24 Million Children And 64 Million Fathers – Best Interest – No One Listened

There is an estimated 64 million fathers across the nation. Parent-child relationships and child well being show that father love is an important factor in predicting the social, emotional, and cognitive development and functioning of children and young adults.

Yet 24 million children live without their biological father in their lives. What the family court calls the best interest of the child.

According to Osherson,  a boy who does not have his father will at some point in his life have to  separate from his mother but does not have a model on whom he can base his male identity after. [1] Studies have found that a loss of a father on his son can increase ego deficits. Ego deficits such as impaired intellectual functioning, a lack of frustration tolerance, the inability to delay gratification and increased learning disabilities.[2] In a longitudinal study of 1,197 fourth-grade students, it was observed by researchers that there was a greater level of aggression in boys from mother-only households than from boys who lived with a father and mother.[3]

One of the most often overlooked aspect of fatherlessness is the importance of what fathers bring when they are involved with their children’s lives is play. The style of play is different because it is often more physically stimulating and exciting.  It requires teamwork and often requires children to think. While a mother may spend more time playing her with her children it is different because it does not challenge them but more often is based on their children’s intellectual level. In studies that have been conducted children in the early years more often wanted to play with their fathers than mothers.[4] As children grow older they learn self-confidence, control, and are pushed by their fathers. Yet the family court calls removing this from our children to be in the best interest of our children.

Less than one third of adult children when talking to researchers believed that their stepsiblings were brothers and sisters. More often than not we know that if a child experiences one divorce with a parent then they will often see the second divorce with a parent, adult children who have lived through that say that if they had developed bonds with the stepparent or stepgrandparents that this divorce was equally hard on them. “Binuclear families are not tidy families; they are made up of a combination of blood and nonblood relationships that defy clear role definitions and often lack appropriate kinship terms.”[5] This can lead to difficulties in understanding their roles and places in these families.

“In the context of child custody cases, focusing on the child’s “best interests” means that all custody and visitation discussions and decisions are made with the ultimate goal of fostering and encouraging the child’s happiness, security, mental health, and emotional development into young adulthood.”[6] Yet at no point, at least in Texas, do they speak to the children unless they are 12 years old and older and even that can be shot down. Children have to live with these decisions that are being made and to deny them the right to at least put some input into that decision is wrong. My stepchildren never got to have their voices heard. And now they are living with decisions that IT, judges, psychologist and lawyers made with two thirds not even knowing my stepchildren. Yet we continue to say we are doing this for the best interest of our children. And yet,

24 million children live without their biological father in their lives.

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[1] Osherson, Samuel (1986). Finding Our Fathers p.4. New York. Fawcett Books.

[2] Ross , J.M. (1977). Towards fatherhood. International Review of Psychoanalysis, (4), p.327-347.

[3] N. Vaden-Kierman, N. Ialongo, J. Pearson, and S. Kellam, “Household Family Structure and Children’s Aggressive Behavior: A Longitudinal Study of Urban Elementary School Children,” Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 23, no. 5 (1995).

[4] Popenoe, D. (1996). A world without fathers. The Wilson Quarterly20(2), 12.

[5] Ahrons, C. R. (2007). Family ties after divorce: Long‐term implications for children. Family process46(1), 53-65.

[6] Focusing on the. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2018, from http://family.findlaw.com/child-custody/focusing-on-the-best-interests-of-the-child.html

 

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