CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

The War on Fatherhood

Feb 18, 2010

Australian family law, the Family Law Act, and the Family Court all have a lot to answer for. They have regularly and systematically treated fathers with contempt and derision, depriving them of the most basic of human rights, including the right to see their own children after the breakdown of a marriage.

A devastating critique of the Family Court was penned by La Trobe University historian John Hirst in the Quarterly Essay, 2005. Entitled “‘Kangaroo Court’: Family Law in Australia,” it highlighted the gross injustices which men receive at the hands of the Court. Said Hirst, “The Family Court condemns itself. If its orders have been conscientiously framed to advance the best interest of children, then by its failure to enforce its orders it has been systematically damaging the children under its care.”

He rightly points out how fathers are especially being disadvantaged and discriminated against in the Family Law process. Many have a theoretical right to visiting their children, but in reality they often have no access at all.

Mothers overwhelmingly end up with the children in custody disputes, and often the last thing being considered is the actual best interests of the child. A recent case which became headline news provides a glaring example of this. This is how one report covered the story when it broke last month:

“A mother found by the Family Court to be violent, untruthful, lacking moral values and responsible for the psychological and emotional abuse of her children has been given custody of them. The father, deemed ‘principled’ and with ‘much to offer his children’, has been effectively banned from seeing his daughters. The case will spark renewed debate about family law and the issue of shared parenting.

“The father, who we will name ‘Bill’ because he cannot be identified for legal reasons, is described by a Family Court judge as no threat to his daughters, a successful parent who is ‘courteous’ and intelligent. The same judge found the mother, whom we will call ‘Jasmine’ and who abandoned her first daughter at two and spurned the child’s subsequent attempts at reconciliation, had displayed ‘dreadful’, ‘cruel’ and ‘malicious’ behaviour.

“But the judge still ruled that because of time spent apart, the children had become estranged from their father and it was in their interests that ‘the children spend no time with the father’. This was at odds with a ruling in February 2008 that Bill should have contact with his daughters.”

Sadly this is not an isolated incident. Many other cases of gross miscarriage of justice have been perpetrated by a biased, anti-father Family Court. Many men have endured misery, depression and despair over the treatment they have received from the system. And far too many men have taken their own life as a result.

Patrick McCauley has just penned a strong criticism of such matters for Quadrant Online, entitled “Killing Fathers”. In this article he asks the telling question: “why do an entire generation of children lack fathers?”

Says McCauley, “The statistics are in, so are the studies – children do not travel well without their fathers, and the levels of unfathered children is at least ten times greater than it was at the beginning of the 1970’s. The Family Law Act of Australia sealed the fate of millions of Australian men and their children. Fathers were reduced to 20 percent access or every second weekend. Many wandered off in despair. Probably less than ten percent were truly irresponsible or violent, dangerous men. The state enacted a law which effectively ‘stole’ children from their fathers (without any apology). For the crime of marriage failure, most men lost their fatherhood.”

He continues, “Women, freed into the massive freedoms of the sexual revolution and the feminist metanarrative, decided to have children without fathers. Single motherhood became a status symbol, an emblem, of the truly liberated woman. Both heterosexual women and homosexual women, even sexually confused women, were given state funded access to IVF programs on the grounds of being ‘psychologically infertile’. Fatherhood was portrayed as undesirable, and inconvenient. The state made no requirement that these children have fathers.

“The demise of fatherhood was possibly an unintended consequence of the subtle misandry (the hatred of maleness) which suffused society throughout the late twentieth century. Schools, universities, TAFE Colleges, the public service, hospitals, families became Male Unfriendly Environments (MUE’s) as they were overrun and dominated by women who were both ambitious and maintained an idealistic and fundamentalist feminist narrative. The domestic matriarchy delivered to women the quickest and most significant redistribution of wealth this country has ever undertaken.”

McCauley concludes his piece this way: “Up until the enactment of the Family Law Act of Australia in 1974, Australia was a patriarchy, as were, and are, all aboriginal societies. The Australian patriarchy demonstrated its commitment to fatherhood by taking unfathered part-aboriginal children into the care of the state or the church. It is the new domestic matriarchy, which, almost by stealth, has overtaken Australian society, which has declared this act of welfare – ‘The Stolen Generations’. I would contend that the children stolen from their fathers since the introduction of the Family Law Act are in fact the real stolen generations. And they have been stolen by a fear and hatred of maleness that permeates our whole society. Thus they have banished the fathers and now the children (both black and white) run ragged, confused and directionless throughout the bush and suburbs of the land.”

I certainly agree that we have here a genuine Stolen Generation. It is one thing when wives become single mothers through no fault of their own (eg., the death or desertion of the husband). They need a lot of support, since they must now do twice as much work with only half the resources.

But it is another thing altogether when there is a deliberate act of bringing children into the world without a father. Single-parenthood by choice, lesbian parenting, and a monstrously lop-sided Family Court process are all conspiring against the rights of a child to have his or her own father. In my book that is a type of child neglect, if not child abuse.

The divorce revolution has unleashed a trail of social destruction and devastation. And the Family Courts have done their bit to decimate fatherhood. The Family Law Act and all that goes with it has done so much damage to so many that the best thing may be to simply put it out of its misery, and start afresh.

books.google.com.au/books?id=U5pazwBde_oC&printsec=frontcover&dq=john+hirst+family+law&source=bl&ots=pYxeUSSQrT&sig=rrgeaDOZRilSbqGy-2P1LEyycwE&hl=en&ei=XZl7S_mnMoGgkQX5i5DKBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=&f=false
www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/fury-at-ruling-in-custody-battle/story-e6frf7l6-1225817724269
www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/qed/2010/02/killing-fathers

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12 Responses to The War on Fatherhood

  • Bill, you quote McCauley who said:
    “And they have been stolen by a fear and hatred of maleness that permeates our whole society.”
    I suggest that the hatred is not through the whole society but through the so-called ‘intelligentsia’ – the opinion makers and moulders in influential positions in government, politics and the media.

    Thus the published and public debate over divorce, marriage and family represents a distortion of the views of our society, which is still running on the momentum of our lost Christian heritage, plus the undeniable common grace of God – we sense that a true family consists of both natural parents and all their children.

    John Angelico

  • Hi Bill,

    Nice article… Yes it is very odd in Australia that in such situations laws are there to protect the worst 5% at the cost of the other honest 95%. There are far too many sad stories that the Family Court are responsible for.

    Ben Green

  • What’s more, easy, no fault divorce laws allow far greater state micro-management of our lives as Jennifer Roback Morse has argued.

    ‘In one incredibly descriptive paragraph, Morse explains why a married couple operates very differently. “No one from the state forces them to pool their incomes, if they both work. If they have the traditional gender-based division of household labor, no one forces the husband to hand over his paycheck to his wife to run the household. No one makes the wife allow him to take the kids out for the afternoon. No one has to come and supervise their negotiations over how to discipline the children. When he’s too tough, she might chew him out privately, or kick him under the table. When she lets them off the hook too easily, he might have some private signal for her to leave so that he can do what needs to be done.”

    Where this informal and very natural pattern of home life is not preserved, the state must enter the picture. As always, the state enters clumsily and at great cost. Spending just a couple of hours observing a divorce court or custody hearing will be sufficient to prove the point–government simply cannot replace what the breakup of marriage destroys.’

    http://www.albertmohler.com/?cat=Commentary&cdate=2006-02-17

    And divorce comes at enormous costs to the tax payer;

    http://www.acton.org/commentary/453_family_is_a_fiscal_issue.php

    Damien Spillane

  • Bill,
    Your quote from above “I would contend that the children stolen from their fathers since the introduction of the Family Law Act are in fact the real stolen generations. And they have been stolen by a fear and hatred of maleness that permeates our whole society”. I think there is a lot of truth in that statement. You really must wonder at the self defeating idiocy of some of our policy makers, those “faceless” people in government departments who dream up these concepts without looking at the big picture.
    Steve Davis

  • Hi Bill
    Your article is one sided and you are failing children by proposing fatherlessness, and have completely bypassed the argument for the safety of children and vulnerable mums from doemstic violence. All reasonable and non violent fathers have an opportunity to use the relationships Australia services. But there are some who perpetuate domestic violence against children and mums through using family courts.
    Family court is a business and many collude for their own benefits.
    Perhaps you may have missed the point about safety of children, and you are providing completely misleading information about who gains custody in family courts, and that is a small pocket of abusers. All three reviews found that domestic violence and abuse of children was perpetrated on vulnerable parents and children through the family courts, and that finding is statisitically significant, as the lifelong impact is equally significant. In the USA, majority of great men accept the problem, and are now re-socialising males into accepting the freedom women have fought for to be recognised and to deal with children’s problems. The gender argument you present is misleading and flawed, and by discussing an isloted case, you are not presenting a fair argument. And your hatred for motherhood is obvious, and it is from this mindset, that you are putting children at risk. The tax payers cannot afford to pay 50/50 shared cared, so the best possible solution is that children have the mothers as primary carers and the fathers to have contact. Unless there are inquisitorial evidence to counteract this unfair system. Your polarised and negative views of women historicaly is outdated and misleading.
    Asisha Elkhart

  • Thanks Asisha

    One always has to chuckle at the way feminists twist things in order to push their version of events. My concern for children somehow results in this charge: “Your polarised and negative views of women historicaly [sic] is outdated and misleading”. I am not quite sure how that follows. Maybe someone can help me out here.

    But wait, there’s more: “your hatred for motherhood is obvious”. It is? Given that I have consistently argued on this site for the importance of every child to be raised by his or her own mother and father, I find it pretty hard to see how that makes me a hater of mothers. Indeed, I have even penned articles such as “The Importance of Mothers”: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2009/05/05/the-importance-of-motherhood/

    In my companion article, “The Dangers of Fatherlessness” I offer a small sampling of the mountain of social science research that shows how important fathers are to the wellbeing of children. Just how that makes me guilty of having “polarised and negative views of women” and a “hatred for motherhood” is beyond me.

    But feminist ideologues tend to prefer name calling to actually dealing with the evidence. When one is pushing an agenda, it is always easier to sling mud than offer a convincing argument.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Asisha Elkhart, are you a politician? I have read what you wrote a number of times and still can’t understand what you’re talking about. I get the general point though – you disagree with Bill. Fair enough, but where’s some actual reasoning as to why this is?

    I am truly sorry that you must have witnessed or suffered some violence as a child, but your individual personal experience is clouding your judgment on the issue.

    So let’s start…
    How is Bill “failing children by proposing fatherlessness”? I don’t follow – isn’t that what he writing against? Fatherlessness?

    You say Bill has “…completely bypassed the argument for the safety of children and vulnerable mums from doemstic violence” and yet Bill has referred to the findings on what level of existence there is amongst men for domestic violence. And yes, the court is adequately empowered and shown it’s capability in protecting women and children from those offenders. Yet he is clearly referring to the distorted situation that exists where, even in the obvious (and not uncommon) instance where the shoe is on the other foot, men are *still* regularly prohibited from getting access to their children. Ironically, if the mother invites another man into her life, her house and her bedroom, he gets *immediate and full* access to the children as well, whether or not he’s at all interested in or cares about the children. fathers have *no* recourse in deciding whether their children are safe or best served in the situation – and the children may (and sadly too often do as statistics repeatedly show) suffer at the hands of other men coming through the house. yet, still access for the father is often withheld.

    You continue with “…you are providing completely misleading information about who gains custody in family courts, and that is a small pocket of abusers”. Well this goes both ways. But in my experience biological fathers are often very protective of their children and will make life decisions based on the welfare of their children, in my experience moreso nowadays than women do, particularly as women are by far and away the prime instigators of *no-fault* divorce nowadays – an interesting facts that shows that mothers aren’t as concerned for the welfare of their children over other ideals as they say.

    Your beef seems to be with Family Court “…All three reviews found that domestic violence and abuse of children was perpetrated on vulnerable parents and children through the family courts, and that finding is statistically significant, as the lifelong impact is equally significant.” yet you rail against Bill who is petitioning for an overhaul of Family Court.

    Your condescension in the statement” … In the USA, majority of *great men* accept the problem, and are now re-socialising males into accepting the freedom women have fought for to be recognised and to deal with children’s problems.” truly bugs me though. So, only males that you see as accepting the issue of domestic violence, by accepting the current unequal situation in parenting arrangements, are “Great Men”, and even more so because they submit themselves to being ‘re-socialised’ so that they better accept women’s freedoms? So the only good male is one that has been brainwashed and to subjugated to accept the feminist way of thinking that women should be in charge and men should just shut up an accept it and stop getting in the way? or am I just reaching here? Did you miss the studies about the damage that fatherlessness, not motherlessness, does to children and ultimately society?

    I’m not even going to comment on your leap to Bill’s “obvious hatred of motherhood”. You shot your whole argument down with that one all by yourself.

    But I will comment on your statement that “The tax payers cannot afford to pay 50/50 shared cared, so the best possible solution is that children have the mothers as primary carers and the fathers to have contact”. Firstly I’m assuming this is a US thing because Australia has gov’t supported shared custody which works as well as it can (given that divorce is a horrible life-altering situation for everyone concerned in the first place) and the money is shared equally between the two parents – surely it’s not that difficult for the US to enact similar arrangments? As to the tax payers not being able to afford it. President Obama has recently given almost a trillion dollars out to bankers and big business which has contributed very little to the long-term good of the country (as it’s all going to fall in a heap anyway because the underlying problems are not fixed), and yet he can’t find a bit extra to enable shared custody arrangements for the hurting children (and fathers) of America? Their stability would do more to promoting peace and prosperity for the nation than another $trillion to his cronies.

    In summary, what I find amazing is that at the centre of this article and subsequent debate is the Family Court, which even you seem to have a major bone to pick with, and yet you swing your argument into a feminist rant about those ‘dangerous men’ and the need for socialising them, and how Bill hates mothers (sorta strange given that’s he’s happily married to one).

    Garth Penglase

  • It is the children who have suffered most under Australia’s present Family Law. Primarily they are denied the opportunity to have a say in proceedings and who they wish to live with and whether, or not, they wish to have contact with the non-resident parent. In principle their views are supposedly to be fed into the process by Family Reporters and Independent Children’s lawyers but the majority of these people have no training in working with children or how to interview children. of knowledge anbout child development, child abuse, and domestic violence. Consequently they merely present to Courts their often own ill-informed opinions on what should happen to children (in their best interests of course) yet they may not have even spoken to the child. They also profess knowledge about psychological theories for which they have had no professional training e.g. PAS, MSBP etc mainly based on junk science. Children are forced into residency and contact with toxic and dangerous parents they no longer wish to be associated with and endure abuse and other forms of ill-treatment and exploitations. Children have been forced to travel inter=state to afford a a parent their contact ‘rights’ and in at least one case a 3 yr old child is forced to travel alone monthly between Dubai and Australia. Other children in 50/50 `custody’ arangements are mere ping pongs bouncing between one home and another. Other children are forced to live in outback shanty towns to be close to a parent who asserts contact rights. Children are not being protected from abusive and dangerous parents, whuch is a duty of the Courts of Australia and several have been killed as a consequence of the Courts decisions. It is interesting that several writers in these thread see it as having `custody’ of their children which betrays an attittude that children are merely their possessions to be held captive by them and this is certainly the way children are treated under the Family Law Act and by the Family Courts – little more than `Goods and Chattels’ to be divided up with the house, furnishings, and other assets between the two parties. This is Australia’s shame that it treats children with so little respect and condemns them to `custodial’ arrangements where they suffer extreme abuse and expoloitions.
    Karl Ragnvald

  • Hi Bill
    In response to Asisha let me first point out that there can be no greater domestic violence than that of depriving a caring father of contact with his children and it can be a very long term of emotional related violence inflicted by the woman. Unfortuantely for some of the so-called feminists they too may also feel this pain as the children grow up and leave their mother to seek out their father.
    As for child abuse a lot more alarming information is coming to light that mothers are also not above silently abusing their children physically and sexually. Let us face it in clear language it is the feminists who are most likely to kill or get rid of their children during pregnancy. (Yes there can be some male influence) but women now consider it their choice albeit a rather belated one.
    In fact the most dangerous place in the world where children are most likely to be harmed fatally is in the mothers womb.
    Now I know that not all mothers are like that but neither are all fathers so let’s stop the exagerated mud slinging because the easiest way of getting custody is to accuse a father of domestic violence. A statement that is often spitefully used with little defence possible. I.e. guilty until proven innocent.
    Unfortunately the problem doesn’t stop there and the chances of the rejected father being able to start a new life emotionally or financially are almost impossible.
    Ah! but you say they are his kids and he must pay for their upbringing and I would agree but! It’s funny how when support is needed they’re his children but when he want’s to have contact they’re not.
    A common malady of the feminist is the biased saying. I’m “having his baby” then when the relationship fails it changes to “I’m it’s mother it’s my child”.
    Emotional abuse is generally far more severe in the long term than most physical abuse and some women are quite adept at using this very powerful weapon.
    I personally would never condone either as both are extreme and unnecessary weapons that can cause severe long term damage. And the sooner courts consider the equal legal consideration of both the more acceptable and fairer the outcome will be.

    Dennis Newland

  • Hi Bill,

    Great article and you may be interested in this thought provoking interview published by vision.org.

    Vision.org is sponsored and funded by the Church of God, a nondenominational organization based in Pasadena, California.

    Linda Nielsen, interviewed by Vision’s Gina Stepp, is a psychologist and professor of adolescent psychology and women’s studies at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. Author of “Embracing Your Father: How to Build the Relationship You Always Wanted with Your Dad” (2004), Nielsen also teaches a “Fathers and Daughters” course, the only one of its kind in the United States for nearly 20 years.

    http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/family-relationships/fathers-daughters/3136.aspx

    The Lost Relationship: Fathers and Daughters
    2007

    It begins:

    GS In researching the importance of fathers to daughters, I was able to find long lists of articles on father-daughter incest, but very little on any impact that positive father-daughter relationships may have on the lives of women. Why do you suppose that is?

    LN Your experience gets exactly to the root of the problem. This is what I’ve been harping at for 20 years, to the point that I feel I’m just a voice in the wilderness. First of all, do you realize how rare incest is between a biological father and daughter? It is extremely rare. To psychologists and sociologists, the term incest covers sexual abuse by cousins, uncles, stepfathers, stepbrothers, brothers, half-brothers, men who live with your mother who are not related—that all goes into the category of incest. But when you look into the statistics about girls who were sexually abused by their biological fathers, it is a very small percentage. What it tells me, just as it told you, is that researchers have the wrong focus when it comes to studying father-daughter relationships.

    What you’ve discovered, and what my research is trying to get across to people, is that we perpetuate such unfounded stereotypes of fathers when it comes to their importance to their daughters, and this influences the relationship. If you’re brainwashed to think that every black person on the corner is about to steal your pocketbook, then you’re going to be on the lookout for that all the time. We’re brainwashed to think that fathers are not as good a parent to daughters as mothers are, or that fathers can’t nurture the way mothers can, or that daughters raised by fathers only are going to be worse off than daughters raised by mothers only, or that boys need their fathers more than girls do. That is exactly the point of my books, my class, my research.

    GS Why are these unfounded stereotypes proliferated so widely? Is it just that people tend toward the negative?

    LN I think people tend to be negative, and—I’m a feminist, but I’ll just say this flat out—I think we feminists are some of the worst when it comes to negativity. We start out with negative preconceptions about men as parents. We want to believe in the superiority of women as parents. Think about how you would feel, as a mother of daughters, if they turned to their father more than they turned to you for personal issues, or when they have problems with their girlfriends or their boyfriends. If they always went to him first and sometimes shut you out, that would hurt your feelings. And a large part of the reason it would hurt your feelings is that we have been told those are supposed to be mother-daughter things.

    GS How does one convince fathers and daughters that this relationship is so important?

    LN In the back of my book, I have these boxes called “eye-openers.” I didn’t want to make this a heavy academic book, so I’ve listed the studies at the end of the book linked to these eye-openers. These are actual research studies that give the facts about how important fathers are in their daughters’ lives. Are you worried about teenage pregnancy? Are you worried about whether your daughter will get a good job someday and be able to support herself? Are you worried about your daughter picking boyfriends and husbands who are going to be emotionally or physically abusive to her? Are you worried about boys taking sexual advantage of your daughter? All of these things, research shows, are connected more strongly to her relationship with her father than to her relationship with her mother.

    Yuri Joakimidis

  • Hi Bill,

    Great article and you may be interested in this thought provoking interview published by vision.org.

    Vision.org is sponsored and funded by the Church of God, a nondenominational organization based in Pasadena, California.

    Linda Nielsen, interviewed by Vision’s Gina Stepp, is a psychologist and professor of adolescent psychology and women’s studies at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. Author of “Embracing Your Father: How to Build the Relationship You Always Wanted with Your Dad” (2004), Nielsen also teaches a “Fathers and Daughters” course, the only one of its kind in the United States for nearly 20 years.

    http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/family-relationships/fathers-daughters/3136.aspx

    The Lost Relationship: Fathers and Daughters

    2007

    GS In researching the importance of fathers to daughters, I was able to find long lists of articles on father-daughter incest, but very little on any impact that positive father-daughter relationships may have on the lives of women. Why do you suppose that is?

    LN Your experience gets exactly to the root of the problem. This is what I’ve been harping at for 20 years, to the point that I feel I’m just a voice in the wilderness. First of all, do you realize how rare incest is between a biological father and daughter? It is extremely rare. To psychologists and sociologists, the term incest covers sexual abuse by cousins, uncles, stepfathers, stepbrothers, brothers, half-brothers, men who live with your mother who are not related—that all goes into the category of incest. But when you look into the statistics about girls who were sexually abused by their biological fathers, it is a very small percentage. What it tells me, just as it told you, is that researchers have the wrong focus when it comes to studying father-daughter relationships.

    What you’ve discovered, and what my research is trying to get across to people, is that we perpetuate such unfounded stereotypes of fathers when it comes to their importance to their daughters, and this influences the relationship. If you’re brainwashed to think that every black person on the corner is about to steal your pocketbook, then you’re going to be on the lookout for that all the time. We’re brainwashed to think that fathers are not as good a parent to daughters as mothers are, or that fathers can’t nurture the way mothers can, or that daughters raised by fathers only are going to be worse off than daughters raised by mothers only, or that boys need their fathers more than girls do. That is exactly the point of my books, my class, my research.

    GS Why are these unfounded stereotypes proliferated so widely? Is it just that people tend toward the negative?

    LN I think people tend to be negative, and—I’m a feminist, but I’ll just say this flat out—I think we feminists are some of the worst when it comes to negativity. We start out with negative preconceptions about men as parents. We want to believe in the superiority of women as parents. Think about how you would feel, as a mother of daughters, if they turned to their father more than they turned to you for personal issues, or when they have problems with their girlfriends or their boyfriends. If they always went to him first and sometimes shut you out, that would hurt your feelings. And a large part of the reason it would hurt your feelings is that we have been told those are supposed to be mother-daughter things.

    GS How does one convince fathers and daughters that this relationship is so important?

    LN In the back of my book, I have these boxes called “eye-openers.” I didn’t want to make this a heavy academic book, so I’ve listed the studies at the end of the book linked to these eye-openers. These are actual research studies that give the facts about how important fathers are in their daughters’ lives. Are you worried about teenage pregnancy? Are you worried about whether your daughter will get a good job someday and be able to support herself? Are you worried about your daughter picking boyfriends and husbands who are going to be emotionally or physically abusive to her? Are you worried about boys taking sexual advantage of your daughter? All of these things, research shows, are connected more strongly to her relationship with her father than to her relationship with her mother.

    GS Most people would buy the fact that boys need their fathers to develop the rough-and-tumble, adventurous aspect of masculinity, so they might also buy the fact that girls need their fathers to develop the adventurous side that might lead to business success. But some studies seem to indicate that fathers treat their daughters much more gently than they do their sons. What does that say to you?

    LN That may be, physically, because we tell fathers that girls are more fragile than boys. But think about your own life. Which parent is more likely to have taught you and your friends that, when you fail at something, you don’t sit in the corner and cry about it and feel sorry for yourself; you get up and try again.

    GS What other advantages do girls with involved dads have that other girls don’t?

    LN They’re going to get a certain confidence that others find it harder to get. You’ve got to remember that in this culture, most of the people girls see who have power and authority are men. So if they can get praise and recognition from the man in their family, it does, for them, carry a certain weight. If they don’t have that father in their family, they’re going to go looking for that praise and recognition elsewhere. Those girls, as they enter their teenage years, are more likely to be desperate for male approval, constantly thinking about the next boyfriend, or what do the boys think about me, or how do I get the boys’ attention. But once they get one—boyfriend, fiancé, husband—they’re constantly worried about him leaving. And so they become suspicious, overly dependent; they make their boyfriend or husband nuts by clinging to him. Nobody wants someone hanging on them all the time, like a child. There is some fascinating research out there about the advantages fathers give their daughters. Part of the problem is just getting the public to pay attention to it.

    Think of the fact that, in the United States, about 70 percent of black children are born out of wedlock. All you hear about absent black fathers is the impact on young black men. What about the impact on black daughters? The emphasis is on the boys, and how much they need their fathers. But the highest rate of AIDS infections right now in our country is among teenage girls. That’s the fastest-growing group to contract AIDS. Why? Because they’re dating guys and having sex too early—and, of course, it’s the poorest girls, because the poorer the family they come from, the less likely they have a father growing up with them, the more likely they’ll have sex by the time they are 12 or 13 years old with multiple partners, and the more likely their partners use drugs. The guys are not 12 or 13; they’re older, 19 or 20, because the girls are looking to fill that father void. So the fastest-growing group contracting AIDS is low-income teenage girls. They contract it as teens; it shows up when they’re 19 or 20. And that is directly connected to father absence.

    GS If fathers are this important in the lives of their daughters, how should society encourage their presence?

    LN Well, it’s interesting that when the mother and the father both work an equal number of hours outside the home, the amount of time they spend with their children is almost equal, which tells me that when both have the time to spend with their children, they both do it. But that wording is important: when they work an equal number of hours, they spend an equal amount of time. However, when women work “full time” and men work “full time,” men are still working 15 hours more a week than women, and commuting more hours than women. The negative assumption is that men are more interested in their work than in their children, or that they aren’t as interested in children as women are. But you know, if I’ve worked longer hours than you have during the day, I probably am less interested in spending a lot of time with my noisy kids when I come home. That’s not a gender thing; that’s an exhausted worker thing!

    I give my students a quiz titled “Are you an equal-opportunity daughter?” It has 10 questions—simple ones, like “Do you spend as much time alone with your father as you do with your mother?” You’re not going to get more of what you want from your father if you don’t give him the same opportunity to develop this kind of relationship as you’ve given your mother.

    GS How much of this falls on the daughter? Does the dad have a responsibility to make time as well?

    LN Well, certainly. But you’re told, as a dad, that once puberty hits you aren’t supposed to spend as much time with your daughter. Once she’s a teenager, you’re supposed to back off and let Mom have the main relationship. If that’s the message you’re sent, and you’re told that’s what a “good father” does, then that’s what you’re going to do. So yes, the father plays out that script too. My students tell me that their fathers stopped doing things with them when they became teenagers—like going camping with them alone on the weekends—because it would look weird, because it would be suspicious, and of course that gets back to that misconception people have about the prevalence of father-daughter incest.

    But during her teenage years, a daughter needs her father as much as ever. Unfortunately, the sad fact is that most fathers and daughters do not know each other nearly as well or spend nearly as much time together as mothers and daughters do.

    Yuri Joakimidis

  • Hi Bill,

    The dishonesty underlined in the Christian Post article below is utilized by shared parenting detractors in Australia too!!!

    Much kudos to Rachel Alexander for saying how it really is!!!

    Rachel served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Arizona and is the editor for intellectualconservative.com

    She is a regular contributor to Townhall, the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research, The Christian Post and Right Wing News.

    A copy of the North Dakota shared parenting legislation is available for download at:

    http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/65-2017/documents/17-8150-02000.pdf

    Kind regards,

    Yuri Joakimidis

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/opposition-group-turns-to-stealth-and-sexism-to-oppose-shared-parenting-in-north-dakota-127961/print.html#SYyw4Qghl2tYeHFZ.99

    The Christian post

    CPOPINION

    Opposition Group Turns to Stealth and Sexism to Oppose Shared Parenting in North Dakota

    BY RACHEL ALEXANDER , CP OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

    Oct 13, 2014 | 7:30 AM

    Rachel Alexander, an attorney, is the editor of the Intellectual Conservative.

    All too often, instead of being the keepers of the law, state bar associations flagrantly violate the law instead. They get away with this because they are controlled by powerful judges and affluent left-wing attorneys. Most often, people are too terrified to take on the rich and well connected, fearing they could be easily decimated by (ab) using the legal system.

    The debate about Measure 6, on the ballot this fall in North Dakota, is a recent example. Measure 6 would establish approximately 50/50 shared parenting as the default when parents with children split up, unless a court finds that one parent is unfit. Although 110 world experts have endorsed shared parenting, the deceptively named “Keeping Kids First” – which should be more accurately named “Keeping Kids with One Parent” – appears to be the only group opposing Measure 6. However, this group is nothing more than a cleverly named front for the primary opposition – feminists, divorce attorneys, the state bar association and the ACLU. Notably, not a single divorce attorney is identified as such on the website of the organization where the members are listed. However, all but three of the 12 members are divorce attorneys. Divorce attorneys stand to lose a lot of money if child custody becomes less acrimonious, and shared parenting would accomplish just that.

    The original email address for the organization was [email protected]. That is from the domain name of the North Dakota State Bar Association. Tellingly, after the shell organization was called out on misuse of bar association assets, the email address was changed – evidence of guilt. The executive director of the bar association is also listed as one of its members, more evidence of the cozy relationship.

    The last time a state bar association misused its resources – using bar dues from attorneys forced to contribute in order to practice law – it was taken over by the state supreme court, which reduced its fees drastically. The Nebraska State Bar was penalized for lobbying against shared parenting, since the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that mandatory associations cannot use the dues of their members to lobby for or against legislation. North Dakota is a mandatory bar association. Attorney Robert Franklin wrote on the National Parents Organization website about its opposition, “how it was possible for an organization of lawyers to not know the laws directly applicable to the doings of that organization?” Good question, and one the N.D. Secretary of State should be asking Keeping Kids First.

    Contrast this behavior with one of the organizations supporting the initiative, Leading
    Women for Shared Parenting (LW4SP), of which I am a proud member. There are over 75 leading women from all walks of life in this group – including a number of practicing divorce attorneys, elected officials, psychologists, social scientists, parental alienation experts, domestic violence practitioners and child advocates.

    The opposition to Measure 6 is using underhanded tactics, as they know Measure 6 would decrease conflict, which is how divorce attorneys get paid. Their rhetoric is full of inaccurate sky-is-falling scenarios, such as claiming the legislation will lead to rigid 50/50 shared parenting without any wiggle room. One attorney blatantly wrote in a letter to the Pierce County Tribune, “It would require courts to divide children’s time half-and-half between moms and dads, in every case, no matter the circumstances.”

    More disgustingly, however, is how opponents have smeared the 25 North Dakota women who comprise the sponsorship committee of Measure 6. Prominent North Dakota Democrat, Lloyd Omdahl, recently wrote, “Supporters of Measure 6 have rounded up a sponsoring committee consisting solely of women to disguise the fact that this measure would place a new troublesome burden on women assigned primary residential care.” Apparently, Mr. Omdahl believes the 25 women of the Measure 6 sponsoring committee have been either tricked or manipulated into sponsoring the measure. Mr. Omdahl, that’s sexist. In his own “War on Women,” Mr. Omdahl also ignores that in all reliable polling, over 70 percent of people support shared parenting, with women and men showing support in equal numbers.

    Many – if not most – women have a husband, brother, son, or other male relative who has been dragged for years through the unjustness and costliness of the family law courts, so these women are also being affected negatively, much like any “non-custodial” father. Less common, but also a problem, is what happens to women who have had the system used wrongly against them, perhaps because their ex was a divorce attorney, judge or otherwise well connected. The reason organizations like LW4SP have emerged is because women support shared parenting as they know it’s best for children.

    Leslie Loftis, an attorney and member of LW4SP, explained last week why children do better with shared parenting after divorce, not primary custodial living arrangements. We now know children who live in father-deprived situations suffer a long litany of developmental problems, including: youth crime, poor academic performance, homelessness, depression, suicide, delinquency, promiscuity, teen pregnancy, behavioral problems and substance abuse, and we now know such problems are actually caused by father absence. Furthermore, there is not a single study showing current court practices, which minimize the time children are allowed to spend with one parent, have any positive impact on reducing parental conflict. In short, when lawyers minimize an otherwise engaged and capable parent in the lives of their children, these actions are simply indefensible.

    As prominent leader Phyllis Schlafly describes in her new book, “Who Killed the American Family?” fathers have been maligned for decades by activist judges, feminists and left-leaning groups, who desire to replace fathers with government programs. These same liberal groups have now assembled in North Dakota to oppose what social scientists have found is best for children, as it doesn’t fit with their own economic or ideological interests. They’re wrong. To ignore the litany of evidence and facts against this, buys into feminist propaganda that hurts kids – who merely want and need both their parents.

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