UFI

Men, Put Down the Remote and Help Your Families Succeed

In father, Media on September 29, 2014 at 7:59 am

dad with sonFathers can give the best gift of all – it’s not about  presents, but presence.

By Chimane Hess & David Puente

In the 1970’s a series of public service announcements aired that promoted strong families. Several of the ads focused on getting fathers to realize that their families wanted their time and attention. One of the favorites was of a busy father who is “kidnapped” by his wife and children to go on a family campout because he told them he was too busy to go. Another depicts a college age daughter calling her father (who is at work in an important meeting) to tell him of her exciting news. He has her on speaker phone, and he tries to get her to wait until later. She responds to this by telling her father that he can tell “all those stuffy old men” that his daughter just made it big. She tells her father that her dance audition was successful, had resulted in a job and an apartment, and then ends the call by saying that she loves him. The message of these ads is loud and clear…a father’s time is needed to give security, stability and strength to the family!

President Barak Obama commented on this problem in a father’s day speech, “too many fathers…are… missing – missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.” Can this be good for the children? How about the communities and nation?

National statistics show that “children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.”

When a father is involved

What can we do to avoid such a gloomy picture of our nation? Studies have shown that high levels of father involvement are associated with a range of significant and highly desirable outcomes. These include: better psychosocial adjustment in children and better mental health as adults; higher levels of cognitive and social competence; increased social responsibility, capacity for empathy, self-control, self-esteem, social maturity and life skills; more positive child–father and adolescent–father relationships; more prosocial sibling interactions; fewer school adjustment difficulties, better academic progress and enhanced occupational achievement in adulthood.

According to childwelfare.gov, the influence of a father’s involvement on academic achievement extends into adolescence and young adulthood and highly involved biological fathers have children who were 43 percent more likely than other children to earn mostly A’s and 33 percent less likely than other children to repeat a grade. It has also been shown that a father’s warmth contributes greatly to children’s long-term favorable development, emphasizing that young girls with good father-child relationships are less likely to begin early sexual activity and have unhappy romantic involvements chological well-being (Berk, 2010). Basically, much good can be accomplished merely by, while young men benefit from positive father-child relationships in overall psy a present, involved, warm and loving, but firm father back at the head of his household.

Dangerous distractions

Some fathers may feel that their family is just too busy to spend time together. “Parents are working, children are at school and the evening and weekends are taken up with a host of clubs, sports and play dates with friends. But this means that many families really struggle with time together and just enjoying each other’s company for a while.” The unlimited supply of technologies have opened up a world of information, opportunity to continue work after hours, connect with colleagues and friends more, relax through a video game or movie…the list could go on, contributing to the distractions to keep the father “away from the family.” Fathers are not the only victims of media distraction; the media will take hold of the children as well. “On average, children ages 2-5 spend 32 hours a week in front of a TV—watching television, DVDs, DVR and videos, and using a game console. Kids ages 6-11 spend about 28 hours a week in front of the TV.” Many people see media as a way to connect with their children; though it has a few moments of connection, it is not “real” and more often serves as a distraction from the nurturing, in-person relationships and building memories together. We cannot let quality time with children take a back seat to other activities; they need that time with their fathers. There isn’t anything that can replace or make up for the loss of it.

There are men that might think that they are not up to the challenge. Such was the case for Dwayne. He said “The reason I walked away is because, at the moment, I wasn’t the man that I wanted to be for [my kids] … I put them on a higher pedestal than I put myself. So, at a point, I wasn’t worthy to be in their life because I wasn’t the man that I would want for them.” Because there are so many benefits for father interaction, father’s need to realize that they are never too inadequate to be a father and that they must do all they can to preside, provide, and protect their families in order to give them the best chance to be successful in life. Roland Warren from the National Fatherhood Initiative “notes that men not feeling like the ‘perfect’ dad stems from a gross misunderstanding about the real role of fathers… it’s not just about presents… but presence…”

Conclusion

It is possible to change the foundation of a family, therefore the community and nation one father at a time! Fathers will find that they will also reap some healthy psychosocial outcomes for themselves. It has been shown that psychological and social aspects of sharing parenting are associated with marital happiness, parental competence, and closeness to children. These esteem building benefits strengthen the father, causing him to be a better father, which strengthens the children and it starts over again – a circle of positive progression and happiness for the family. Father’s need to give THEMSELVES back to their families.

Chimane HessChimane Hess is the wife of Allen, mother of Ty, ChariAnn, Kevin, Clayton, Ethan, mother-in-law of Nathan, and grandmother of Allayna. She is currently a student at Brigham Young University-Idaho in the Marriage and Family Studies program. She loves families and knows that they can be successful when all members pull long, strong, and all together.

David PuenteDavid Puente is happily married to Maria. They have been married for two years. He is the son of Mario and Juventina and has three older brothers. He is a student at Brigham Young University-Idaho and is in the Marriage and Family Studies program. He loves spending time with his family.

 

References

Berk, L. (2010) Development Through the Lifespan.

Boys, K. Television and Children. (2010, August). Retrieved from

http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/tv.htm

MCCAIN, J. No time for the family? You are not alone: Parents and children spend less than an

hour with each other every day because of modern demands. (2013, July 14). Retrieved

from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2363193/No-time-family-You-Parents-

children-spend-hour-day-modern-demands.html

Obama, B. (2008, June 15). Obama’s Father’s Day Remarks – Transcript. The New York Times [New York]. Retrieved from http://http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/15/us/politics/15text-obama.html?pagewanted=print&_r=0

OWN. Absent Fathers: An Absentee Dad Explains Why Men Leave Their Children. (2013, May

8). Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/08/absent-fathers-dad-why-men-leave-children_n_3231932.html

Rosenberg, J., Bradford, W. W. The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of

Children. (2006). Retrieved from https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/usermanuals/fatherhood/chaptertwo.cfm

The Family: A Proclamation to the World. (1995, September 23). Retrieved from https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation

Wilson, K, Prior, M. (2010) Father involvement and child well-being. Retrieved from http://web.b.ebscohost.com.byui.idm.oclc.org/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=1a65fdd4-4089-4935-924f-4a6f42199919%40sessionmgr115&vid=2&hid=112

 

 

 

 

Starting with Breakfast

In Child Development, Elder Care, Families, father, motherhood, Parenting, Schools, stay-at-home mom, The Family, Values on September 26, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Danish pancakesMom had a special way of making a task seem less daunting when I was growing up. Her deportment was kindness, shown through soft and encouraging words, through quiet acts of service, and through her genuine belief in our ability to do hard things. Every Saturday was a work day on our small farm. Dad would come down the hall between our bedrooms singing, “It’s nice to get up in the morning,” delighted to have the help of his eight children to weed the gardens, pick up trash, fix fences, water the orchards, prune trees, pick fruit and vegetables, and do many other things that were needed to help sustain our family. But my siblings and I often dreaded the hours of work ahead and longed to read a book or play in the tree house instead. To lighten the load physically, Mom made dozens of delicious Danish pancakes and sliced a huge bowl of fresh fruit for breakfast each Saturday morning, before we went out to work. This delicious breakfast, graciously made by her week after week for hundreds of Saturdays, lifted my spirits and made the work ahead seem less daunting. With a hug and a smile she would send us out the door with full, happy stomachs, often looking forward to her homemade scones filled with tuna and cheese, and others rolled in cinnamon sugar, for lunch. As a mother now, I can hardly fathom all the time she must have spent in preparing all that food and cleaning up after those big meals while we worked.

Mom also lightened my load emotionally. When I came in the house from the bus after a long day at school with many hours of homework ahead, the feeling of reassurance I received from her warm hug, happy greeting, and a thick slice of hot buttered bread was almost tangible. She would regularly stay up late to help me study for a test or give me a back rub, murmuring quiet words of reassurance, as I finished a school paper or project. Her quiet presence had a way of lifting the tension and lightening my burden. Mom’s simple, kind acts of love bound me to her, deepening my sense of security and validation.

Even now as an adult who is facing much larger and challenging events in life, I benefit from Mother’s calm, reassuring presence. As my seven siblings and I recently surrounded Dad’s hospital bed to say goodbye, Mother’s reassurances to Dad that it was OK to move on, that she and all of us would be just fine, gave each of us the peace we would need to move forward in the days and years ahead without his wisdom and guidance. Our lives will always be better because of what she alone could give.

Today’s post and image are contributed by Seeing the Everyday magazine. Kathryn Ward’s story was first published in Seeing the Everyday no. 26. For more information, go to seeingtheeveryday.com.

 

How does a same-sex marriage harm your heterosexual marriage? Here’s how.

In Homosexuality, Parental Rights, Same-Sex Marriage, Sexual Orientation on September 25, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Shattered familyThe happy “same-sex family” is more often than not built upon the back of a destroyed mother/father heterosexual family. 

In the same-sex marriage debate, how often have you heard this snarkily-delivered question:  “Well, how does a same-sex marriage harm your heterosexual marriage?”  With the obvious answer to be:  “Of course, there isn’t any harm…”  But writer Janna Darnelle shows us very clearly the consequences to marriage in her very sobering article entitled:

Breaking the Silence: Redefining Marriage Hurts Women Like Me – and Our Children

By Janna Darnelle

Every time a new state redefines marriage, the news is full of happy stories of gay and lesbian couples and their new families. But behind those big smiles and sunny photographs are other, more painful stories. These are left to secret, dark places. They are suppressed, and those who would tell them are silenced in the name of “marriage equality.”

But I refuse to be silent.

I represent one of those real life stories that are kept in the shadows. I have personally felt the pain and devastation wrought by the propaganda that destroys natural families.

The Divorce

In the fall of 2007, my husband of almost ten years told me that he was gay and that he wanted a divorce. In an instant, the world that I had known and loved—the life we had built together—was shattered.

I tried to convince him to stay, to stick it out and fight to save our marriage. But my voice, my desires, my needs—and those of our two young children—no longer mattered to him. We had become disposable, because he had embraced one tiny word that had become his entire identity. Being gay trumped commitment, vows, responsibility, faith, fatherhood, marriage, friendships, and community. All of this was thrown away for the sake of his new identity.

Try as I might to save our marriage, there was no stopping my husband. Our divorce was not settled in mediation or with lawyers. No, it went all the way to trial. My husband wanted primary custody of our children. His entire case can be summed up in one sentence: “I am gay, and I deserve my rights.” It worked: the judge gave him practically everything he wanted. At one point, he even told my husband, “If you had asked for more, I would have given it to you.”  Read the rest of the article at Public Discourse

 

 

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