression of a monogamous marriage, then spring polygamy on them. Even the law of the land is very straight-forward as to the legal rights of polygamous wives.

The husband is to start as he means to go on. If you want a polygamous marriage, the first and subsequent wives are to be married under the native law and customs. And initial court marriage makes the addition of more wives illegal. But of course, we know all this is hot air. Backed by the impotence of our judicial system when matrimony is concerned, a lot of men please themselves forcing their wives to live under the most impossible condition, after they’re brought in other ‘wives.’ Admittedly such wives stay for one reason or the other. But what about the children of such an alliance? After living with a set of parents for 15, 20 years, how do they react to the entrance of second and third wives and their staying under the same roof? And sharing all the amenities in the home?

Fadake an 18-year old undergraduate said her parents had been married for 14 years when she started noticing that things were no longer the same at home with their parents. “It started with constant muffled quarrels in their bedroom,” related Fadake. “But they both usually come out pretending that we children, four in all, didn’t know what was going on. I guess they imagine they can cover up their rows and frictions by putting on false smiles and forcing us kids to accept all the unlikely excuses they gave us for their odd behavior.

“Shortly after this bickering, my father got promoted to a post that went with a company house and other fringe benefits. We had a gardener, a cook, a steward and the news that knocked us out cold – someone was expecting a baby for my father, and horror of horrors, she was moving into the house. I couldn’t believe it.

Couldn’t believe the fact that a father who’d been ruthlessly strict with us would dare to flaunt his shortcomings in our presence. But that was exactly what he did. This woman was then installed in the guest chalet. “All of a sudden, we were made to live with this horrid looking woman with a bulging stomach. My mother was positively embarrassed; ashamed is the right word. I promptly discouraged my friends from visiting the house and all the affection I had for my father flew out of the window. Our youngest, who was ten at the time was bewildered and hostile. She was positively nasty to the new wife and when she thought nobody was looking, would sneak up to her and snarl: “Go away, I hate you!” “It was my mother I felt sorry for.

She too stopped encouraging her friends to drop by to stop them gloating over her ridiculous status. That happened about two years ago. I was before then foolishly hanging on to my virginity, but that was quickly remedied, thank to my father. If he could stray, so could I. I know the importance of good education and that is what I am going to get. Even now, I still can’t get over the fact that my father could be so callous, so unfeeling in the way he treated his family for that thing he called a second wife. I used to love him, you know. But now, I don’t give a damn if I never saw him again…….”

Apinke came from a polygamous  home. At 34, she was already the mother of an eight-years old from a marriage that hit the rock barely a year after she tied the knot. A personal assistant to the managing director of a pharmaceutical company, she met a lot of men in her job. Not all of them wanted a permanent commitment until she met Supo, a 45-year old owner of a very flourishing electronics company. He was already married of course with six children, and six months after Apinke met him, she was pregnant. She wanted more children of course and since she lived in a very comfortable flat, she thought her lover would just take over the responsibilities of a husband and let her stay where she was.

“I was wrong”said Apinke. “He wanted a second wife and was determined that I should live with his family with my daughter. My daughter was horror stricken when I told her. She wept that she didn’t want to live with anybody else but my man was not moved. In the end, we married under native law and customs and I moved into a flat in his house. “His first child, who was about 16 at the time, was very hostile to me. She treated me as something unpleasant the dog dragged in. His five other children simply ignored me and my poor daughter was more miserable than ever.

My friends, seeing the     unhealthy atmosphere  under which we lived; simply stopped coming. His first wife always had a cynical know-it-all-look whenever she saw my friends and had referred to them as prostitutes on several occasions. “My husband wasn’t always around and whenever I dared to complain, he always told me to be more tolerant. He had changed too. Now that I was safely in his net, he didn’t care as he once used to.

I had two boys for him then I left. His first daughter’s hatred for me was worse than her mother’s jealousy. Whenever she had friends around, she insulted me indirectly through them. She refuses to acknowledge my presence anywhere and regarded me with contempt. It was a relief when I  finally decided  to pack my bags and leave. My daughter was overjoyed. You know, even now, wherever I  run into my husband’s daughter (my stepdaughter really, though I could never see her that way) she would look at me mockingly and make rude faces at me!

“Some men could be quite insensitive about throwing two warring wives together. No one really likes a live-in-rival but in their anxiety that all their children should live under the same roof, a lot of men stoke the fire of bitterness and resentment within the family they are trying to keep together. When a man married the first time, that’s love”, someone once said. “When he marries a second time, that’s courage.” And Lord knows you need a lot of courage to cope with two or more women.

Why teenage children don’t get on with their father’s new wives | Vanguard News.