Each year, California’s child protective services agencies remove thousands of kids from their homes. The story of how some parents decided to fight back.
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21st Century Parenting: How about a parenting prenup?
I didn’t plan to get pregnant. I was 33. My daughter’s father and I were not together. It was, seemingly, not the best situation. Except that it really was.
Having a child – our child – with him, in exactly that way, has led to a fabulous life, a brilliant co-parenting situation and more love than I could have ever imagined.
What made it that way was a choice by both of us to imagine a positive future. We created a document that turned our vision into a template, a contract and a philosophy for how to live – our co-parenting agreement. It’s a parenting prenup.
My daughter Cecilia is now six years old and has the best of all worlds. Her dad and I live three blocks apart, by design. We are friends. And more importantly, we are good co-parents.
We spent four-and-a-half months creating an agreement. While I was pregnant, in addition to our regular jobs, we worked together to create a 16-page legal and philosophical agreement about how to raise our daughter together.
The document outlines custody and residential schedule, and also covers every other aspect of parenting and our daughter’s life: education, joint parenting decisions, travel, communication, living abroad. We outline how we share a calendar of events and make rules. We agree on an approach to spiritual upbringing. We even covered her gap year after high school.
It was originally his idea. It took a lot of work. And it is brilliant.
Seems like an awfully good idea these days, sadly.
In a statement, Fathers4Justice said O’Connor “held a picture of his son Archie and asked the audience to pray for the 1000s of fathers and children affected by family breakdown in Ireland”.This is the new Rising – 100,000 Irish children are partitioned from their fathers and denied their human rights.
“The Rose of Tralee has lots of beauty, but there is nothing beautiful about family law.We want equal rights for fathers in Ireland. It is a human right for children to see their fathers.
“This is a public health warning, your families are at risk from the cancer of family breakdown and fatherlessness.”
FirstThings: Why Men and Women Are Not Equal
Anthropologists have long recognized that the most fundamental social problem every community must solve is the unattached male. If his sexual, physical, and emotional energies are not governed and directed in a pro-social, domesticated manner, he will become the village’s most malignant cancer. Wives and children, in that order, are the only successful remedy ever found. Military service is a very distant second. Nobel Prize winning economist George Akerlof explains that “men settle down when they get married; if they fail to marry, they fail to settle down,” because “with marriage, men take on new identities that change their behavior.” This does not seem to work with same-sex male couples in long-term relationships.
Husbands and fathers become better, safer, more responsible and productive citizens, unrivaled by their peers in any other relational status. Husbands become better mates, treating their wives better by every important measure—physical and emotional safety, financial and material provision, personal respect, fidelity, general self-sacrifice, etc.—compared to boyfriends, whether dating or cohabiting. Husbands and fathers enjoy significantly lower health, life, and auto insurance premiums than do their single peers, for a strictly pragmatic reason. Insurance companies are not sentimental about husbands. Husbands get lower premiums because they are different creatures in terms of habits, values, behavior, and general health.
This is why Golding’s Lord of the Flies is a tale not so much about the dark nature of humanity as about the isolation of the masculine from the feminine. Had there been just a few confident girls amongst those boys, its conclusion might have been more Swiss Family Robinson.
Well, making women responsible for men’s behavior has its own issues.
The way you treat your marriage is the way your children learn how to treat relationships. Here are four things your kids learn while watching your example.
Well, the Missus is awesome, so that helped.
Via Instapundit: MILWAUKEE COUNTY SHERIFF DAVID CLARKE: Milwaukee riots caused by single moms and ‘questionable lifestyle choices.’
“What causes riots are failed liberal urban policies in these ghettos,” Clarke told Fox Business. “Milwaukee has inescapable poverty. We’re like the sixth poorest city in America. They have failing public schools… You have massive black unemployment… You have dysfunctional families, you have father-absent homes, you have questionable lifestyle choices.”
“Those are the ingredients for a riot,” he insisted. “And then a police shooting comes along and just acts as an igniter to an already volatile situation.”
Clarke pointed to “tribal behavior” as the cause of chaos in the wake of the officer-involved shooting.
“I feel for these individuals,” he explained. “They might be unemployed but they’re good law-abiding people and they need help. But they’re not getting it from this Democrat [SIC] liberal class of politicians who have reigned over this thing for decades.”
“Like I said, the economic state in Milwaukee today wasn’t like this when I was growing up as a kid here,” the sheriff opined. “This happened over time under their watch, pushing the growth of the welfare state.”
Our culture strips its young men of their created purpose and then wonders why they struggle. It wonders why men — who are built to be distinctive from women — flail in modern schools and workplaces designed from the ground-up for the feminine experience. Men were meant to be strong. Yet we excuse and enable their weakness. It’s but one marker of cultural decay, to be sure, but it’s a telling marker indeed. There is no virtue in physical decline.
Thanks, feminism! And thanks, David French, for the obligatory porn male-bashing. Didn’t he know it’s empowering?
In February, we published an article detailing how the shared parenting movement was continuing to gain traction across the U.S. The article detailed how, despite pushback from critics not based on facts, more bills were being proposed in states that would grant both parents more access to their children in the event of divorce or separation.
Unfortunately, a Florida bill that would have modernized both the child custody and alimony laws in the state died when it was vetoed by Governor Rick Scott. Nonetheless, bills in both Missouri and Massachusetts made their way through each state’s legislatures.
The slow, but steady, progress of those bills along with the failure in Florida is illustrative of why it is so difficult to pass shared parenting legislation. Moreover, these are prime examples of the painstaking process fathers are experiencing as they fight to gain rights in the family court system.
Now, finally, there are a couple successes to report on.
First, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon recently signed into law HB 1550 after easily passing through the House and receiving substantial support in newspaper editorial pages across the state.
The passage of this bill is a huge victory for Missouri dads and families as it helps standardize the custody procedures for courts across the state, holds courts more accountable for their decisions regarding child custody, and establishes the presumption that equal access to each parent is in the best interest of children.
Then Massachusetts took a major step towards establishing a new shared parenting law by passing a bill through the Massachusetts House of Representatives known as An Act Relative to Child-Centered Family Law.
This is the first time a shared parenting bill in the state has made it out of its assigned Committee.
This legislation would encourage judges to grant shared custody, with a child spending at least one-third of their time with each parent.
Unfortunately, the Senate failed to pass the bill before the end of the 2015-16 legislative session. However, because of the progress the bill made in passing the House, along with the momentum it gained thanks to massive support from groups like the National Parents Association, the bill will enter with a full head of steam when it is re-submitted into the legislature in January 2017.
Moreover, the process of slowly but surely nudging the bills in each state into law should give other states and parents’ rights groups a template to follow in other states as they continue to advance the shared parenting movement.
Still a long way to go.
Last week we began a series which which is exploring the relationship between masculinity and Christianity — mainly, why it is that the more a man embraces the former, the seemingly less likely he is to adopt the latter.
In our first article, we laid out statistics which show that all around the world, and in almost every Christian church and denomination, women outnumber men. Women are far more likely to be involved in the Christian faith, to participate in church, and to feel that their religion is important to them. In addition, we demonstrated that this disparity is not rooted in the fact that females are simply more religious than males overall, as Christianity is the only major world religion where men are significantly less committed than women.
One of theories as to why this is, is that the gender gap naturally arises from a theology and ethos that was inherently feminine from the start — that the issue is “baked-in,” so to speak. Today we’ll examine the basis of this assumption, as well as how Christianity could be thought of as primarily masculine.
My dearest Adelaide,
One day you will ask me “Daddy, what was the war like?” and I will freeze like a deer caught in the headlights. “How should I answer a question like that?” I wonder. Especially to a young girl, curious about what she’s learned in school.
“Daddy was in the war. Both of them. I see his medals in our hallway!” Perhaps this is what you’ll tell your teacher. But as you grow into a teenager you’ll have more questions, and I imagine I will be somewhat of an enigma at times.
So instead I will tell you about young men and honor.
When I was a young boy, I was told by other boys that nothing was better than getting one free hand up a girls shirt in the middle of a dark movie theater. It was a strange sentiment because I just wanted her to smile at me and hold my hand. But holding hands was for “fags” they said. Grow a pair and cop a feel.
There is a terrible thing that happens in a young boy’s head when confronted by other members of your pack. Like jackals running wild, you do not want to be left alone to hunt, for fear that the pack may turn and devour you. So when they ask you to take down the innocent gazelle, you shyly comply to prove that, you too, are a member of this pack. This tribe.
I wish I could tell you that your father was an honorable man when he was younger, but he was not. He ran with the pack and even became their leader at times. Hunting at night like a rabid wolf or an insatiable vampire. Feeding on those he deemed weak or easy prey. There were even the strong ones he simply viewed as a challenge, and like every vampire trick in the book, I was charming until I left you half dead and drained.
There is a certain swagger young men carry when they’re insecure. Perhaps it’s why we hunt women sometimes. My swagger disappeared in the wars. Some men will piss themselves. Others cry for their mothers. I begged and begged not to be sent to the front lines.
I will not lie, Adi. Men died, and I was afraid. But some men displayed honor until the moment of their death.
An entire platoon refused to shoot a little girl carrying ammunition to the enemy each day. That decision would cost some their lives. Other men would brave bullets and death to save an injured friend. One held the hand of a fellow soldier and told him over and over it “would be okay ” until he passed. It didn’t matter he was still being shot at. Some would share their meals with poor farmers.
After the war, I saw honor in different ways from other men who were not in the military. One evening, a group of us sat in a local pub nursing a beer, when one of the men began bragging about the sexual exploits of a friend who was getting away with infidelity. The jeering was reaching a crescendo when a voice boomed over the laughter.
“What a sad excuse for a husband.”
The laughter died, and the men stared blankly into their beers for a long moment, refusing to look at the man who had defied them, while he glared, daring them to challenge him.
I do not know what the future of dating will look like for you many years from now or how men will treat you. And I know now, as much as I’d like to, I cannot protect you from all the landmines and jackals running rampant. You will have to learn to face them on your own.
But I can tell you what to look for. Look for honor.
Look for integrity, selflessness, sacrifice, and compassion. Find those who champion justice and fidelity. But above all, seek men who emulate humility and meekness. Do not, as so many others do, be deceived into thinking it is a weakness. Meekness is strength wrapped in humility, my dear daughter. It is strength under control in a world where so many are out of control.
Do not confuse velvet words and simply holding a door open as honor. Instead, observe how he treats others, your waiter, the homeless, and the marginalized. For if you see how he treats those at their highs and lows, you’ll understand how he will treat you during your high and low points. Heed this wisdom and do not become disillusioned, for honorable men will still break your heart. A dishonorable man will break up with you via text, SnapChat (if that still exists), or simply ignore you. But an honorable man will break your heart face-to-face.
Do not despair, my daughter, for as you read this, you may be tempted to believe that honorable men disappeared in the years before you were born. They still exist. You must search to find them, and that may take many years. In your search, though, you will encounter many men without honor. Do not blame them.For they had fathers who didn’t know how to train their sons in the ways in which a man should walk. Many grew up without a male figure to explain what honor and integrity look like. Feel compassion for them, instead. Point them to other men you see acting in honorable ways.
I leave you with this in closing, Adi. When you were born, my heart was yours, and I wanted nothing more than to protect you, kiss your face, and watch you smile. One day, I hope to meet the man who feels the same way.
All my love,
(Additional thoughts here…)
Why does a religion started by a carpenter and his twelve male comrades attract more women than men? Christian churches are led predominately by men (95% of Protestant senior pastors and 100% of Catholic clergy are male) and are criticized by feminists as bastions of male patriarchy, power, and privilege; so why is the laity paradoxically composed largely of women?
Was there ever a time when the gender ratio of Christianity was equal? And if so, why did a disparity between male and female adherents develop?
Among men who are committed Christians, why do they seem to be more effeminate, on average, than the male population as a whole? As Murrow puts it, what is it about “Christianity, especially Western Christianity, that drives a wedge between the church and men who want to be masculine”?
These are fascinating questions, certainly for Christians who have noticed this phenomenon themselves and for pastors of churches who are concerned about the health of their congregations (as we’ll see, there’s a strong connection between the number of men in a church’s pews and its vitality).
But it’s also a fascinating subject for anyone interested in the influence of economics and sociology on religion, and who understand the enormous influence religion has had and continues to have on Western culture in general, and conceptions of manhood in particular.
Should be interesting.
Parenting: The opportunity cost of technology
Back in the spring I attended a lecture by a psychologist who specialized in helping families manage their lives, especially when it came to technology. She had a lot of opinions about the risks and benefits of technology for our children.
One of the worst things about children’s use of technology, in her opinion, is that they are not doing other things with their time with the hours they spend on their phones or on their Xboxes. They are not out in nature, not interacting with friends, not using their imaginations.
In economics, this is called “opportunity cost.” If you invest your money in stock A, the opportunity cost of doing this is the yield you would have gotten from stock B.
In my daily life, I have gradually become aware of the opportunity cost of my lack of organization.
Well, kids also make it tough to get organized.
Why do men earn more after marrying, and then after divorce tend to stop growing their earnings? The answer is quite simple, and boils down to incentives. Men who want to marry know they need to earn more to signal provider status. After marriage men have greater responsibilities, and therefore have to earn even more. Threats of divorce ratchet this pressure up further, as men understand that the family courts are designed to separate fathers from their children while financially rewarding the mother at the father’s expense. Divorce for women means ejecting the man and keeping both the kids and a large part of his paycheck. Divorce for men means losing the kids and paying a steep monthly fee to finance the operation.
But since divorce removes the incentive married men naturally feel to earn more money, family court judges know they need to replace the natural incentive with something else. This is why the family courts assign men earnings quotas (imputed income) based on their previous income. The man might earn less than his quota, but he will be billed for child support and/or alimony based on this quota. This quota system is enforced with the threat of imprisonment, and is not surprisingly despised by the men who find themselves forced into it. This explains why divorced men earn more than never married men; they have a quota to meet based on their income at the end of the marriage. If they don’t maintain their married level of earnings, they will be sent to prison. It also explains why divorced men’s earnings tend not to grow like they would have were they still married; quota systems are effective in the short term at coercing hard work, but they create a disincentive for increasing productivity. Under a quota system earning more only increases your quota. Most men under our new quota system will work hard enough to stay out of prison, but they aren’t going to take risks and/or work harder for the privilege of increasing their quota.
Note that while Prager and Wilcox claim the pressure married men feel to work harder is a benefit to men, the St. Louis Fed likewise implies that being forced by a court to pay alimony and/or child support is an advantage divorced men have which never married men lack (emphasis mine):
…the added productivity that accompanies marriage must be of two kinds: (1) productivity from the marriage itself and/or (2) advantages that remain even after the marriage is dissolved.
We won the cold war because an incentive based system leads to a kind of dynamic productivity that a quota based system can’t ever hope to create. Yet we have dramatically reworked our family structure in ways only the Soviets could truly appreciate. This new system is hurting us in ways we refuse to accept, because accepting the cost would force us to rethink our family model. Part of the problem is that the costs associated with replacing marriage with a child support system weren’t immediately obvious. Since we pretended we still had a fundamentally marriage based family structure, initially men carried on as if that was the case. In fact, most men today still do so. However, over time the reality of the new system has caused not a marriage strike, but something more ominous. Just like with the Soviet system, this will continue until we decide the ideology behind the quota system isn’t worth the economic pain it inevitably causes. In the meantime, economists will remain baffled as to why married earn more than divorced men, and why both earn more than never married men.
Without acknowledging it as much an issue as some would do, this is also a logical basis to explain the wage gap. Professional men have an additional “breadwinner” incentive over their female counterparts that make them more likely to work longer hours or seek promotions.
Related: Dr. Helen – Men, Divorce, and Employment
Fatherlessness is the single greatest cause of poverty in the U.S. As Robert Rector pointed out years ago, “[b]eing raised in a married family reduced a child’s probability of living in poverty by about 80 percent.” In order to further their big-government agenda, modern liberals often point to education as the answer to poverty in America. However, marriage is a far better weapon against poverty than is education. Again, as Rector points out, “being married has the same effect in reducing poverty that adding five to six years to a parent’s level of education has.” In addition, a child living in a single-parent home where the parent is a college graduate is nearly twice as likely to live in poverty as a child living with their married parents whose highest level of education is completing high school.
Marriage provides the safest environment for children. In addition to being much more likely to live in crime-ridden communities, children born to single moms face much more danger inside the home than do children living with their married parents. As marripedia points out:
- The rate of physical abuse is 3 times higher in the single parent family.
- The rate of physical abuse is 4 times higher if mother is cohabiting with the child’s biological father (unmarried).
- The rate of physical abuse is 5 times higher if the child is living in a married step family.
- The rate of physical abuse is 10 times higher if the mother is cohabiting with a boyfriend.
The rates for sexual abuse are even worse than physical abuse:
- The rate of sexual abuse is 5 times higher in the single parent family and when both biological parents are cohabiting (i.e. unmarried).
- The rate of sexual abuse is 8.6 times higher if the child is living in a married step family.
- The rate of sexual abuse is 20 times higher if the mother is cohabiting with a boyfriend.
Contrary to popular belief, the most likely physical abuser of a child in a single-parent home is the mother. Because they lack the financial, emotional, and other support of a husband and a father in the home, single moms are more likely to experience anger, impatience, anxiety, and feelings of helplessness. Additionally, single moms are more likely to be depressed and feel rejected by their children than are women who have husbands.
As tragic as the outcomes of the Ferguson effect are, the fatherless effect is much more wide-ranging, common, and deadly in American society.
Read the whole thing.
Father Factor: Authority and Responsibility
It’s quite difficult to get someone to give you authority, and even those who have it believe that they don’t have enough. There’s always a struggle to create more compliance, to garner more instant apparent respect, to get people to jump when you say jump.
Responsibility is there for the taking. It’s yours if you want it, if you can handle it, if you’re man enough, father enough, human enough to say, “I got this,” without excuses.
As you’ve probably guessed, fatherhood is completely and totally, 100%, about responsibility.
And, if you’re responsible enough, sometimes you get authority.
Nope. Authority is inherent in the position you hold. At least, it used to be the case.
Sadly, fatherhood used to command 100% authority at home. Having lost this, our sons and daughters have no idea what it means to respect authority in their communities, or to expect it from their own children.
He’s right – authority was given. It has been squandered by weak men, undermined by feminism, and over-ruled by government hacks who believe their authority is better than that of a loving father.
Ultimately, the authority of fatherhood is a picture of God’s authority in public life. That’s why the enemy has worked so hard, and so successfully, to extinguish it.
It’s a thing: Dad deprivation and society.
Solway: When a Culture Unmans Itself
The signs of anti-male bias are everywhere we look. The university, for example, has become a veritable minefield for male students, who may at any time be hauled before an administrative tribunal and their careers put in jeopardy for sexual misconduct, however trivial or ambiguous. A recent memo from my wife’s university mandates a statement against “sexual violence” in all course syllabi—mind you, nothing against harassing and lying about one’s professor for a better grade, shutting down conservative, Zionist, pro-Life or anti-feminist speakers, perpetrating racist hoaxes, denouncing the teaching of good English and male authors as forms of “microagression,” or any of the other violations of civil conduct that we have witnessed on university campuses recently. The only sexist harassment that takes place regularly in academia is feminist harassment of male students and staff—but that is considered not intimidation but enlightened practice.
Is it any wonder, then, that even our military is being insidiously weakened? Responding to a vehement attack on supposed martial dishonor by a former Supreme Court justice, it has turned from its primary task of defending the country to counseling its soldiers against what it regards as sexual delinquency by issuing wallet cards listing “inappropriate behaviors.” These include “sexual assault, sexual interference, sexual exploitation, offensive sexual remarks or unacceptable language or jokes, unwelcome requests of a sexual nature or verbal abuse of a sexual nature, voyeurism, indecent acts and publishing intimate images of a person without their consent.” The fact is, most men in the civilized West are not sexual predators or unreconstructed brutes but most men do tend to joke and flirt and make off-color remarks and otherwise show an interest in women, whether sexual or romantic, in virtue of being men. More to the point, if men are no longer permitted to be men, how then can they be soldiers?
When manliness is eliminated from a culture fixated on the supposedly corrupt and vicious nature of masculinity, while armies of apologetic White Knights and self-abnegating feminist allies (aka “manginas”) come to replace a diminishing platoon of alpha males—“We live in a world run by betas and their lady friends,” quips J.R. Dunn in a prescient article for American Thinker—the writing is on the wall.
It all started with the successful demolishing of fatherhood.
Fatherhood.org has a fresh look. Check it out!
This week Lori Alexander of Always Learning had a Facebook post go viral with a cacophony of feminist clucking. In the post Lori suggested that wives not focus on the amount of housework their husbands did, but instead:
…do your housework cheerfully, as unto the Lord. Remember, you didn’t marry your husband to help with the household chores. You married him to be your protector and provider. You also should have married him because you deeply loved him, wanted to be a great help meet to him…
This outstanding post predictably drove feminists mad, and the criticism from feminists lead Lori’s husband Ken to write his own post. Ken explained that godly husbands should do housework, but that if a husband is sinning in this way his wife should just do the housework cheerfully anyway. Lori’s focus was on the toxicity of feminist resentment. Ken agrees that wives should fight against the resentment, but also shifted the focus towards the sinful husbands he contends are (generally) the reason wives feel this resentment in the first place (emphasis mine):
The reason it struck such a viral cord is twofold: First because it did not fit with the progressive women’s agenda that a wife married to a husband unwilling to meet her expectations should just take the high road and love him anyway. Second, because this is one of the hottest sources of frustration for most wives in the modern world.
In the discussion Ken does leave open the possibility that an individual husband might not be sinning if his wife feels this resentment, but his general thrust in both the post and in the discussion is for the husband to do more of whatever work his wife identifies as the source of her resentment.
What Ken has misunderstood is the true source of the resentment. The resentment does not come from an excess of work or an unfair distribution of work, but envy of men. This is why women who haven’t overcome this envy will complain bitterly no matter how much better they have it than their husbands. He may be doing dirty, backbreaking, dangerous work, but he isn’t stuck being a woman like she is. It isn’t the work, but what the work represents to her. The problem is that the work reminds her that she is a woman.
Read the whole thing.
Hi Dr. Laura!
With Father’s Day this weekend, I’m reminded about another reason why I love my husband. We have three daughters, and he has taught ALL of them how to “fix” stuff. He has shown them how to fix basic problems like toilet leaks, and they all know how to safely use power tools. They are well equipped to face the “little problems” they’ll encounter when they’re out on their own!
For those who think otherwise, I’m proud to say that Dads really matter! I’m grateful to have such a special husband and wonderful father to our girls. They would not be the same people without their daddy. As I tell them daily, when the time comes, they are to “choose wisely!”
Happy Father’s Day to all the responsible, loving fathers out there!
Sam Williamson: I wonder if Sunday School is destroying our kids. Answer: Yes, but the root cause is also the loss of generational teachers (aka fathers), not just generational teachings.
God’s model always stood on the authority of Scripture and the one delivering it. Modern Christianity has surrendered both.