I used to know a woman who did parent education with low-income, teen moms. One day we were talking about teaching basic nutrition and moms putting soda in baby bottles (something which is simply unimaginable to the sort of moms I hang out with). She explained to me, “usually she is trying to be nice to her baby. She likes soda. She’s a teen so she thinks everyone is making a big deal out of nothing if they say soda is bad. And really, she just wants to give the baby something that they will enjoy having. Then the baby is quiet and she feels like a good mom.”
And I thought about it and kind of nodded my head. Obviously, we’re talking about mom-kid who is fatherless and has probably been abused. Her own mother who was probably the same. There’s actually a developmental point where a baby who wants to share starts to understand that what she likes isn’t always the right thing to offer to someone else. But that happens in toddlerhood. And then for a little while I decided that these girls must be really messed up to think it was just being nice to let their babies drink cola. Until I reminded myself that I regularly let my kids drink out of my coffee mug and will even make them their own mini-cup as a treat. Um, maybe they are just adolescents with really bad taste and a teenaged perspective on life doing what many parents do sometimes? Many people do say that adolescence and toddlerhood are pretty much the same thing after all. Continue reading
Oh my goodness! We’ve all heard complaints about “activist judges”, but this moron in Canada absolutely takes the cake. A judge in Canada has overturned a father’s decision to ground his 12 year old daughter from taking a 3 day school trip because she thought it was “too harsh”. I kid you not. Continue reading
The combination of Father’s Day yesterday, and the horrific statistics about fatherhood which have become common in America, we were treated yesterday to many columns and speeches exhorting men, particularly African American men, so step up to the challenge of being fathers. “Get involved in your kid’s life” was the refrain. It is excellent to see so much attention being paid to the importance of fatherhood. Only a few years ago, it was widely assumed that fathers were optional for the well being of a child and potentially a bad influence with all their aggressive, competitive tendencies. Thank heavens we’ve moved past that. It’s too bad that a generation of people had to be sacrificed in order for us to provide proof to the shrinks and sociologists that fathers really do matter, but whatchagonnado?
While it is all to the good that fatherhood is getting more attention, I’m very concerned that the call to “get involved in your children’s lives” is so generic and out-of-touch with the difficult realities on the ground that it will end up as a joke. “Just say no” for the war on fatherlessness. The fact of the matter is that there are reasons that men are not involved in the lives of the children they father. They run the gamut from the very selfish to the practical to the heart wrenching. Continue reading