“Fatherhood in 2013 means what exactly?”

This is a comment by Tom B on the comment of the day: “There is a loss of fatherhood as a role for men to aspire to, which is troubling.”

Tom B said:

The way I see it is that there is a push to re-define fatherhood opposed to enhancing or expanding it. It’s outstanding that there are more men as primary care givers to their children but at the same time there is a large population of men who are not interested in that role as described.

I’m not knocking stay at home dads, I’m simply stating that fatherhood shouldn’t be defined as XYZ.

We live in a society where it’s perfectly acceptable that fathers not have to be in a child’s life. Men are denied access to their kids, people automatically think that dad is a dead beat and mom has valid reasons. Dad has custody and mom is restricted. Family court cares about one thing when it comes to fatherhood and that’s the money he should be shelling out.

Yeah, fatherhood in 2013 means what exactly? 

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  1. Carol the Long Winded says:

    Courts should be interested in the best interests of the husband. And personally I don’t know any children whose fathers have been denied visitation regardless of whether the father was paying or not, or in prison or not.
    I don’t know what society you are living in either. Here in the wild west, it isn’t cool for men to neglect their children. Does it happen? Yes,but no one is saying that is fine.

  2. There seems to be a societal lack of understanding about what a man brings to the fatherhood table. From my own experience as a long time dad and as a participant in my ex’s longtime childcare, I can tell you first hand that we are the example that kids need. In the childcare I saw that single mothers struggled with being both a mother and a father. At a certain age their adoring, loving child of three or four years begins to act out and all the mother’s discipline and coddling just doesn’t cut it. Kids know their moms pretty well and have them figured out so they see the loopholes in her ability to consistently stop bad behavior. What I found that was effective with my kids and with my physical presence in the childcare was that just my presence, the timber of my voice and my stated expectation that the behavior stop worked. The childcare kids didn’t like it very much at first but I noticed over time that they sought out my company and my approval. Pretty simple to me why dads are important: We set the expectation and we are the example of how to be a man. We show our sons and our daughters what is acceptable behavior so when they go out into the world they have a role model. For young men it is how to be the man they should be and for daughters (I have three) it shows them what acceptable behavior is from a boyfriend. Lastly, a man imparts a sense of safety and security that a family needs.
    That’s my take. I speak form 33 years of experience, which is the age of my eldest daughter.

  3. wellokaythen says:

    [I think I agree with Tom B more than my earlier messages might indicate. The following is not necessarily meant to be any disagreement with his quote.]

    I’ve been reading a lot about fatherhood and male role models lately, and I’m noticing a consistent pattern that’s bothering me. Maybe other people have noticed this, too? It looks like this:

    Whenever a boy misbehaves, it is primarily his father’s fault. When a young man misbehaves, it is the fault of either his father or other men. If a boy is raised by a single mother, his misdeeds are the fault of his absent father. Single mothers are only responsible for the good things their sons do, while their fathers are to blame for the bad things their sons do. A misbehaving boy raised by a single mother misbehaves because men have failed him. That is the primary explanation. The boys themselves are hardly responsible or accountable for their behavior at all. Presumably, if a boy is raised by a single dad, the boy’s good behavior is DESPITE his father’s efforts, and it’s a total miracle the kid turns out okay at all.

    The remarkable thing is that I see this same assumption from both sides of the political spectrum. It’s a very backhanded form of respect for a father’s influence, I suppose. Men are ruining society, either by being there or not being there.

    I recommend we set an arbitrary cutoff age for blaming parents. Let’s say 25 years old, just to throw a number out there. Recommend a different age if you want, I’ll probably agree with you. Anyway, anything you do after age X is not really your parents’ fault any more. If you rob a convenience store at age 26, that is not your dad’s fault. His absence did not make you rob that store.

    • It’s way more complicated than that- go and check who had a stable parental set up among the male inmates at your nearest penitentary. Contrast and compare with those guys at the top of their game in sports, industry and other demanding careers. There’ll be a few psycho’s at the top of any tree, but you see what I’m getting at.

      • wellokaythen says:

        Okay, so maybe 25 is too young of a cutoff age in your view. How about 60 years old? I feel comfortable saying that if someone has been in and out of jail for his adult life and is a 60 year-old prisoner, it’s past the point where his dad is the one most responsible for his being there. If you’re convicted of a crime in your 30’s or 40’s, you’ve passed the point where your parents are the ones who are most to blame.

        The problem with holding parents responsible is that it means no one is actually responsible, ever, because the parents can’t be held responsible either. Blame the inmate’s parents, but that means his parents get to blame THEIR parents, and the grandparents get to blame THEIR parents, back and back into infinity and until no one is responsible.

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