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Happy Father's Day?

June 16, 2019 by Don Hubin, Ph.D., Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

“Happy Father’s Day!”

On the third Sunday in June, those words are welcomed by loving dads across the country. But for far too many of those dads, the annual celebration of fathers is a bitter reminder of what was taken from them and of the hole in their lives that cannot be filled.

I’m not talking about all fathers who are divorced or separated from their children’s mothers. Most of these fathers have been sidelined by our family courts that still see fathers primarily only as financial resources, not as loving and capable parents. But in most cases the standard parenting schedules, cruel as they are to children and fathers, at least allow the children to spend Father’s Day with their dads. These dads at least get to hear “Happy Father’s Day” from the children they love.

I’m talking about the dads who have been, either through court action or through court inaction, largely erased from their children’s lives.

How does this happen?

Sometimes courts, after awarding full custody to Mom, allow her to move the children far from the father. Sometimes there are compelling reasons for the move; tough choices have to be made. But often judges simply reason that the court can’t tell adults where they can live and, of course, Mom can take the kids with her because … guess what? … she has custody.

These fathers might at least get a phone call from their kids on Father’s Day. They might hear the words “Happy Father’s Day” through the tinny speaker of their cell phones. They won’t, though, be able to take their kids to the park, hug their kids, or feel their kids’ arms around their necks.

But some dads have it worse. Sometimes their children’s love and affection have been turned to hatred or fear by a selfish and destructive campaign of parental alienation by the other parent. Parental alienation goes far beyond an occasional negative comment about your children’s other parent made in front of the children. Parental alienation is a concerted effort to enlist the children to one’s own side of the divide by portraying the other parent as unfit, uncaring, or dangerous. It is horribly damaging to children. It is a form of child abuse. Sometimes when these children reach adulthood, the scales fall from their eyes and they reconnect with the targeted parent and blame the alienator. But, all too often, parental alienation leads to a lifetime rift between the children and one of the parents who loves them.

The sole physical custody arrangements still favored by our courts in contested custody cases contribute to parental alienation by designating one parent the primary parent and limiting the time that the other parent has to maintain a relationship with the children.

Some dads’ kids have been abducted, taken far away, sometimes to foreign countries, in violation of court orders. These dads won’t get even a phone call on Father’s Day and their separation from their kids may well be permanent.

Our courts and family law system don’t cause parents to abduct their children from the other parent. But they do precious little to help locate the child who has been abducted. There is an enormous governmental bureaucracy working to track down child support obligors who try to hide by moving away. We’re willing to go to great lengths to ensure that children are not deprived of the financial support that courts have ordered. And that is a good thing. But when parents’ children have been abducted in violation of courts’ orders, parents are largely on their own to try to correct this problem.

To those dads who can share the day with their children, National Parents Organization says, “Happy Father’s Day!” And, to those who have been wrongly deprived of this joy, we say, “We understand your pain; we understand the harm that is being done to your children; and we’re working hard to change the laws and court practices that made this destruction possible.”


Actually, Dads Do a Bit More Work for their Families than Do Moms

June 15, 2019 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

I’ve complained a lot recently about various articles that continue to channel the notion – debunked by even a casual glance at actual data – that women work more than do men.  As I forever point out, studies that ask men and women to keep track of what they do every day and the time spent on each task all but invariably produce similar results.  Those results show that, when we aggregate men’s paid and unpaid work and do the same for women, each sex spends a statistically identical amount of time working each day.  Articles saying otherwise invariably focus on women’s work in the home and ignore men’s work at the office or plant.  Yes, women do more domestic work, but men do more paid work.  Anyone claiming that women are hard put upon by that is simply in search of a complaint to make.

Now comes the Institute for Family Studies to make much the same points but with even more detailed analysis of even more data (IFS, 6/11/19).  Researcher and writer Robert VerBruggen calls the idea of the lazy father a “myth” and rightly so.  


With Father’s Day Approaching, It’s Time to Denigrate Fathers

June 14, 2019 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Imagine coming across an article headlined “Who’s Your Mommy? Don’t Ask a DNA Test.”  As you read it, it slowly dawns on you that the writer is suggesting decoupling the concept of motherhood from a woman’s biological relationship to her child.  After all, the article explains, plenty of kids have adoptive mothers, not biological ones; plenty have stepmothers too.  Some women go to prison or lose their parental rights due to drug or child abuse and often their kids go to foster parents.  And historically, countless mothers died, either in childbirth or long before their kids reached maturity.  So someone else had to mother them.

The point being that, since there are so many different ways in which children can come to be raised by women who have no biological connection to them, surely we should ignore that connection altogether.


Vancouver Sun Discovers Domestic Violence Against Men

June 14, 2019 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Here’s a good article on domestic violence (Vancouver Sun, 6/7/19).  Apparently, Simon Fraser University criminologist, Alexandra Lysova, has been studying Canada’s General Social Survey that’s conducted every five years.

One of her main points – and one of the article’s – is that men too are victims of domestic violence.  Indeed, in Canada, they’re more often victims of DV than are women.  The latest figures show that 4.2% of men and 3.5% of women have been victimized in the past five years.  Now, to begin with, that’s good news.  Those figures have been steadily declining to the point that, on average, 0.7% of women and 0.8% of men have been victims of DV in the past year.  Canadians seem to be cleaning up their act at least as far as intimate partner violence goes.

A few points of interest in the data: when all physical violence, including sexual assault is considered, 2.8% of men and 1.7% of women report victimization.  As to severe violence with sexual abuse, 1.2% of men and 0.5% of women were victimized.


Oregon Enacts Weak Parenting Bill

June 13, 2019 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Oregon has passed a bill that some may consider an “equal parenting” bill.  That may be a slight improvement over the status quo, but my guess is it’ll mean little-to-no change in parenting time orders.  Governor Katherine Brown signed it into law. 

Here’s the pertinent language of what is now the law in the Beaver State.
"In developing a parenting plan under this subsection, the court may order equal parenting time. If a parent requests that the court order equal parenting time in the parenting plan, the court may deny the request if the court determines, by written findings, that equal parenting time is not in the best interests of the child or endangers the safety of the parties." 

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