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Warren Farrell, Ph.D. (2001). Father and Child Reunion:  How to Bring the Dads We Need to the Children We Love.  Penguin Putnam Inc., New York.

Farrell brings together the importance of Fathers in the lives of their children in separation and divorce through current research studies and anecdotal
information.  He explains why a Dad is crucial, and provides progressive insight into the father and mother instincts, parent abuse, the “Best Interest of a Child”, the current system of divorce, the impact of false allegations and father parenting time on children, the demeaning nature of “visitation”, why fathers aren't involved, child support, the reality of separation and divorce and the political consequences of ignoring fathers.  Farrell provides sufficient support for the following custody preferences:  1) the intact family; 2) shared parent-time (joint physical custody); 3) primary father time; 4) primary mother time.

Excerpts:

The moment we see our dads more positively, we have a more positive view of our own worthiness of their love and attention, and we begin to alter our view as to how we want dads to fit into the family…

The “right” for which fathers'-rights groups are fighting is the right to more responsibility for children.

Almost every criticism hides a compliment dying to be found.

When divorce occurs, men's biggest fear is emotional insecurity; women's is economic security.

…being a good mother also means doing everything possible to include the father.

And divorce increases his risk of suicide even more, to ten times greater than a divorced woman's.

A mother who has a true motherhood instinct will be fighting for the father to be involved as if her children's lives depended on it.

“the amount of time a father spends with a child is one of the strongest predictors of empathy in adulthood.

For example, even when race, education, poverty, and similar socioeconomic factors are equal, and regardless of which survey was looked at, living without Dad doubled a child's chance of dropping our of high school.

A recent U.S. Department of Education study finds that, “In two-parent families, fathers' involvement, but not mothers' involvement, is associated with an increased likelihood that children in the 1st through 5th grades get mostly “A's”.

…the most important factor by far in preventing drug use is a close relationship with Dad.

Daughters who live with only their mothers are 92 percent more likely to divorce than daughters of two-parent families.

Seventy-three percent of adolescent murderers come from mother-only homes.

Overall, 65 percent of juvenile prisoners were brought up without dads.

Divorce's biggest disaster, from the child's perspective, is loss of contact with a parent.

Children in a shared parent time arrangement were found to have higher self-esteem, (especially girls), be less excitable and be less impatient than children in arrangements with one parent having sole parent time.

Shared parent time resulted in less sibling rivalry and fewer negative attitudes toward the parents even within the first few months after separation.

Few people know that children do better with dads.

Recent research finds, though, that even when the father and mother had equal income, the children who were with their dad full-time did better than those with their moms full-time.

Nearly half the children now with their dads full-time initially lived with their moms.

A study reported in the Journal of Social issues found that boys who live with their fathers after divorce (tend) to be warmer, have a higher degree of self-esteem, be more mature, and be more independent than boys who live with their mothers after divorce.

Frequent headaches and stomachaches are two to three times more common among younger children living with only their moms (than with only their dads).

When children live with only their moms, the parents are nine times as likely to have conflict as when children live with their dads.

Moms are almost five times as likely to badmouth dads as dads are moms.

…both boys and girls do better with their dads.  At all ages.  Even when the dad has no advantage in income.

…for a school-age daughter, this “doing everyday-type things together with the parent she is not living with is the only predictor of psychological well-being.

The Danish study finding that children living with their dads are less likely to manifest the seven “victim characteristics”…has enormous implications for reconciling that underlying tension between the sexes.

Children who live with their dads are likely to have more contact with their moms and feel better about their moms than vice-versa.  Put another way, children who live with their dads are more likely to have, in effect, two parents.

These forms of play (roughhousing) seem to improve child development in three major areas: the management of emotions, the development of intelligence, and academic achievement.

On another level, mothers are much more likely than fathers to neglect their children, physically abuse them, and kill them.

When fathers are not with their children, is it because they don't care?  Rarely.

Children are more than twice as likely to be victims of neglect by their mothers than by their fathers.

A father who has bonded with a child during the first year - especially in early infancy - almost never abuses that child, or even passively allows others to do so.

Fathers' style of play make fathers especially vulnerable to false accusations of sexual abuse.

The presumption of perversion drives men away from children at exactly that point in history when men are rediscovering children.

By starving our children of men, we have made them more vulnerable to the very abuse we are trying to prevent.

The decision to keep the child with the mother is theoretically made in the best interests of the child; however, when children were surveyed later in life, fewer than half felt their mother's motives had anything to do with their best interests.

Research by Drs. Judith Wallerstein and Joan Berlin Kelly revealed that approximately 50 percent of mothers either saw no value in the father's contact with his children and actively tried to sabotage it, or resented the father's contact.

We saw above that when mothers have primary or sole parent time with the children, the relationship between the father and child deteriorates, and one reason for that is perhaps the badmouthing of the dad.

The message to men is clear: “You are your children's visitor.” And then we wonder why men don't participate equally in childcare.

…a child's best interests are served only when everyone's interests are considered.

Training men to love is a nation's best investment.

Both parents' rights must be in balance so children can grow up with a balance between both parents.

If we expect men to be psychologically involved, we need to give men equal psychological time.  If we expect men to be legally responsible, then close-to-equal time needs to be a legal right.

If we want men to be less self-centered and more nurturing, we can start by getting them more involved-from the start.  Equal parenting begins with equal parenting.  Equal parenting will not begin, though, if men know that the investment of their heart will be treated with contempt by the law…

Sometimes a dad's sense of powerlessness makes him withdraw.  We call him a deadbeat.  It's usually more accurate to call him deadened.

Dad-Time Catch-22: If he cares enough about his children to fight for them legally, he cares enough not to want to put them through a legal battle.

But in practice, the children need both parents, and the children's needs should not be legislated away for a woman's preference.

Wives initiate divorce twice as often as husbands.

In states that adopt shared parenting time, divorce rates drop within a few years.

How can we ask men to be more involved with children when we put them in prison, deprive them of equal access, and require them to pay more?

In brief, when a man fails as a wallet, we put him in prison; when a woman fails as a mother, we offer her social services.

When a parent denies a child its “parent time.” That parent is denying the child its child support-its psychological child support.

After a divorce, men's biggest fear is, typically, losing their children (women's is poverty).

But when the woman's right to move away means that the father and children will become strangers, then the woman's right is no more a unilateral right that is the children's or the father's right to each other's love.

…only 1.5 out of 1,000 child-abuse investigations end up being a substantiated case of sexual abuse by the natural father.

Allegations of sexual abuse are most likely to be false during disputes over parent time.

If neither the mother nor the court is educated to the male contributions and the father is unable to articulate it, fatherhood evolves into imitation motherhood.

We cannot think of dads as being nurturing if we think of men as being self-serving.

Thus, a quarter century's worth of studies showing domestic violence against men to be more than equal to domestic violence against women receive so little publicity as to barely make a dent on the public's consciousness.

Shared parent time introduces the child to a century of options and the plurality of life; and to the understanding that while divorce produces change and instability, it also produces the ability to make changes and develop inner resources in times of instability; that the twenty-first century is marked by flexibility, not decisions made as a child that are written in stone for life; that parents can divorce and parents can be good and loving…

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