The following article was syndicated in over 50 major newspapers.
- DOES GOVERNMENT DRIVE FATHERS AWAY?
- By Stuart A. Miller and Rich Zubaty, Washington Times, National Weekly Edition, December 25-31, 1995, page 30
85% of prisoners, 78% of high school dropouts, 82% of teenage girls who become pregnant, the majority of drug and
alcohol abusers -- all come from single-mother-headed households. Less than 1% of any of these categories come
from single-father-headed households. This seems to indicate that the problems children encounter are not related to
single-parent households, but are related specifically to single-mother-headed households. So, should we blame the
mothers or the fathers? Perhaps, neither. There is no question that father-absence has reached epidemic proportions.
According to Wade Horn of the National Fatherhood Initiative, we must reverse the trend in 7 - 8 years or it will be too
late to do so.
And, how has our government responded to this crisis? By continuing to drive fathers out of the family. It is bad
enough that some fathers abandon their families, but it is unconscionable that our federal and state policies drive
fathers away from their families. With 80+ percent of divorces involving children resulting in sole-mother-custody,
combined with a "no man in the house rule" and "presumptive sole-mother-custody" in welfare cases -- we are not
blameless from a policy perspective. We must change our policies, practices and procedures to specifically include
fathers in families. If not, we can be certain that social spending will continue to increase and we will be plagued with
an ever burgeoning population of maladjusted children who will fill our prisons and wreak havoc on society.
Social research data reveal that our blind reliance only on the nurturing value of mothers is inadequate and misplaced.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, a child living with his/her divorced mother, compared to a child
living with both parents, is "375% more likely to need professional treatment for emotional or behavioral problems and
is almost twice as likely to repeat a grade of school, is more likely to suffer chronic asthma, frequent headaches,
and/or bedwetting, develop a stammer or speech defect, suffer from anxiety or depression, and be diagnosed as
However, these afflictions were surprisingly uncommon in the 15% of single-parent households headed by men. A
study of all state child protective services agencies in the country -- by the Children's Rights Coalition, a child
advocacy and research organization in Austin, Texas -- found that biological mothers physically abuse their children
at twice the rate of biological fathers. The majority of the rest of the time, children are abused because of
single-mothers' poor choices in the subsequent men in their lives. Incidences of abuse were almost non-existent in
The data show that placing children only with mothers is likely to be detrimental to children and society, so why do
we continue public policies favoring sole-mother-placement? Have we become so paternalistic toward women that it
anesthetizes our common sense?
Surprisingly few people realize that, until the end of WW I, U.S. laws and courts automatically placed the children of
divorce not with their mothers, but with their fathers. For thousands of years societal conventions instructed the
placement of children with their fathers in most cultures all over the globe. Why? Because it works. It puts children
with their strongest protectors and it puts boys with their traditional guides to civilized manhood. Yet, these essential
fatherhood roles -- protector and civilizer -- seem to have been forgotten, today.
Never before have fathers been cast aside as they have been in the United States during the last 30 - 40 years. Never
before has such a strong society become as threatened as we are, for this solitary reason. Regrettably, as long as
we continue to hold to the relatively new idea that only mothers are capable of being parents, and ignore the essential
role of fathers, our children will remain at risk.
The single-mother-headed-household must go the way of the slum high-rise dwelling. Both are human disaste zones.
Both are exalted attempts at social engineering that ignore God's blueprint for human society.
What is needed? Our Father in heaven and our fathers here on earth -- as well as a society that values them,
includes them, and encourages their involvement in their families.
Stuart Miller and Rich Zubaty are Political Analysts with the American Fathers Coalition in Washington, D.C.
Date sent: Sat, 6 Jan 1996 10:17:35 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Stuart Miller (fwd)
Link to American Fathers Coalition, click here