Tag Archives: Fatherhood

If we seriously want men to marry and become fathers, let’s repeal no-fault divorce

I saw a very good article at the Heritage Foundation web site about the importance of fathers for children. The author Virginia Allen listed out some of the benefits that fathers provide to children:

Studies have found that children raised without a father are:

  • At a higher risk of having behavioral problems.
  • Four times more likely to live in poverty.
  • More likely to be incarcerated in their lifetime.
  • Twice as likely to never graduate high school.
  • At a seven times higher risk of teen pregnancy.
  • More vulnerable to abuse and neglect.
  • More likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
  • Twice as likely to be obese.

From education to personal health to career success, children who lack a father find themselves at a disadvantage to their peers raised in a two-parent household.

I was looking for a good analysis of why there’s been a decline of marriage and fatherhood, and I found an article by Joe Carter on The Gospel Coalition, of all places. By looking at marriage rates and historical events that changed the marriage rate, he was able to identify the cause of the decline of marriage – and fatherhood.

Marriage and divorce rates per capita
Marriage and divorce rates per capita

I’ll spare you the statistical analysis, which is excellent, and give you the conclusion – although you can guess it from the graph above:

Now that we’ve explored the data, what year should we use as the marker for the beginning of the decline of marriage in the United States? I would argue for 1985, the last year that the marriage rate topped 10 percent.

[…]What changed in 1985 that could have led to the decline in marriage? There are likely numerous factors—which we’ll examine in future articles—but one stands out in particular: By 1985, all states (except for New York) had enacted no-fault divorce legislation.

The most helpful book I know of about no-fault divorce is “Taken Into Custody”, by Dr. Stephen Baskerville. He wrote a column  for Crisis magazine that summarizes some of his ideas.

Excerpt:

Feminists were drafting no-fault divorce laws in the 1940s, which the National Association of Women Lawyers now describes as “the greatest project NAWL has ever undertaken.”

The result effectively abolished marriage as a legal contract. Today it is not possible to form a binding agreement to create a family.

The new laws did not stop at removing the requirement of citing grounds for a divorce, to allow divorce by mutual consent, as deceptively advertised at the time. Instead they created unilateral and involuntary divorce, so that one spouse may dissolve a marriage without any agreement or fault by the other.

Here’s what divorce does to the spouse who is the victim of the unilateral “no-fault” divorce:

Though marriage is a civil matter, the logic quickly extended into the criminal, including a presumption of guilt against the involuntarily divorced spouse (“defendant”). Yet formal due process protections of criminal proceedings did not apply, so forcibly divorced spouses became quasi-criminals not for recognized criminal acts but for failing or refusing to cooperate with the divorce by continuing to claim the protections and prerogatives of family life: living in the common home, possessing the common property, or—most vexing of all—parenting the common children.

Following from this are the horrendous civil liberties violations and flagrant invasions of family and individual privacy that are now routine in family courts. A personalized criminal code is legislated by the judge around the forcibly divorced spouse, controlling their association with their children, movements, and finances. Unauthorized contact with their children can be punished with arrest. Involuntarily divorced parents are arrested for running into their children in public, making unauthorized telephone calls, and sending unauthorized birthday cards.

In my conversations with men, no-fault divorce laws, and anti-male divorce courts are the main reasons given for why they do not pursue marriage and fatherhood. Men do not want to be coerced in a marriage with the threat of divorce by an unhappy wife. Men do not want to be subject to the government in so many areas of their lives if the wife does carry out the threat. They especially don’t want to be separated from their children. One my secular male friends told me that he would not marry unless the woman had evidence in her past of hating radical feminism and no-fault divorce. This was the main criteria. He actually was able to find a woman who was a men’s rights activist who hated divorce. But that was the only way he would marry.

Statistically speaking, the wife is more likely to initiate divorce than the husband. Women initiate 70% of divorces, the majority of those just because she is “unhappy”. I think this is because women get into marriage based on their feelings, and they think that it is the husband’s job to make them feel good. They see their happiness as the primary goal of the marriage, and see a marriage that does not make them happy as a marriage that needs to be ended. Their view of commitment really means “I’ll commit so long as it makes me feel good”. None of this is particularly appealing to men, who take marriage vows to mean what they say, and think that the commitment isn’t conditional on being happy. (Note: if you’re husband doesn’t have this view of marriage, then why did you choose him out of all the other men in the world?)

Are we going to repeal no-fault divorce, then?

My experiences speaking with divorced Christian women is that they married primarily based on first impressions and emotional responses. No-fault divorce was seen as a boon to women who had married the wrong men by following their hearts. It’s an interesting question to ask whether women really would want no-fault repealed. It would mean that they would have to get serious about who they marry. They would have to think about what a man does in a marriage. They would have to think about what men want out of a marriage. And they would have to say no to their feelings, both in choosing a man, and in keeping the man after the wedding.

I’ve been told by women that the rapid giving of sex is a way to get attention from a man without having to be respectful of him. Are women willing to stop using sex as a tool to attract the wrong men, and start developing their skills as wives and mothers in order to attract the right men? Are women willing to stop seeing relationships as “fun and thrills”, and get serious about pursuing men who have marriage and children as the goal? Are wives willing to give a man what he needs in the marriage: sex, respect and obedience? Are they willing to give up the threat of divorce in the home and learn to argue rationally and compromise?

If women aren’t willing to demand the repeal of no-fault divorce laws and get serious about men and marriage, then what’s the point of complaining that men don’t want to marry and become fathers? If you’re not willing to fix the root cause of the problem, then don’t complain about the problem.

Man builds $51 million theme park for his special needs daughter

What is the essential characteristic of a successful father?
What is the essential characteristic of a successful father?

This inspiring story comes to us from The Federalist.

Excerpt:

A Texas dad wanted to take his daughter, who has special needs, somewhere she could feel included while having fun. When Gordon Hartman realized a place like that didn’t exist, he decided to build an amusement park for her in San Antonio, Texas.

Gordon recounts watching his then-12-year-old daughter, Morgan, who is on the autism spectrum, try to play with a group of children who were swimming in a hotel pool where they were vacationing. But the kids ran away from her, likely because they didn’t know how to interact with someone with special needs.

The interaction broke Gordon’s heart and later inspired him to sell his homebuilding business to set up a nonprofit, The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation, which provides grants and sponsorships to local charities that serve the special-needs community.

He then worked with a team of doctors, engineers, and special needs experts to create Morgan’s Wonderland, a theme park tailored to accommodate visitors with special needs. More than one million people have visited the $34 million park since its opening in 2010. Last month, Gordon opened an adjacent waterpark, Morgan’s Inspiration Island, to the tune of $17 million.

“When [Morgan] comes here she’s a rock star! Lots of people want to talk to her and take her picture, she’s very good with it,” Hartman told BBC.”Morgan knows the park is named after her, but I don’t think she understands the magnitude of what it represents and how it’s changed lives.”

The nice thing about this story is that it really shows what the design for fathers should be. This is what young single women should be looking for in a man. This pattern of behavior where the man is not greedy about money, but is instead able to take an interest in the lives of others who need help in order to grow, and then investing in them using money that he has earned by working. We can measure this father on a moral scale and say that he is a good father.

Many people seem to take pride these days in not judging men on moral grounds any more. Everything is feelings about surface-level concerns. Men are praised for offering fun and thrills right now, but not for what they do in a family unit as husband and father. There is no concept of a design for men that allows them to be graded out on the criteria that really matter. Eliot Spitzer, Bill Clinton, Anthony Weiner, etc. all seem to be viewed by many as very desirable. I read women on the left who say that they will not even go out with a man who isn’t pro-abortion. Being pro-abortion basically means that you think sex is about recreation, not about something a husband and wife do in the context of marriage. And it also means that taking the life of an innocent person is a good way to avoid taking responsibility for your own choices. But this is exactly the opposite of what makes a good husband and a good father! Why would anyone choose that over this father in the story?

I can tell you one thing about this story. That little girl’s mother chose well. She didn’t let the culture sway her away from picking a man who majored in character. And now her daughter is getting the benefit of her good decision-making. A woman’s taking care of her children starts with making good decisions about men. And good decisions about men means deciding on men who are hard workers, good earners, sensitive to others, protectors of the weak, and generous givers. Good men let other people impose on them. Good men invest in the people around them. We need teach young women to remember what it is that men are designed to do.

Federal court upholds Texas pro-life law that has saved about 10,000 lives already

I'm Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve of incrementalism
I’m Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve of incrementalism

Great news!!! This story is from Life News, and I have more great news below.

Excerpt:

A federal appeals court issued a ruling today upholding a Texas pro-life law credited with closing multiple abortion clinics and cutting abortions 13 percent, saving an estimated 9,900 babies from abortion.

The legislation, House Bill 2 (HB2), requires abortion facilities to meet the same safety standards of other Ambulatory Surgical Centers in the state, ensures that abortionists have admitting privileges at a local hospital, and bans painful late abortions on fully formed babies. The admitting privileges portion of the law was the portion responsible for closing abortion clinics and, because so many shut down or stopped doing abortions, Judge Lee Yeakel claimed that constituted an undue burden on women.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed an appeal of Judge Yeakel’s ruling and the appellate court issued its decision on that today.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the lower court “erred by substituting its own judgment for that of the legislature” when ruling against the pro-life bill. It ruled that all abortion clinics have to follow the admitting privileges law except one.

And some more good news from Life News, this time from Missouri.

Excerpt:

The Missouri General Assembly adopted legislation during this year’s session which will dramatically increase funding for alternatives to abortion programs.  The authorization for enhanced funding for abortion  alternatives efforts was included in a bill which overhauled the state’s major public assistance program.

The bill adopted by the Missouri Legislature, Senate Bill 24, was known as the “Strengthening Missouri Families Act.”  It was sponsored by Senator David Sater of Cassville, and handled in the House by Representative Diane Franklin of Camdenton.

The legislation revised Missouri’s Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program.  That form of public assistance is most commonly referred to as welfare benefits, and used to go by the name Aid to Families of Dependent Children (AFDC).

The most widely reported change contained in the bill was a provision that scaled back the period of time in which a person can receive TANF assistance.  The bill reduced the lifetime limit for recipients of TANF benefits from 60 to 45 months.

A lesser noted section of the bill established that 2% of block grant funds received from the federal government for TANF assistance shall be dedicated to the state’s alternatives to abortion services and public awareness programs.

That means that approximately $4.3 million in new annual funding will be available for alternatives to abortion programs. 

[…]Services financed by the program include prenatal, medical, and mental health care; child care, newborn, and infant care; food, clothing, and pregnancy related supplies; parenting training; housing and utilities; transportation; and educational services.  During the 2014 fiscal year, services were provided to a total of 1,511 women and their children.

[…]Another favorable provision in the bill calls for a similar 2% (another $4.3 million) of the federal TANF block  grant funding to be earmarked for programs promoting healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood.  These programs were created as a component of the major welfare reform law passed by Congress in 1996.

Those funds can be used for pre-marital education, marriage skills, marriage mentoring, and divorce reduction programs.   Funds can also be expended for parenting skills training, and counseling programs to combat domestic violence and child abuse.

The Democrat governor voted to veto the bill, but there were enough Republicans in the House and Senate to override his veto. So this is more good news. If you’re a fiscal conservative who believes in smaller government, you like the welfare reform in this story as well. I know I do.

Don’t like violence against women and children? Then you should promote marriage

Brad Wilcox writes about what research shows about marriage and domestic violence, in the leftist Washington Post.

Excerpt:

Married women are notably safer than their unmarried peers, and girls raised in a home with their married father are markedly less likely to be abused or assaulted than children living without their own father.

Start with the threat that girls face from men. One of the most comprehensive portraits of sexual and physical abuse of girls (and boys) comes from the Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect. As the figure above indicates, children are more likely to be abused when they do not live in a home with their married father. What’s more: girls and boys are significantly more likely to be abused when they are living in a cohabiting household with an unrelated adult—usually their mother’s boyfriend. Indeed, the report notes that “only 0.7 per 1,000 children living with two married biological parents were sexually abused, compared to 12.1 per 1,000 children living with a single parent who had an unmarried partner.” The results from this federal study are consistent with academic research (see here and here, as well) that indicates that “girls who are victimized are … more likely to have lived without their natural fathers,” and that the risk is especially high when a boyfriend or stepfather is in the picture.

The risk of physical abuse also increases when a child lives without her father, once again, particularly when an unrelated boyfriend is in the home. A 2005 study published in Pediatrics found that  “[c]hildren residing in households with unrelated adults were nearly 50 times as likely to die of inflicted injuries than children residing with 2 biological parents.”

Women are also safer in married homes. As the figure above (derived from a recent Department of Justice study) indicates, married women are the least likely to be victimized by an intimate partner. They are also less likelyto be the victims of violent crime in general. Overall, another U.S. Department of Justice study found that never-married women are nearly four times more likely to be victims of violent crime, compared to married women. The bottom line is that married women are less likely to be raped, assaulted, or robbed than their unmarried peers.

What’s going on here? Why are women safer when married and children safer when living with their married biological parents? For girls, the research tells us that marriage provides a measure of stability and commitment to the adults’ relationship, that married biological fathers are more likely to be attentive and engaged with their children because they expect the relationship to be enduring. As a consequence, unrelated males are less likely to have sustained interaction with children of the family when dad has a day-in-day-out presence in the home. More generally, the “emotional support and the supervision” that engaged fathers provide to their children can limit their vulnerability to potential predators, as David Finkelhor, director of the University of New Hampshire Crimes Against Children Research Center, has observed.

To see the graphs, just click the link above back to the original article.

What do fathers contribute to the development of their children?

Dina tweeted this article from the New York Post.

Excerpt:

Fathers, it turns out, contribute far more to their children than many of us realize.

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.

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 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.

It’s a good summary of the research. We all know that research clearly shows that single motherhood is bad for children, generally. The harm is different depending on whether the child is a boy or a girl, but both sexes are harmed by father absence. So then why do we think that same-sex marriage will be good for children? Either the child will be lacking their biological mother or father. In the case of two lesbians, the child they raise will be facing all the problems described in the research on children raised without their fathers. Why is it a good thing to screw over children just so that adults can be more free to be selfish and destructive?