Dads Against the Divorce Industry

DA*DI is devoted to reinstating the societal valuation of Marriage and the traditional, nuclear American Family, with particular emphasis on the essential role of FATHERS.

DA*DI offers contemporary reports and commentary on culture; its aberrations and its heroes.

DA*DI's brief review of "Throwaway Dads"
price: $16.80

Throwaway Dads: The Myths and Barriers That Keep Men from Being the Fathers They Want to Be.

Authors: Dr. Ross Parke, and Parenting writer Armin Brott

Hello all,

If you haven't already read or heard of this book on Dads, it is a solid source of validation for the Disenfranchised Father Syndrome, and several other assertions that DA*DI has made over the past 5-6 years. This includes the early DA*DI assertion that welfare has done more to destroy than preserve families and fatherhood than have "deadbeat dads", as well as other counterpoints to the many myths that derive from the "abusive male" fallacy.

Parke and Brott have captured the essence of Fatherlessness.
For the millions of fathers who have experienced the intimacy of involved fatherhood, and its subsequent loss through divorce, this book will give them the validation they can find in few other places. Throwaway Dads stridently touches a nerve that neither Blankenhorn (Fatherless America) nor Popenoe (Life Without Father) have fully explored. Expanding on Sanford Braver (Divorced Dads), Throwaway Dads takes us another step closer to understanding the degree to which the contemporary myth of the unfeeling, macho, uninvolved, "deadbeat", if not "dangerous" dad belies the frequent, tragic-reality of the post-divorce, disenfranchised, "visiting father."

And, notably, it courageously exposes the social engineering which decimated the families caught up in the wake of the "Great Society" - and the genesis of Braver's "driven-away" dads.

In this case, you can tell a book by its cover.

Dr. Parke says:

(P. 23) "Still, parents and infants do bond, and men's early attachments to their babies are just as powerful as women's. In the early 1970's, Martin Greenberg and Norman Morris were among the first researchers to notice how delighted and pleased fathers were with their new newborns. They interviewed new fathers and discovered that 'fathers begin developing a bond to their newborn by the first three days after birth and often earlier. Furthermore, there are certain characteristics of this bond which we call engrossment ... a feeling of preoccupation, absorption and interest in their newborn.'

While almost no researchers have questioned that mothers develop a close attachment to their infants, many can't seem to accept that fathers develop the same kind of ties to their offspring."

(p. 39) "Charges of abuse are sometimes made against men in intact families, but they are much more common in cases of divorce. So common, in fact, that there's a clinically recognized syndrome: SAID, or Sexual Allegations In Divorce. A variety of studies have concluded, however, that 75 - 80 percent of these divorce-related allegations of child abuse are completely false." (In Dr. Sanford Braver's book [p. 210], Dr. Ralph Underwager estimates that in allegations of sex-abuse, 97.5 percent are false.)

(p. 49) "While anyone wrongly accused of a crime may suffer (legal fees, incarceration, etc.) those wrongly accused of abusing their children suffer far more. Nick O., for example, has spent more than $150,000 so far in defending himself. Bankruptcy, unemployment, stress, health problems, alcoholism, and suicide are not uncommon. Once accused, many fathers are afraid to be alone with their, or anyone else's children. Even some who haven't been accused, but have heard about the devastation an abuse charge brings, have become afraid of being affectionate with their own children out of fear that somehow, someone will misinterpret what they're doing and they'll be dragged into the criminal justice system."

(p. 50) "Of the more than half million substantiated cases of child neglect of all kinds reported each year, 87 percent are of children neglected by a female, almost always the child's mother. ... and of the people who physically abuse their children, 60 percent are mothers."

(p. 51) "Even when it comes to sexual abuse, a significant minority of incidents are commited by women. These figures are far from secret. They're available from a variety of government sources. Yet hardly any of them ever get reported. There's also quite a bit of data that indicates that the problem of female abusers - especially sexual abusers - is vastly underreported."

(p. 52) (Co-Author Brott) " I was pushing my daughter on the swing at our favorite park when I heard the screams. Just a few feet away, a panicked little girl was teetering on the small platform at the top of a long steep slide. As I watched, she lost her grip on the handrail and began to fall. Without thinking, I leapt over to the slide, plucked the little girl out of the air, and set her down on the sand. I knelt down and was about to ask her if she was all right, when a woman picked the girl up, gave me one of the most wilting looks I've ever seen, and hustled the child away. 'Didn't I tell you not to talk to strange men in the park?' the woman asked her daughter, glaring over her shoulder at me. 'Did he hurt you?' "

(P. 68) "Another claim frequently made by politicians is that by abandoning their children and then refusing to support them, fathers are contributing to the increase in the number of single mothers and to the rise in poverty in this country. ...

Most experts agree that the failed social policies of previous Democratic and Republican administrations, not divorced fathers, are responsible for the increase in poverty and in the breakdown of the family structure in the inner city. ...

Even the government has admitted that more stringent child-support enforcement would not significantly reduce child poverty. In fact, perfect compliance would reduce the poverty level of custodial parents by only 3 percent (from 24 to 21 percent). Still the assault against poor fathers continues. 'Since the mid-1960's government policy has moved against fathers. For example, Aid to Families with Dependent Children was set up in a way that deliberately excluded fathers,' write Hewlett and West (San Francisco Chronicle, June 19, 1998). 'For 20 years, welfare agencies staged unannounced midnight raids to make sure that there was no man in the house. If a man was found, the mother lost her AFDC benefits. The effect of these raids was to cause men to be literally pushed out of the nest. Not only did these regulations create a huge disincentive to marry; they made it extremely difficult for poor men to become fathers to their children.' ... Are these guys really deadbeats, or are they just some of the thousand points of light that were systematically extinguished by previous 'family values' administrations? These aren't divided families, these are families that are forced apart."

(P. 73) "Many times, mothers will disrupt visitation by getting the kids involved in something really fun just before the father gets there," says Dr. Richard Warshak, author of The Custody Revolution. "That way, if the father tries to enforce his visitation, the kids will see him as the bad guy - the guy who made them stop having fun."

"For most fathers, going to court to enforce their visitation rights is prohibitively expensive: attorneys' fees to cover one challenge run an average of $4,000. And even if they win, visitation still isn't guaranteed. ... A recent survey in Indiana turned up 272 fathers who had gone to court to try to enforce their court-ordered visitation. Only 62% of them were granted a hearing, and not one mother was jailed for having violated a court order. And 77 percent of the men who had hearings reported that the visitation problem got worse after going to court."

(P. 75) "The whole 'deadbeat dad' campaign is, in a sense, a microcosm of the way our society willfully disregards the importance of fathers in children's lives and the importance of children in father's lives. Once there's a divorce, we act as if the family no longer exists - we amputate one parent or the other and expect the child to grow up healthy. It's painfully obvious to those who aren't blinded by politics that if we preserve the child's relationship with both parents, children will be better off and we'll have far fewer problems with child-support collection. Enforcing father's visitation rights is the first step in preserving that relationship."

(P. 92) "Falling Down (the movie) generated a huge amount of controversy, including a cover story in Newsweek about 'white male backlash.' In the movie, divorced father Bill Foster, played by Michael Douglas, calls his ex-wife to get permission to bring his daughter, Adele, a birthday present. 'How's Adele?' he asks. 'She's doing just fine without you.' says his ex. 'Falling Down is about the violent decomposition of a man's life,' wrote David Blankenhorn. Bill Foster 'loses his balance - and finally his life - precisely because he loses his fatherhood.' "

(P. 99) "Since no one really expects the media to portray much of anything accurately, we have to ask ourselves whether they are helping us achieve our common goal of getting fathers to take on more responsibility and be more actively involved parents.

Sadly, the answer is a resounding no. In fact, the media are doing more harm than good. Hammering men over the head with - and so wildly exaggerating - their shortcomings only fills them with feelings of shame that serve to drive them further from their families and children. 'Research on shame and guilt consistently finds that the subsequent behavior of shamed individuals is one of retracting and removing themselves from the shaming situation,' writes researcher Nancy Heleno Obetz. 'These actions are motivated by feeling a sense of shrinking, being small, worthless and powerless.' "

(P. 118) "In truth, women have been children's primary nurturers for a relatively short period of time. Before the Industrial Revolution, when they left their wives and the family farm to work in cities and factories, men were the central figures in their children's lives. But rather than consider the historical precedent for men's involvement, too many people - especially women - have seized on the past two centuries and insist not only that women naturally do a better job of raising children, but that they don't even need men to help out. ...

As it turns out, mother's attitudes about fathers' competence are important in predicting fathers' involvement with their children - even after taking into account fathers' own attitudes."

(P. 170) "Legislative bodies and the courts are also reluctant to question any data put out by women's groups. The mission of the U.S. Commission on Child and Family Welfare, for example, was to focus on children's access to the financial and emotional resources of both parents. But the majority of commissioners, more than half of whom were women's activists, refused to endorse any guidelines for a presumption of shared parenting after divorce - 'even with strong provisions for exceptions based on spousal violence, substance abuse, or other impediments ...,' former Commissioner John Guidubaldi wrote in his dissenting report. 'The bias against presumption of joint custody was observable in several Commission actions,' he said. 'For example, bias was clear in the uncritical acceptance of testimony opposing joint custody, the attempt to limit testimony of those in favor, and the ignoring of substantial supportive documents.' "

(P. 171) "The inconsistencies in the feminist position on fathers and father involvement after divorce appear to be obvious, and the reason behind the inconsistencies is just as obvious: It's all about power. There's little argument that women have had les than their fair share of power outside the home, and there's even less argument that for generations women have reigned supreme inside the home. Like most people who wield great power, they have no real interest in giving it up. And like most people who wield too much power, feminists have too often abused it. According to feminist writer Ann Snitow, when contemplating joint custody (or any other gender-blind arrangement), women 'give up something, a special privilege wound up in the culture-laden word mother. ... Giving up the exclusivity of motherhood is bound to feel to many like a loss. Only a fool gives up something present for something intangible and speculative.' "

(P. 183) "Here are a few excerpts (from 'NOW Action Alert on Fathers' Rights') that reflect a jaundiced view of men and fathers and demonstrate NOW's commitment to keeping women's grip on children firm and to driving fathers away from their children.

    WHEREAS organizations advocating 'fathers' rights,' whose members consist of non-custodial parents, their attorneys and their allies, are a growing force in our country; and WHEREAS the objectives of these groups are to increase restrictions and limits on custodial parents' rights and to decrease child support obligations of non-custodial parents by using the abuse of power in order to control in the same fashion as do batterers;
There is absolutely no evidence to back up any of these claims."

* * *

Just as Cathy Young, in "Ceasefire" offered her provocative version of a twelve-step plan, Dr. Parke has twelve provocative recommendations for the government and private sector. 7 & 8 respectively are: "Encourage Joint Custody" & "Uphold divorced fathers' visitation rights".

If you can't visit the DA*DI page, this book will provide a good substitute source of information on the importance of restoring the Disenfranchised Father.

Gerald L. Rowles, Ph.D.

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