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Have you ever struggled to convince a mother to allow the father of her child to be more involved in the child’s life? Maternal gatekeeping is one of the primary challenges practitioners face when encouraging moms to allow dads into their children’s lives. Maternal gatekeeping refers to a mom’s protective beliefs about the desirability of a dad’s involvement in their child’s life, and the behaviors acted upon that either facilitate or hinder effective co-parenting. Maternal gatekeeping occurs regardless of whether parents are married, divorced or unmarried, and regardless of the parents’ satisfaction with the relationship between them. But, clearly, it presents the greatest challenge when the relationship between the parents is poor.
The National Fatherhood Initiative are doing God’s work to develop training and education programs to combat this pervasive form of parental alienation. Drop by, check it out, and share the link(s).
Reality TV for Lawyers: Maureen McDonnell’s daughter trashes her mother to help her father.
First Things: The New Focus on Children’s Rights
What do donor conception, surrogacy, divorce, and adoption have in common? According to the newly-founded International Children’s Rights Institute (ICRI), they are all practices which violate the rights of children to be born free, to be raised by his or her biological parents wherever possible, and to have a knowledge of the heritage of his or her biological parents. Dubbed “Bonds that Matter” for its focus on these beginning-of-life issues, the ICRI’s inaugural conference gathered scholars, activists, and students from around the country to Simi Valley, California last Friday to discuss the various ways in which these four practices violate children’s rights.
First to speak was Alana Newman, founder of Anonymous Us and speaker on behalf of the many donor-conceived children and adults who, like herself, believe that their lives have been permanently affected for the worse by having been cut off from at least one biological parent. Beginning with her own personal testimony, Newman recounted the behavioral problems that she experienced after realizing that her biological father was paid for his promise to stay out of her life. Newman pointed out that not only do many donor-conceived adults suffer from feelings of worthlessness, grief, and shame, but all of them have no information about half, or all, of their genetic background.
Donor conception can create societal problems, explained Newman. For example, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine recommends (note: These numbers are not based on law, the reality could be much worse) a limit of twenty-five children per donor per population of 800,000. If you do the math, this means that within New York City, one person could have 258 offspring, so the son of such a donor could easily have over a hundred sisters in the same area. The result is that people may unknowingly engage in incest and have consanguineous children, the first of which is prohibited in all fifty states and the second of which may produce unhealthy children.
It happens. Saw an episode of Paternity Court last month where a married couple had to subject themselves to DNA testing to make sure they weren’t related. They weren’t, thankfully.
Day 44 of 100 Days of Advice on How to Treat Men Right: #44 Give your husband the space to be a father.
There are many mothers who are so terrified of letting go of control of the family unit that the family no no longer works as mother/father team working together to raise child but as mother over father/child. This lack of faith in your husband stifles the family unit and suppresses the father role.
These mothers/wives are not giving their husbands the space they need to be a father. They have jumped in to control the father role. This not only shows lack of trust when you don’t back off and let your husband do what comes naturally for him as a father but it also teaches your child to not trust their father to support them.
Read the whole thing.
Actress Connie Britton adopts a stray, finds it hard to take care of:
Britton is single mom to young son Yoby, whom she adopted from Ethiopia in 2011. The actress, who is on the October cover of Redbook, told the magazine there are both pressures and perks to raising a little boy alone.
“I would love to be doing this with a partner, and I want Yoby to have a father figure,” she told Redbook. “But I also know that putting that kind of pressure on myself or on a relationship would be disastrous. It’s funny — my married friends tell me all the time, ‘What you have is so much easier.’ When you’re doing it on your own, you don’t have to [argue over] how you’re raising the kids.”
I dunno…arguing is a choice. Give it a try! Do it for Yoby.
If you respect your kids, expect excellence, and lay out clear and fair directions, you’ll find them ready and willing to help out. At least until they’re 15.
The Missus got a lot of mileage out of this book too.
What is most sophisticated and wonderful about each of these women is that none of them are effective at the expense of her femininity. Disney’s women have come of age. They are strong, smart, even sexy. The change is unmistakable. These women of action, unlike their predecessors, are out of the house, (or the sea), confident and courageous.
Then there are the fathers. In most of the old movies, there is a single female parent. In all three new movies, there is a single male parent. Interesting switch. Has the depiction of fathers as primary caretakers improved to the same degree as the view of young women? One could argue that at least they exist! However, in each of the movies mentioned, the father is a tyrant, a buffoon, or both.
There are, of course, capable fathers among Disney’s characters. Geppetto, Pinnochio’s father, is caring and courageous. In The Jungle Book, Bagheera and Baloo team up to take care of Mowgli and see him safely back to the man’s village; while one lacks a sense of humor and the other lacks a sense of responsibility, combined they make a pretty good paternal pair. My favorite father is Pongo of One Hundred and One Dalmatians. The newest Disney dad, The Lion King’s Mufasa, is a fine feline father, at once powerful and playful, stern and sensitive. These latter two movies are among the few Disney families with both a mother and father.
There is an important difference between these positively portrayed papas and the faltering fathers of Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine. These dads care for sons. Pinnochio, Mowgli, the Dalmatian pups, and Simba are all boys. The message seems to be that when caring for boys, a father is competent and even heroic, but when caring for girls, a father is bungling and brainless.
Honor fathers by acknowledging how tough it is for single homeless moms.
The truth about Motherhood regrets.
Now, I have three daughters who reject bedtime and, at the mere mention of it, spin themselves into such a fit that I can not even fathom how to handle three fits at once. The games are ridiculous and redundant, the time it takes to get them to finally lay down is a waste and the entire experience leaves me in tears almost every night of my life. And them too. And I regret it every.single.night. I have no one to blame but myself. I know I should have instilled a structure that was unbreakable. Demanded the respect it takes to get them to mind without punishment, been a PARENT.
Planting honor in the home at a young age is the best way to ensure it blooms down the road. I’m sure that’s in Proverbs or something…
Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is emotional abuse of children, says Psychology Today. This debate has been out there since Gardner’s research in the 80’s, falling along the lines of father’s vs mother’s rights advocates.
If you find yourself in this situation, it’s your kids that are at greatest risk. Get help.
I wish I had a dad
I grew up with out a father
So respecting is hard for me
Especially growing up In a house with domestic violence . . .
Tough love for single dudes considering single moms. Her last thought on the kids was the toughest.
UPDATE: The counterpoint – Single Dads? Hell Yeah! She’s right about the responsibility piece.
Truly, the most effective way to have great kids is for them to have a Mom and Dad in their life that honor one another and a relationship with their Heavenly Father. But Harvard won’t to teach you that. See here also.
BUMPED: Young dad tells bullies to “play nicely” and pays a terrible price. Ok, so it wasn’t his kids he was telling to be nice…
Ross Douthat: The Parent Trap. Criminalize parenting and it will go underground. Maybe that’s what they want.
They can’t stop all of us at the same time.
The myth of the empowered working class single mother:
Instead of some natural matriarchal love-fest, it is more properly termed “multi-generational female dependency.” It’s an insidious kind of charity, because it renders men socially superfluous even as it encourages women to depend on the state for support, which creates an entire community that is a net drain on the surrounding society. Of course, there are incentives built in all along the way.
Perverse incentives by those in evil hats. More:
Instead of using welfare as a relief measure to help families through rough times, our brilliant leaders created a self-perpetuating single motherhood mill. Now, women have no incentive to become partners in productive nuclear families, and men have no incentive to be husbands and fathers.
What could go wrong?
Really connected with the sermon this morning. The topic centered around “the casual church,” and it was a rich, scripture-based challenge that covered some tough ground:
- God is our King. American Christians today don’t have a clue as to what it means to honor a king. We elect our heads of state now, so our attitude is that he owes us, not the other way around. It’s up to royalty to meet our needs, rather than for us to serve the kingdom.
- There once was a divine right of kings. A truly sovereign king can summon an executioner with a single word. You never turned your back on the king. You never sat until invited. You followed protocol. You never arrived at the palace empty handed. Even a pauper would take time to wash, to prepare.
- God command the Hebrews to construct a laver because the people – including the priests – were not to just walk into the presence of a holy God with mud with filthy hands and feet. Even entry by the High Priest personally called by God was risky business.
- From popcorn to Starbuck’s coffee, the House of God is looking more like a restaurant instead of the Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit. Is there anything wrong with that? From short-shorts to halter tops does it matter what you wear into the House of God? Do any of these things matter to God?
During the inter-service break, the pastor and I chewed on this loss of honor for God. Truly, it starts (and is lost) in our homes. “Honor your father and mother” was not just good advice. God knows that a generation publicly rises or falls in its walk with God based on how its people privately teach and expect honor for parents and grandparents.
Back to the sermon – as Pastor spoke, I couldn’t get away from two sets of TV parents: The Huxtables and the Cleavers. Ward and June, he in jacket and tie and arms folded, together parenting and admonishing their sons. Cliff and Claire, with their dry, humorous lack of patience for anything smacking of an uprising of the heart, despite all the mayhem around them. It’s impossible to imagine any of their TV offspring dishonoring them without consequences.
These parents used to reflect society. Now they are parodies of an earlier era. We have become so afraid of teaching legalism (truth without grace) that we all now trot into the throne room of Heaven in our spandex, demanding that the King of Kings do our bidding (grace without truth).
Pastor asked the right question: How do we restore honor again? It’s the right question, and it has a lot to do with things like:
- Re-establishing and re-inforcing respect and honor in our homes and our churches.
- Prayerfully making the connection between the Old Testament preparation for worship, to the washing that Christ taught us to do for one another.
- Refusing to trade in love, honor, and respect for either legalism or a lack of restraint.
- Refusing to accept the world’s current model for disrespecting authority.
As these are done in the natural, they are done in the supernatural.
The Holiness of God series by R.C. Sproul
Mark Driscoll, Why and How to Honor Father and Mother
MORE: There’s an offspring component in this too. Kids who are born into the royalty of God are themselves royalty, and worthy of honor. We need to remind each other of this more often.
Penelope Leach: Vengeful mothers are the unspoken scandal of our age. Your church probably has at least one.