There are situations in which courts must protect a parent and child. This article does not apply to circumstances in which abuse or threat of abuse jeopardizes the safety of a child or parent.
Daddy was my champion. We were bonded tightly, as he was the stabilizer in my family. My earliest, remarkable memories were shared with him. He sat at his tiny desk in the family room once a week to reconcile the checkbook. It was the 60’s, and no apps existed for instant access to the bank account. I’d squeeze my tiny self between him and the wall to sit on the bookshelf and watch.
“You are doing your checks, Daddy?” I asked. He noticed my quizzical disposition, and carefully explained check reconciliation to a three-year-old. It was the same with all his responsibilities; auto repair, carpentry, home improvement, and church work. Observing him while listening to his explanations built a foundation for me that has become generational. My children are parents, now. I frequently hear Daddy’s tone and instruction coming from them.
Fathers must insist that they get an equal presence in children’s lives for to them to thrive. Studies indicate that infant weights are higher at check-ups, school-age kids achieve higher grades, and fewer teens drop out of school when fathers succeed in sharing the role of parenting. I read numerous articles stating how the father effect is equal to that of the mother but under-researched.
Interestingly, children with actively involved fathers have stronger empathy and become better at reading the emotions of other children. Roughhousing is commonly a dad’s favorite activity, and it is known to strengthen childrens’ social competence. Active involvement denotes Dad is doing an activity with his child beyond watching television. For example, my dad explained check reconciliation to me as a toddler. Did I comprehend it? Probably not; however, it is a fond memory from which I developed confidence, trust, and patience.
When two people create a life, they both have the right and the responsibility to parent that child. Women and men must share equality in parent-child relationships. When fathers are unfairly stripped from their child’s life, society suffers. Standard visitation offers fathers 30% of a given year with their children, and that is only if he lives less than one hundred miles from the child. He pays 20%-40% of his income to the mother for support of the child. Also, he must furnish his own support for the 30% of the child’s time in his possession: food, clothing, furniture, toys, books, etc. Most courts do not look at the mother’s income. She might make more money than the father, but he is still ordered to pay.
The laws we currently adhere to came about in the mid 1900’s when mothers did not typically work outside the home, and fathers worked 40 to 60 hours a week. Then there existed a need for child support payments and weekend visitation schedules. It is not a popular vision, but I believe our society should look into revising laws that are antiquated. Divorce decrees, visitation schedules, and child support should become shared for the benefit of the child. Divorced parents should be able to put their children first and make decisions without malice.