Going to DadsHouse

From Karen Woodall in Huffington Post:

With absolutely no statutory help available for dads in this position, those who find themselves outside of the family unit are, without the help of family and friends, destined for a life of sofa surfing, hostels or other even less suitable places to live. I have heard of dads in this position living in garages and the garden shed. From here it is incredibly difficult for them to continue to maintain relationships with their children, for who would want their children to know that they are in that position? Housing for dads after separation is a critical issue and one which leads to despair for too many.

I was excited therefore, when I received news of a project in London which is specialising in helping dads in these circumstances. DadsHouse is a charity founded by Billy McGranaghan, himself once a lone parent who found it hard when he was alone and wanted to help other dads in his shoes. DadsHouse runs many projects but the most recent is particularly special because it helps dads who are homeless with temporary accommodation, which in turn gives them a chance to build relationships with their children.

Full article is here.

Fatherhood program for inmates loses funding

It was not one of the five fatherhood programs supported by the US Department of Health and Human Services. As reported by John Hult:

The Sioux Falls-based non-profit had applied for a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to continue the program earlier this year, but it was not among the five fatherhood programs nationwide selected, according to Rebecca Kiesow-Knudson of LSS.

The new grant would have offered $1.3 million to $1.5 million per year for five years. LSS was informed that its application “scored very high,” Kiesow-Knudson said, but that there wasn’t enough to pay for all the programs that needed funding.

Fatherhood and Families offered training on family re-integration for inmates within six months of release from prison, and was available at five adult DOC facilities. The voluntary program was open to anyone without a domestic violence or stalking record who would return to a family role upon release.

Whole story here.

The “Mystery Measure” That Lifts Children

The “Mystery Measure” That Lifts Children by Dr. Ned Holstein (This article first appeared in the commission newsletter, The Proposal.)
Despite the 50-year War on Poverty, the social safety net, and the War on Drugs, poverty and social dysfunction of various sorts appear undented.
Remarkably, there exists a simple “mystery measure” that could be implemented tomorrow, costs society nothing, improves the educational outcomes of children; decreases the number of children suffering from anxiety, depression, hyperactivity and attention deficit; decreases teen violence, gang involvement, and arrests; decreases teen pregnancy; increases child support payments; decreases childhood substance abuse; and improves the physical health of children.
Yet this “mystery measure” is barely on society’s radar screen.
To grasp the opportunity before us, we need to reassess the biases that may blind us to real opportunities. After all, if 50 years of sowing the same thing does not seem to be bearing sufficient fruit, perhaps it is time to reexamine our approach.
The “mystery measure” requires us to reassess our view of the family— in particular, how we value fathers and fathering. We have long acted as if fatherlessness is of little consequence to children so long as single mothers are adequately supported financially, either by child support payments or by the social safety net.
The evidence, however, supports the idea that we must explore means of restoring fathering to children, especially by reforming family court traditions that overwhelmingly favor the award of sole custody to one parent, usually the mother. Instead, courts should award shared parenting if both parents are fit and there has been an absence of significant domestic violence. Shared parenting is the “mystery measure” that will help all our children, both boys and girls, at no cost to society.
Despite enormous expenditures to support single-parent families, The Centers for Disease Control, the Department of Justice, the Census Bureau and numerous researchers have reported alarming outcomes for the 35% of children raised by single parents.

Despite the often-heroic efforts of these parents, their children account for:

  • 63% of teen suicides
  • 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions
  • 71% of high school drop-outs
  • 75% of children in chemical abuse centers
  • 85% of those in prison
  • 85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders
  • 90% of homeless and runaway children

Three recent comprehensive reviews, based on 30 years of research, support shared parenting as the best arrangement for children after separation or divorce.

Dr. Richard Warshak at the University of Texas authored one of the review papers and concluded, “…shared parenting should be the norm for parenting plans for children of all ages, including very young children.” 110 experts around the world signed on to his conclusions.
The 2014 consensus statement of the First International Conference on Shared Parenting in Bonn, Germany reads, “There is a consensus that shared parenting is a viable post-divorce parenting arrangement that is optimal to child development and well-being, including for children of high conflict parents.”
And 32 experts with the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts concluded in 2014, “Children’s best interests are furthered by parenting plans that provide for continuing and shared parenting relationships that are safe, secure, and developmentally responsive…”
Many great ideas are simple. Shared parenting is a simple idea that will help boys and girls enormously.  It’s time has come, if only we can get past archaic gender stereotypes that place children exclusively with mothers after separation or divorce.
Ned Holstein, MD, MS Founder and Acting Executive Director National Parents Organization(https://nationalparentsorganization.org)
 
Dr. Holstein received his undergraduate degree from Harvard, a graduate degree in Psychology from M.I.T., and his M.D. degree from Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, where he holds a voluntary appointment as clinical Assistant Professor. He is a recognized national authority in his field of medicine. He founded National Parents Organization in 1996. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Council on Shared Parenting. He is a Commissioner of the Coalition to Create a White House Council on Boys and Men. He is the father of three and the grandfather of four.

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Raising Kids and Running a Household: How Working Parents Share the Load

Pew Study parents work life balance bar graphA new survey report from Pew Research Centers:

While mothers and fathers offer somewhat different views of the division of labor in their household, there is general agreement about who in their family is more job- or career-focused. For example, in two-parent households where the mother and father work full time, 62% say both are equally focused on work, while about one-in-five (22%) say the father is more focused and 15% say the mother is. Differences in the responses to this question between mothers and fathers in this type of household are modest.

The full news report is here.

Say good-bye to the “involved dad”

From Michael Kress in the Washington Post:

I know what you’re thinking. Many dads still have not earned the “involved” adjective. Perhaps they’re emotionally distant, focused on the traditional breadwinner role. Or worse, far too many are absent entirely, leaving their children without a father and the mothers to fend for themselves as sole parent and provider. (Of course, women who’ve chosen to raise their children without a male partner or spouse are a different story!)

So what’s the problem with the phrase “involved dad?”

For one thing, it lets the uninvolved off the hook, as if those of us who are present in our kids’ lives are the exceptions, or exceptional, doing something different, unusual, special. No, we’re not; we’re just dads. Let the rest of them be labeled “uninvolved dads,” with the assumption being that a father by definition is one who does more than inseminate a woman.

The whole article is here.

Happier thoughts: Changing Perception of Fatherhood in Pop Culture, aka #DadsInAds

Recently the oafish dad characterization has changed. After the complaints to a Lowes paint commercial in 2014, advertising agencies changed how they potrayed dads, and the public encouraged it. This is an ongoing collection of positive dad commercials.

#RealStrength Dove Men+Care January 2015

“Dave” Vicks Nyquil January 2015

#HowToDad Cheerios December 2014

“To Be A Dad” Toyota January 2015

“Life Lesson’s” Uncle Ben’s August 2014

“The Value of Room to Run” True Value Hardware

#SwifferEffect Swiffer January 2015

“Dad & Andy” Whirlpool May 2015

Disposable Dads and the Myth of the Modern Family

From Karen Woodall in Huffington Post UK’s Building Modern Men series:

I work in the field of family separation and I meet disposable dads every day. These men, who appear at times to me to be nothing more than the ghostly imprint of what a father is, are suffering. Not that you would know it, so unpopular is their plight. Gaslighted by the system which surrounds the family as it separates, these dads, who were pregnant with their partners (in that most modern approach to sharing all of the experience of bringing forth life), now find themselves routinely cast out of the family after separation. Dads are not welcome in post-separation family life, especially if they are going to cause trouble by wanting to actually parent their children. For those modern men who gave their all to fatherhood, the injustice of such a swift eviction from the lives of their children after separation, is a bewildering attack on their very sense of self….

Dads after separation were once described by the CEO of Gingerbread (the single parenting charity) as ‘secondary resources, most effective when strategically employed.’ Translated this means, dads are useful to mums after separation because they can babysit and be included on the rota for the school run. Dads as helpers, are acceptable so long as they are doing as they are told. Dads as hands on active parents, sharing the care, the chores, the long nights of tummy aches and sickness are not routinely acceptable. In fact as a practitioner working with dads who have been evicted from their children’s lives after separation, I have witnessed dads being told that their desire to care for their children is ‘aggressive and upsetting’ to their children’s mother.

The whole article is here.

Could Working Dads Be Underserved, Too?

From Could Working Dads Be Underserved, Too? by Lydia Dishman in FastCompany

There is a subtle, but potentially seismic shift happening in the workplace. From sweeping diversity initiatives and radical strategies that tackle the gender wage gap to extended paid parental leave policies, the next decade could reveal a very different picture of American workers. But change often comes with backlash….

New research published in the Journal of Business and Psychology reveals that as fathers take on more caregiving and other family responsibilities, workplace norms still see them as “organization men” married to their jobs, which potentially inhibits their development as true, involved fathers. The study also found that there isn’t much in the way of formal support for working dads.

The entire article is here.