Archive for June, 2014
Smith thanks Chairman Menendez, Ranking Member Corker for Marking-Up Bill which prods State Department and provides tools to bring American children home
The Goldman Act (HR 3212), legislation to help thousands of “left-behind” parents from across the country, was marked-up and approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, said Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), the author of legislation that passed the House 398-0 in December 2013. The bill would give the State Department a variety of tools to put pressure on foreign governments to send home American children abducted to overseas destinations.
“Following the bipartisan, unanimous House passage of HR 3212, The Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act, I have been eager for Senate action and am grateful to both Chairman Menendez and Ranking Member Corker for considering this legislation,” Smith said. “In the four-year push to turn my bill into law, we have seen a sea change in the Congress’ and State Department’s understanding of international parental child abduction—an understanding that these abductions are a form of child abuse and a human rights violation. Winning unanimous passage in the House and garnering the State Department’s support of this legislation has been critical.”
Smith sadly noted that many children and parents have tragically lost years illegally separated. They have missed birthdays, holidays, and family time—that they can never get back, he said. H.R. 3212 ensures that they will now receive significant help from the U.S. government in their fights to recover their children.
“Every day of separation brings immense suffering to abducted children and their left behind parents,” Smith said. “The Goldman Act will mitigate enormous pain and suffering and accelerate the return of abducted children.”
H.R. 3212 is named after David Goldman, of Monmouth County, N.J., who waged a five-year battle to get his son, Sean, back from Brazil in 2009. Ever since he has stayed in the fight on behalf of other less fortunate left behind parents, most of whom haven’t seen their own children in years, testifying repeatedly before congressional committees appealing for help for left behind parents.
Smith has held multiple hearings on the heartbreaking cases of left-behind parents of American children abducted to India, Japan, Egypt, India, Brazil, Russia, England and other countries from which far too few of the thousands of U.S. kids held wrongfully overseas are returned. Not all countries have signed The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the main international treaty to address parental abductions. The Hague provides a civil framework for the quick return of abducted children to their home country, and facilitation of visitation and contact between parents and children during the pendency of the case and after the resolution. Unfortunately, many Hague signatories, like Brazil, fail to consistently enforce the Hague Convention provisions.
More than one thousand international child abductions are reported to the State Department’s Office on Children’s Issues—the Central Authority of the United States—each year. Between 2008 and 2012, 7,000 American children were abducted, according to the State Department.
Among its many provisions, the legislation enumerates eight steps the Administration can take, increasing in severity, when a country refuses to cooperate in the resolution of overseas abduction and access cases involving American children. The bill also urges the Administration to enter into Memorandums of Understanding with non-Hague Convention countries to locate and effectuate the return of abducted children and protect the access of the child to the left behind parent. In order to ensure more robust accountability of the Administration and to warn judges who may allow a child to visit a country where return is difficult, the bill significantly enhances reporting on country by country performance.
The Yomiuri Shimbun
Nearly 500 children have been found abandoned or neglected by their parents in the three years through March this year, according to a nationwide survey by The Yomiuri Shimbun.
In May, the skeletal remains of a boy were discovered in an apartment in Atsugi, Kanawaga Prefecture. A series of such cases, in which children have died of malnutrition after being abandoned by their parents, has recently come to light. Experts have said a detailed survey of the current situation must be carried out.
According to the Yomiuri Shimbun survey, 483 children have been found abandoned in the last three years, including cases in which their lives were put in danger. However, the central and local governments have not conducted a detailed survey nor taken any special preventative measures. They will likely be called on to promptly create a system to find such children at an early stage and take them into protective custody.
The survey, which was conducted in June, asked 69 local governments with child consultation centers—including governments of prefectures, government ordinance-designated cities and some core cities—about such factors as the number of children left alone at home or other places from fiscal 2011 to fiscal 2013.
The figure includes cases in which parents left children at home and went out of contact, in which they frequently left children indoors or outdoors for long hours, and in which parents abandoned babies shortly after birth.
In fiscal 2013, there were 131 such children, compared to 199 in fiscal 2012 and 153 in fiscal 2011.
By prefecture, Osaka had the largest number with 120, followed by Tokyo with 102 and Saitama with 48. All 26 cases in Kumamoto Prefecture were children left at a foster care facility for abandoned newborns at Jikei Hospital in Kumamoto city.
However, local governments have different understandings of the word “abandonment,” as the central government has only a vague definition.
Of the 69 governments, 28 local governments said they had no cases of child abandonment, but some of the 28 did not count incidents in which parents frequently left children alone at night. Therefore, the number may rise if a more formal survey is conducted.
By age, children under 3 years old topped the list at 197, or 41 percent of the total. The number of children in primary school was 123, accounting for 25 percent, while that of children 3 years old and above who had not yet entered school was 114, or 24 percent.
The figure also includes 28 middle school students, or 6 percent, and 21 high school students and others, or 4 percent.
Some of the cases have been life-threatening, given the conditions in which the children were left and their age. In Saitama, a 2-year-old boy was found in an apartment on the verge of dying of starvation. At JR Shin-Osaka Station, a 1-year-old girl was found abandoned in a restroom.
Regarding the challenges in tackling the issue, many local governments answered that it is difficult to instruct parents. They said some parents make no effort to understand the dangers of neglecting their children and do so repeatedly.
“We need to provide general livelihood support for parents who need to work at night for financial reasons,” a municipal official said.
“The number of abandoned children is huge, and the situation absolutely cannot be ignored. In some cases, children nearly died. Even after they are taken into protective custody, psychological damage remains a concern,” said Prof. Jun Saimura of Kwansei Gakuin University, an expert on child abuse. “The central government needs to take immediate countermeasures after studying why and how such cases occur.”
Published 16/06/2014 (Irish Independent)
Last Friday Fathers’ Rights Ireland held a public stunt outside the Four Courts where they used a medieval pillory to symbolise the legal torture dads can be put through when relationships with their children’s mother turn sour.
Here in Ireland, a father needs to be married in order to get automatic guardianship of his children. When a couple isn’t married, the mother remains the sole legal guardian until the father looks for guardianship.
However, if the mother objects to this, the father must apply to his local district court to be made a guardian.
It’s an all too common scenario now since 33pc of all children born in Ireland are to unmarried parents.
Married men are entitled to guardianship of their kids but this can all change horribly when marriages fall apart.
A father might believe he has rights but then can find that he’s expendable and faced with a horrendous and expensive legal battle on separation. A father has to fight bitterly to get what is automatically awarded to mothers.
And if he doesn’t have the cash, he doesn’t get to see his children. But even fathers who can afford it are stripped of their assets by costly legal battles and then might be told that they can’t have their child to stay overnight because their humble bedsit isn’t suitable.
In more unpleasant separations, a man might be falsely accused of all kinds of physical or sexual violence so that the court case drags on unnecessarily while this is investigated.
Just take a look at the many fathers’ rights websites and you’ll soon see that men today tend to be victims of an unjust system that benefits the mum as opposed to the dad when it comes to children.
In fact, judging by messages left on the websites, false allegations are rampant and our court system separates too many innocent fathers from children.
Family law researcher Roisin O’Shea observed 493 judicial separation and divorce cases in 2010 which are ordinarily held in private.
She didn’t find a single case where the wife was ordered to pay maintenance for children or a spouse and had only seen the courts order joint custody in two cases.
Tina Rayburn, co-author of ‘I Want to See My Kids! A Guide for Dads Who Want Contact with Their Children After Separation’, writes: “Until people acknowledge the current system is flawed and has an overriding female bias, it will be difficult to see anything changing. There are two core problems. I don’t think the courts recognise a child can live happily in two homes and they are loath to take a child away from its mother. There is still a perception that these guys have done something wrong and they don’t deserve to see their children.”
It seems that both women and men are more comfortable aligning themselves with campaigns to help the sisterhood, whereas nobody wants to be seen siding with the brotherhood.
Over the past few decades we have quite rightly been tackling issues like making sure that women have an adequate income after separation and patriarchal abuses like domestic violence. But doesn’t it seem like the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction?
Meanwhile, the father’s rights movement continues to be politically marginalised. But women aren’t the only “natural” caregivers and men can and should play an equal role in raising their children. The horrible injustices suffered by many dads and their children go by without as much as a whisper.
The lack of justice for fathers is one of the biggest social scandals of our time.
We have a legal system that is utterly out of touch with the way we live now in a world where dads change nappies, push buggies and spend hours cuddling their children in exactly the same way that good mothers do.
Irish IndependentRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Monday, 16 June 2014 08:00 | Written By Arshy Mann
The latest attempt to bring the presumption of equal shared parenting to child custody matters in Canada has failed.
Bill C-560, legislation introduced by Saskatchewan Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott, went down to defeat on second reading. The bill would have amended the Divorce Act in a number of ways, most prominently to prescribe that judges should start from an assumption that parents should have equal custody unless giving one side a greater share could demonstrably enhance the best interests of the child.
Brian Ludmer, founding partner of Ludmer Law and co-founder of Lawyers for Shared Parenting, wrote the language in the bill. He was surprised and disappointed the bill didn’t at least make it to the committee stage.
“What were they so afraid of that they couldn’t let it get to committee for further study? You know what they were afraid of in my view? That the committee would say there’s a lot of merit to this. I think this got shut down because they didn’t want to hear a further study and to hear there’s actually merit.”
Equal shared parenting has become a major cause for fathers’ and men’s rights groups internationally. Proposals similar to bill C-560 have surfaced during several parliamentary sessions but have yet to make any headway.
Ludmer points to social science literature, much of it by Edward Kruk, a social work professor at the University of British Columbia, that argues equal shared parenting is in the best interests of children.
“The social science literature tells us that the closer you get to 50/50 and two primary parents, the better the outcomes,” says Ludmer.
Currently, judges try to determine an arrangement that’s in the best interests of the children. Ludmer argues the approach often leads to needless litigation that’s actually bad for children.
“The most unfair criticism of bill C-560 or frankly any similar legislation in any jurisdiction around the world is that it’s about parents’ rights rather than children’s rights. And it’s not. The current system is about parents’ rights.”
John-Paul Boyd, executive director of the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family, believes proponents of equal shared parenting misunderstand the reasons custody arrangements often end up favouring one parent over another.
“If the parent who has not been the stay-at-home parent is still working full time, why on earth would you arrange a 50/50 set of parenting arrangements?”
And while he agrees there are some studies that show an equal parenting arrangement is best for children, there are also a large number of reports that come to different conclusions.
“In fact, if there is any consensus in the literature, the consensus tends to gather around the idea that there is no particular parenting arrangement which is presumptively best for all children,” says Boyd.
While Boyd is against a presumption of equal shared parenting, he thinks it’s wrong for a judge to impose any sort of presumption.
“The only issue I have is that there should be a presumption about any kind of parenting arrangements, whether it’s shared parenting or some sort of primary-caregiver-plus-weekend-parent kind of thing. Both of those presumptions are wrong-headed.”
Many people involved with the fathers’ rights movement argue that since a significantly greater number of women receive a larger share of custody in separation cases between heterosexual couples, the courts have a bias against men. Boyd, however, argues the disparity reflects the fact that women, for a variety of economic and social reasons, tend to be the primary caregiver before separation. Courts simply maintain that.
“After all, the status quo is an arrangement that the parents themselves agreed to. They together made the economic and social decision that this particular parent would be the parent staying at home caring for the children,” he says.
“And so the judge makes an order carrying on the status quo on the basis that this is the arrangement that the child is used to, but also just from a purely logical perspective, this is what the parents themselves had agreed to.”
Boyd argues there are many reasons women tend to be the primary caregiver before separation. For example, women on average tend to earn less than men and, as a result, are more likely to leave their jobs or take on part-time work.
Another reason women become the primary caregiver, according to Boyd, is mothers have the ability to breastfeed, something many families want to do for their children. But Boyd says that even without these two realities, women still end up with most of the childcare work.
“Even if you were able to strip away the economic part of it and biological part of it, there’s still the sociological expectation that we continue to be acculturated with, this idea that moms are the perpetual caregivers and the idea that dads work outside the home,” he says.
Another aspect of the bill that worried Boyd was that it would have retroactively applied to all divorce orders made in the past.
“You can imagine the tidal wave of annoyed people flooding into court saying this is what should apply to me,” he says.
He didn’t oppose all aspects of the bill.
“One of the good parts was finally overhauling the antiquated and adversarial language with which we talk about the care of children, which is custody and access, which of course places the locus of the right in the hands of the parents rather than the hands of the children,” he says.
Bill-560 would have changed that language to instead talk about parenting time and parental responsibilities.
Ludmer maintains that in addition to providing better outcomes for children, the bill would have had the added benefit of clearing up some of the backlog in the family courts.
He argues other proposals, such as funding more mediation or making it mandatory, have failed to fix the problem.
For “the types of people who don’t settle their own affairs with the assistance of lawyers, mediation was always available,” he says.
“They’re not the type of people who are going to settle because you have mandatory mediation.”
And Ludmer argues that collaborative law ultimately fails because even collaborative lawyers ultimately have to follow their client’s instructions.
“And these types of people, the people that are so intent on marginalizing the other parent, they don’t hire collaborative lawyers in the first place. They hire lawyers who are going to fight this case and win this case for them,” he says.
Instead, Ludmer sees equal shared parenting as the only long-term solution to the problem.
“The answer is you need a default position to make it more difficult to litigate,” he says.
“And then guess what happens? Then the backlog gets cleared up, and suddenly you’ve got court time available for the cases that really need it, the troublesome situations.”
Although currently only the Green Party of Canada supports equal shared parenting, Ludmer is adamant.
“We’re not dissuaded; it is the only answer,” he says.
“We’ll keep going and hopefully it will become an election issue for the benefit of children.”Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
CRIME JUN. 15, 2014 – CHIBA —
Police in Yachiyo, Chiba Prefecture, said Sunday that a 35-year-old woman and her three children, aged 2, 6 and 7, fell to their deaths from the 14th floor of an apartment block.
According to police, the incident occurred just before 6 p.m. Saturday. TBS quoted police as saying that the family did not live in the building but resided about two kilometers away, and believe the mother may have thrown the children to their deaths first and then jumped.
Police said they received a call from a passerby saying that four bodies were lying on the grounds of the apartment complex.
Police rushed to the scene and found the bodies of Kyoko Kozu, 35, her 7-year-old son, 6-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son. They were taken to hospital where they were pronounced dead.
Police said they found a bag containing Kyoko’s belongings on the 14th floor stairwell.
Kyoko’s 32-year-old husband was at work at the time of the incident and police said they are questioning him about what might have motivated his wife to kill herself and their children.
SENDAI — June 15th, 2014
Police in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, said Saturday they have arrested a 32-year-old man on suspicion of fatally abusing the 2-year-old daughter of his former girlfriend.
According to police, Kazuya Saidoguchi, a construction worker in Sendai, faces child abuse charges after it was reported that on the evening of June 4, while looking after Hotaru, the daughter of his former girlfriend, he roughly pinched her face and other parts of her body, inflicting several injuries.
The child’s 20-year-old mother told police she noticed that there was something wrong with Hotaru when she returned home from her job at a bar early on June 9, TBS reported. Hotaru had also been left in Saidoguchi’s care that night. The mother then took Hotaru to a hospital where the child died on June 12, police said.
TBS quoted police as saying that they strongly believe the child was subjected to regular physical and possibly other forms of abuse at the hands of Saidoguchi.
Saidoguchi was quoted by police as saying he pinched the girl’s face and hit her to discipline her.
Although Saidoguchi and the child’s mother had broken up, she often asked him to babysit for Hotaru, police said.
Japan TodayRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Why fathers matter now more than ever before. A charge.
Byon June 13, 2014 Esquire Magazine
1. THE CRISIS OF FATHERHOOD IS REAL
The brute facts: The number of American families without fathers has grown from 10.3 percent in 1970 to 24.6 percent in 2013;* that percentage has more or less been stable over the past few years, at about a quarter of all families, with 17.5 million children currently fatherless in the United States. At the same time, those who are fathers, those who stay with their children, have taken on the role with an unprecedented intensity. American fatherlessness is a national disaster and, according to the latest research into its effects, more of a disaster than anybody could have imagined.
2. FATHERHOOD MEANS MORE THAN ANYBODY THINKS
The new fatherhood, and the new fatherlessness, are reshaping contemporary life, from its most intimate aspects to its most public, a mostly hidden force as powerful as it is unacknowledged. In a 2014 study of more than forty million children and their parents, researchers at Harvard and UC Berkeley examined the relationship between economic mobility and racial segregation, income inequality, school quality, social capital, and family structure. Family structure showed the strongest connection. The crisis of income inequality and the decline of social capital are the subjects of wide-ranging, furious debates. The quality of schools is the main subject of almost all local politics. Family structure matters more. From the report: “Family structure correlates with upward mobility not just at the individual level but also at the community level, perhaps because the stability of the social environment affects children’s outcomes more broadly.”
Fatherlessness significantly affects suicide, incarceration risk, and mental health. The new fatherhood is not merely a lifestyle question. Fathers spending time with their children results in a better, healthier, more educated, more stable, less criminal world. Exposure to fathers is a public good.
3. THE ATTENTION OF FATHERS IS IRREPLACEABLE
A single small but vital fact distinguishes men of the past fifty years from all other men in history: Most of us see our children being born. It’s one of those changes to everyday life that we take for granted but that have the most radical consequences. Up until the mid-1960s, the mysteries of birth were mainly the preserve of women. Then, suddenly, they weren’t. Men insisted on being with their wives as they gave birth, and with their children as they came into the world. Of all the grand upheavals between men and women over the past two generations—the sexual revolution, the rise of women in the workplace, and the rest—the new fatherhood has been, in a way, the easiest. Despite no historical examples of male nurturers, no literature of the macho caretaker, men have taken to the new fatherhood in all its fleshiness and complication without much struggle, indeed with relish. Today the overcaring father has morphed into a mockable cliché—you’ve seen them comparing stroller models at the playgrounds, or giving baby a bottle in a bar during the Final Four, or discussing the latest studies on the merits of early music education for “executive function.” The new father is an engaged father by instinct. Witnessing birth was the beginning of a widening intimacy. The new father holds his babies. He bathes them. He reads to them. The new father knows that the role of the father is not merely to provide food and shelter. The role of the father is to be there, physically and mentally.
This intimacy is instinctive, and research into the development of children has shown how powerful a force it is. The National Scientific Council on the Developing Child puts the strength of early impressions on a biological level: “We have long known that interactions with parents, caregivers, and other adults are important in a child’s life, but new evidence shows that these relationships actually shape brain circuits and lay the foundation for later developmental outcomes, from academic performance to mental health and interpersonal skills.” The presence of a father affects a kid on the level of brain chemistry.
Working fathers are reckoning with the consequences of these new insights. A 2013 study from Pew Research found that men and women found nearly identical levels of meaning in childcare. The problem of work-life balance isn’t just for women anymore, and the father who works eighty-hour weeks because his job is so important is no longer seen as something to aspire to. He’s pitiable. The fact that women are increasingly breadwinners has opened up new options for some—the stay-at-home dad has changed from sitcom-worthy freak into the subject of endless lazy trend pieces—but even men who have power are finding new strategies. Sigmar Gabriel, the vice-chancellor largely responsible for dismantling the nuclear-power industry of Germany—a big job—has decided to take Wednesday afternoons off to spend with his young daughter. “The only luxury is time, the time you spend with your family.” This is not the quote of a family-values Republican senator. That’s Kanye West talking.
4. FAMILY POLICY MUST BECOME ACTUAL FAMILY POLICY
The majority of two-parent American families have men and women who work, and men and women are increasingly sharing the childcare load.13 That reality—basic domestic egalitarianism—is for the most part treated as a surprising novelty, as news. And not just by op-ed writers. By tax law. By the courts. (Men pay 97 percent of alimony3 although women earn the majority of the income in 40 percent of families.12) The major institutions in American life are playing catch-up with a fifty-year-old development in home life—women are earning more money in more families all the time, and fathers are vital to the well-being of the children involved.
Fatherhood is taking on a political imperative: Every American man deserves a chance to spend time with his children without being fired. Every American child deserves a chance to spend time with his or her father without being impoverished.
5. THE NEW FATHERHOOD BELONGS TO NEITHER PARTY
The Republicans smell an opportunity in the new research on the family but don’t quite know what to do with it. This January, in a marquee speech on poverty, Florida senator Marco Rubio put the family at the center of his economic policy: “The truth is the greatest tool to lift children and families from poverty is one that decreases the probability of child poverty by 82 percent. But it isn’t a government spending program. It’s called marriage.” The Republicans are right this time. But they have so far used their new appreciation of fatherlessness to do little more than launch broadsides against various something-nothings of culture and to reject the idea that public policy can have any effect on the family whatsoever. For them, the new fatherhood is mostly an excuse for inaction.
If Republicans looked more closely at the consequences of fatherlessness, it might offer them new insight into a host of policies: Immigration reform is vital because the current policies destroy families. At the current rate of deportation, about a thousand undocumented immigrants are deported on average each day.5 By one estimate, the current U. S. immigration policy will separate more than 150,000 children from one of their parents.9 Now that we know how deeply family structure matters, that number can only be regarded as a social and economic catastrophe. The drug war, by punishing African-Americans at nearly four times the rate of whites for marijuana-possession offenses,1amounts to cultural genocide. A few Republicans who actually deal with the fallout of government policies on families’ lives, like governors Rick Perry and Chris Christie, have recognized the cost of these disastrous policies. Both have spoken about ending the drug war. It’s a start.
Democrats, too, are making a tentative start. In February, the president announced a private-public partnership, the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, a first step toward addressing the problem of minority boys through mentoring programs. At the announcement, President Obama said: “Nothing keeps a young man out of trouble like a father who takes an active role in his son’s life.” It’s typical “American families” boilerplate, of course. But the data show that it’s actually true as a matter of policy, and not just for minority boys but for all boys. The Brother’s Keeper initiative is a gesture, an important one—possibly a trial balloon?—but a small one.
For the president, a family-based approach to inequality clearly smells rotten. It has the aura of a host of outmoded prejudices many on the Left have spent their entire careers fighting against. Democrats prefer to focus on the traditional approaches of grievance politics, with the emphasis on class structures and race. But the most powerful way to alter those inequities is through family structure.
6. FATHERS ARE PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT FOR BOYS
It has now been more than a decade since Christina Hoff Sommers wrote her landmark book, The War Against Boys. Boys have not lacked for articulate defenders since—dozens of titles have followed—but the fate of boys has not improved. Every stage of their lives is fraught. The diagnosis rate for ADHD is as high as 15.1 percent for American boys, a percentage more than two times the rate for girls.10 Boys are expelled from preschool nearly five times as often as girls.15 In elementary and secondary school, boys get D’s and F’s at more than three times the rate of girls. On twelfth-grade standardized tests, 28 percent of boys score below basic levels in writing (it’s 14 percent for girls), and 31 percent of boys are below basic levels in reading (it’s 20 percent for girls).11 The gap in the high-school-dropout rate persists even as the general rate of dropouts declines.3Across grades four, eight, and twelve, boys write at lower levels than girls.11 Boys’ juvenile-arrest rate is more than two times what it is for girls. Boys are 71 percent of juvenile offenders.6 Boys are twice as likely to be threatened with a weapon in high school.2
Maturity and despair go together for boys. Between ages ten and fourteen, boys are about twice as likely to kill themselves. Between fifteen and nineteen, they are almost four times as likely. From twenty to twenty-four, almost five times.2 Women account for 56.5 percent of all undergrad enrollments. And women account for nearly 60 percent of bachelor’s and master’s degrees.11 So what happens in the future? What happens when the category of “man” is synonymous with the category of “uneducated,” which is synonymous with the category of “failure”?
Fear is the first response to the crisis, rife even among boys’ defenders, and after the fear comes the blame, two brands of it, right wing and left wing. The War Against Boys was explicitly a critique of feminism. “Boys” were the new “girls,” limited and despised by a generalized misandry, a politically correct fury that in its zeal to tear down the patriarchy simply forgot that men are people. On the other side, Michael Kimmel, in books like 2008’s Guyland and last year’s Angry White Men, has argued that the residue of patriarchy drives young men to despair and self-destruction. The old codes, the macho, the defensive response to a changing world, “the ideology of traditional masculinity that keeps boys from wanting to succeed,” in his phrase, are the primary culprits.
The boy is now an alien among us, brittle but also violent. But you don’t have to look far back to find other responses. Not so long ago, boys and boyishness were the ideals of society. On the walls of the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan are written the hopes Teddy Roosevelt had for the boys of his era: “I want to see you game, boys, I want to see you brave and manly, and I also want to see you gentle and tender.” Boys were strong but also sentimental—the way the war office convinced them to go to war in the early twentieth century was through their attachment to their sisters and mothers. The boy, for most of the history of the twentieth century, represented the best of humanity.
Sommers and Kimmel are both right: The men lost without a patriarchy and the men lost in guyland are the same men. The bridge to manhood has two spans: Give boys and men a way to be proud to be boys and men, in order that they can then understand that being a man is an ongoing, difficult, complicated undertaking. It’s not just that the boys’ crisis requires a complex response. Complexity is the response. And the best way to give that complexity, to demonstrate that masculinity requires strength and vulnerability, is by the presence of a father or a father figure. Children raised by single parents are at a greater risk for drug and alcohol abuse.4 Boys are more than twice as likely to be arrested,6 more likely to drop out of high school,3 at least twice as likely to commit suicide.2
7. THE CRUCIAL INSTITUTIONS ARE IN RUINS
The father figures have, one by one, been torn down. They have torn themselves down. Male authority figures, for generations, were given a free pass, an unexamined prerogative. They abused it. Some of them still abuse it. The past fifty years have been consumed with the destruction of various patriarchies. But the crisis of today is not the handful of monsters who infect the institutions. The crisis is the 17.5 million fatherless children3 with an absence in their souls. There is no cure for fatherlessness. There are only salves. The fatherless world needs substitute fathers, men who are willing to care about the lives of children who aren’t their own. The problem isn’t bullying coaches. The problem is all the men who aren’t coaching. The problem isn’t the various inevitable failures of the men who show up. The problem is the men who don’t show up.
The evils of a few have overshadowed the good of many. The coaches and priests and teachers are not the enemies of civil society but its creators.
8. THE NEW FATHERHOOD ISN’T THE OLD PATRIARCHY
The old fatherhood was a series of unexpressed assumptions. The new fatherhood requires intelligence. It requires judgment. The new fatherhood is messy. It will have to be. In the face of this messiness, there are men, and not just a few, either, who retreat into fantasies of lost idylls, worlds where men were men, whatever that might have meant. Kimmel’s work is full of them, guys who wallow in an “aggrieved entitlement.” The new father is not so shallow nor so old-fashioned. Only the truly lost man would want to return to his grandfather’s way of life. Who would want to go back to the bad food, the boring sex, the isolation? Who would want to be financially responsible for a family and then never see them? The new fatherhood is a huge gain for men, the chance for a deeper intimacy, a whole new range of pleasures and agonies, a fuller version of our humanity.
9. THE AMERICAN FATHER IS A PRECIOUS RESOURCE
At the heart of the new fatherhood is a somewhat surprising insight: Men, as fathers, are more crucial than anybody realized. The changing American father is transforming the country at all levels, from the most fundamental to the most ethereal, economically, socially, politically. The epidemic of fatherlessness and the new significance men place on fatherhood point to the same clandestine truth: The world, it turns out, does need fathers.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Police in Ota, Gunma Prefecture, said Thursday they have arrested a 26-year-old woman for abusing her 10-month-old daughter.
According to police, the woman, identified as Miki Morijiri, threw her daughter against a wall at around 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning. TBS reported that the child sustained a fractured skull and other serious injuries.
Police said the abuse went on for about 20 minutes. A neighbor who heard the girl screaming alerted police who came to the apartment. Morijiri was quoted by police as saying, “I just got so frustrated with her, so I threw her.”
Morijiri’s 31-year-old husband was at work at the time of the incident, police said.
Police in Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, said Saturday they have arrested a man after the skeletal remains of a young boy were found in his apartment on Friday.
According to police, the remains of the child were found at around 3:15 p.m. inside the apartment. TBS quoted police as saying that the remains were that of a young boy who apparently died about seven years ago when he was five.
In April, when the boy failed to show up at the start of school—where he had been enrolled several years ago—school officials notified a child welfare center which, in turn, contacted police on May 22.
Police went to the apartment and found the mail had been piled up but were unable to contact the boy’s father, truck driver Yukihiro Saito, 36, until May 30. Saito lives in a different apartment. However, he accompanied police to the apartment where the remains of his son (given to the school as the boy’s address) and officers discovered the boy’s remains.
Based on on-site analysis of the body, police said the boy had been dead for a long time. The apartment also showed signs of not having been in use for a long time.
Saito—who is divorced from the boy’s mother—was arrested after he admitted letting his son die due to starvation in the fall of 2006, TBS reported. Saito told police he moved out of the apartment shortly after.
Meanwhile, the Kanagawa Board of Education told a news conference on Saturday that the elementary school where the boy had been enrolled tried to make contact with his family after he did not come to school in 2007, NHK reported. Officials visited the apartment several times but there was no answer and the school assumed the family had moved away and delisted the boy.
by Georgialee Lang
Pre-Father’s Day Virtual Media Conference on June 4, 2014 from 1 pm to 2 pm Pacific time, onlinehttp://www.newswise.com
Jason Patric, the actor and activist, who is fighting to be an equal parent, will join three nationally known parenting experts in a virtual media conference Wednesday, June 4, the week leading up to Father’s Day.
This online event comes at a time when 53% of women under 30 who have children are not married*. That statistic predicts a generation of children with little or no father involvement – a potential threat to society and a troubling development for America’s children.
MEDIA EVENT WILL FEATURE:
* Jason Patric – actor, activist, and founder of Stand Up for Gus
* Dr. Warren Farrell — author of Father and Child Reunion
* Georgialee Lang — Leading Women for Shared Parenting
* Dr. Ned Holstein – founder and chair of the National Parents Organization
Among issues the four speakers will explore:
* Why aren’t more fathers more involved with raising young children – and where have all the fathers gone?
* What are the implications for America’s future?
* Are there larger issues involved in Stand Up for Gus and Jason Patric’s battle for co-custody of his son? Or is this just about cases of in vitro fertilization?
* How are women becoming a political force for the equal involvement of both parents?
*What role do family courts play in keeping fathers apart from their children
Issues and story angles the presenters will discuss during the online media conference:
–Jason Patric, actor, activist and founder of Stand Up For Gus; http://www.standupforgus.com
— Why he’s fighting for Gus and all the kids who are being deprived of their dad;
— What he’s learned about how the system treats dads.
–Warren Farrell, PhD, author Father and Child Reunion; http://www.warrenfarrell.biz
— What the research shows about why children do better when fathers are equally involved;
–Georgialee Lang, J.D., of Leading Women for Shared Parenting; http://www.lw4sp.org
— How women and mothers are becoming a political force toward this end;
— Why Leading Women for Shared Parenting is redefining the “maternal instinct” as providing a child with both parents.
–Ned Holstein, M.D., Founder and Chair of the National Parents’ Organization;https://nationalparentsorganization.org
— What’s happening in the U.S. and Canada about the challenges fathers face on a legal level;
–Which states and provinces have implemented the most progressive legislation?
New York Post – May, 31st 2014
When Jay Sullivan was 5 years old, his father had a “bipolar breakdown” and was sent to a psychiatric hospital. What Sullivan remembers from the days and years that followed are violent outbursts, putting his father to bed drunk, late-night calls when his father had no where to stay and bailing him out of jail.
“When he died in 1992, I put his ashes in my closet and put him behind me,” Sullivan wrote on his website.
But it wasn’t that simple. Three years ago, Sullivan, a professional photographer in Red Bank, NJ, began producing a series of images he calls “Glove” to try to reconnect with his father.
Sullivan photographed articles that had linked or divided the two of them — a baseball glove, his father’s shaver and black wingtip shoes and a prescription bottle containing lithium.
As Sullivan continued the project, the dark images of his father’s illness were gradually replaced by more positive ones — of his father’s successful business career, of the two of them going fishing together, and of trips to Yankee Stadium.
“Three years into this process and 20 years after his death, I have found the father I always wanted and in many ways always had,” Sullivan wrote.
Those contributions begin during pregnancy, before fathers and their children have even met. Studies show that the death rate of infants whose fathers were not around during pregnancy is nearly four times that of those with engaged dads. And depression in fathers during their partners’ pregnancies — which is more common than most people realize — can increase the child’s lifelong risk of depression.Many of us understand the deep emotional connection Sullivan has with his father, even decades after his father’s death. But now a new body of research is explaining why we have that connection. Fathers, it turns out, contribute far more to their children than many of us realize.
After birth, children whose fathers play with them, read to them, take them on outings, and care for them have fewer behavioral problems during their early school years. And they have a lower risk of delinquency or criminal behavior as adolescents.
Some of fathers’ contributions are surprising. One might guess, for example, that mothers have more influence than fathers on their children’s language development. Despite the growing number of women in the workforce, mothers still spend more time with children in many families than fathers do.
But that turns out not to be the case. Lynne Vernon-Feagans of the University of North Carolina, who studies language development, has found that when it comes to vocabulary, fathers matter more than mothers.
In middle-class families, she found that parents’ overall level of education — and the quality of child care — were both related to children’s language development. But fathers made unique contributions to children’s language development that went beyond the contributions of education and child care.
When fathers used more words with their children during play, children had more advanced language skills a year later. And that is likely also linked with later success in school.
And when Vernon-Feagans looked at poor families, she found much the same thing. She visited families when a child was 6 months old, 15 months old and 3 years old. She found that fathers’ education and their use of vocabulary when reading picture books to their children at 6 months of age were significantly related to the children’s expressiveness at 15 months and use of advanced language at age 3.
This held true no matter what the mother’s educational level was or how she spoke to the children.
“I do think our children see it as very special when they do book reading with their fathers,” Vernon-Feagans says. “They may listen more and acquire language in a special way.”
Several studies suggest that fathers also have a powerful influence on their daughters’ sexual behavior during adolescence.
This became clear in 2011 when Frayser High School in Memphis, Tenn., attracted national attention for its high pregnancy rate — about one in five of its female students was either pregnant or had recently given birth.
One local official blamed the high pregnancy rate on television shows such as MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom.” The official worried that these shows were encouraging Frayser’s female students to have unprotected sex earlier and more often.
That explanation seemed to make sense. But when the psychologist Sarah E. Hill of Texas Christian University examined the situation, she noticed another striking fact: One in four households was headed by a single mother. Studies have revealed “a robust association between father absence — both physical and psychological — and accelerated reproductive development and sexual risk-taking in daughters,” she wrote.
The fathers’ absence in so many families was likely more important than what their daughters watched on television.
These are just a few of the many, many studies in recent years that have demonstrated a powerful link between fathers and their children.
They underscore what many of us experience — that our fathers are important in our lives, as the photographer Jay Sullivan discovered after his father’s death. And it underscores the hope that many fathers have — that they, in turn, will be important in their children’s lives.
Paul Raeburn is the author of “Do Fathers Matter?: What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We’ve Overlooked” (Scientific American), out this week.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )