9 Things Saying Sorry To Your Children Teaches Them

9 Things Saying Sorry To Your Children Teaches Them

Even kids understand this. How many of us have told our kids to go apologize? What normally is their reaction?  They look down, speak softly, put their hand in their mouth, or, if they are like my boy, just says sorry really fast and proceeds kicking the ball, while the child he hurt is still lying on the ground crying.

For good parents, this is where we step in. We tell them to look up, speak louder, take their hands out of their month, and at lest attempt to mean it. We do this because we understand as parents that cultivating character in our children is important.

This type of training is important but has limits. What is also needed is for them to see humility and remorse in those that they look up to—i.e., you.

That’s right. If you want your children to learn how to say sorry and really mean it, then you are going to have to model it for them. And one of the ways to model humility and remorse is by you saying sorry to them when you’ve wronged them.

Here are 9 things your children learn when you say sorry:

1) That adults make mistakes

2) There is a standard of morality above adults (you are also held accountable)

3) Teaches them to own up to their faults

4) Teaches them the way to say sorry

5) Teach them that authority can’t do whatever they please—i.e., might doesn’t equal right

6) Models humility to them

7) Teaches them not to cover up their wrong doings

8) Teaches them to not be stubborn when wrong

9) Teaches them how to forgive

So here’s the question that you need to ask yourself: when is the last time you apologized to your kids? And by the way, buying or spoiling your kids after you do something wrong is not an apology. You’re just teaching your children they can be bought. Saying you’re sorry is an apology. It’s fine to take your children out for ice cream, but first say your sorry and reconcile with them. Then ice cream is a joy you both can partake in.

It doesn’t matter the age either. Saying sorry to a teenager teaches him or her that adults are not necessarily hypocrites.

Did you yell when you didn’t have too? Apologize.

Where you too harsh? Apologize.

Where you lazy today and ignored your kids? Apologize.

Did you not follow through with a promise? Apologize.

We all want our kids to be humble and empathic to others. Start modeling this behavior yourself.

9 Things Saying Sorry To Your Children Teaches Them

Sex Robots: The Sexual Revolution’s Disaster-Piece

But, I think I might have been slightly wrong. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not down playing any of the above mentioned ‘colors,’ but I think we are headed for some troubling times—and this is certainly not to be apocalyptic.

I think this because HuffingtonPost, Fox News, and News.com are all reporting that some experts are now saying by 2050 ‘sex robots will revolutionize sex tourism.’ One export said ‘robots would become so human-like in appearance, function and personality that many people would fall in love with them, have sex with them, and even marry them.’

That’s right; you heard it. Personal sex robots are on their way to a local market near you. Maybe, if technology advances the way it is, we will only have to wait until 2015!

I can already see the advertisements:

Not satisfied with your current sex life? Don’t worry about it; soon you can buy or even ‘rent’ a new ‘lover.’ Are you sick of having pillow talk? Don’t worry about it; soon you can program your ‘lover’ to say or NOT say what you want. Worried about having a baby? Don’t worry about it; soon your lifeless ‘lover’ will be unable to procreate.  Worried about catching a STD? Don’t worry about it; soon your ‘spouse’ will be sanitizable. As one expert says, “all androids are made of bacteria-resistant fiber … guaranteeing no sexually transmitted diseases are transferred between consumers.’ Are you worried that people will think you are a nerd? Don’t worry about it; soon Cosmo’s front cover will read ‘had sex with a robot and it was great!’ If Cosmo says so, having sex with a robot has to be cool.

Worried? Don’t be; the experts say that ‘the lifelike sex robots would offer people a guilt-free sexual experience.’ Finally, guilt free sex! But that’s not all folks. Even better, you can have sex with a robot programed to ‘like you’ and have a ‘similar personality’ as you, which the experts say is essential for marriage.

Can I just say it?

WHAT IS WRONG WITH US?

Have we become so corrupt that we can’t see the insanity here? Good is evil and the evil is good. We have taken a personal-affirming, life-giving act between a husband and wife and thrown it into the gutter. I am sorry my friends, but this is just perversion at its height—the finial stroke on the Sexual Revolution’s canvas.

Now you might be has grossed out by this as I am (I am not even enjoying writing this). But don’t fool yourself because you might have already unknowingly accepted the premise/s justifying the existence of sex robots.

You see, when asked about what is driving the demand, some experts say, ‘concern over human trafficking, sexual transmitted diseases, beauty and physical perfection, pleasure from sex toys, emotional connection to robots, and the importance of sex . . . are all driving forces.’

Now, let’s do a few thought experiments to see where you are.

Do you find yourself fantasizing and wishing your spouse could be more beautiful? If yes, are you willing to (or wish you could or idolize those who can) spend loads of money on plastic surgery to insure your spouse looks like a plastic doll? Oh no, here they come.

Do you find yourself preferring a sex toy to your spouse? Are you always needing some new sex toy to spice up your sex life? Why not add another one?

Are you attached to your sex toys such that ‘you can’t live without them,’ as one woman I read said? Well, a robotic man will ‘always be there for you.’ Right?

Is sex just sex to you? Is it just some physical stimulation to distract you? Do you really see no meaning underlining the act? Is orgasm so important to you that you’re willing to self-masturbate yourself to sleep?  Why not a sex robot? You can program it to sing you a lullaby: ‘Hush little man-child (women-child) you’re not a pervert . . . ‘

Do you think a moral way to solve the humanitarian concern over human trafficking and sexual transmitted diseases is to give perverts a sex robot? I know, this seems insane, but I have to ask it. One only needs to read Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Case Against Kids‘ to see how horribly  pragmatic we have become as a culture. The temptation for many of us is to allow some evil that good may come about. We all want human trafficking and sexual transmitted diseases to forever go away. But a good end can never justify a evil means.  If you are tempted to think like this, then you have already implicitly accepted the validity of the sex robot existence–even if you find the idea repulsive.

Don’t you see it my friends? Many of you have already accepted the existence of a sex robot without even knowing it. Your desires speak loader than words.

If you want a great sex life with your husband or wife get this CRAP out of your marriage bed. Sex is about a husband and wife truly giving themselves to another. A fundamental aspect of our existence is that we are wired to give ourselves as gifts. That is why it is better to give than to receive. You can’t give yourself to a robot; no matter how great the programming is.

Self-absorption is never satisfying. The more you focus on yourself and what you can get, the more frustrated you will become.  It always has and always will.

So, do you want some advice on how to ‘spice up’ your sex life with your married spouse? Stop using your spouse to self-masturbate and focus on loving him/her. Focus on serving him/her. Focus on just being with him/her. He is your husband; she is your wife.

Orgasm is not the end; it’s just the fruit.

For you, the end is your spouse; for your spouse, the end is you. Such a communion of persons results in a beautiful expression of life: a child–our culture’s hidden art piece.

The Sexual Revolution told you sex is all about you. And now it can be all about you—you and your programed robot. Such a combination can only result in a hideous expression of death: a narcissistic-self– our culture’s visible disaster-piece.

9 Things Saying Sorry To Your Children Teaches Them

How To Make Change Last For Good

Ready to be a better husband; ready to be a better wife; ready to be a better person. You feel great, confident, and hopeful for the future. Nothing is going to get in your way now. Right?

Not likely.

Here’s the problem.

These positive emotions will soon dissipate, the motivation will fade, sluggishness will want to settle in again, and before you know it, you are right back in the darkness you came from. So, what will you do? You will buy another book, find a different blog site, and listen to a different therapist. Perhaps they will have the answer?  And on and on this pattern will go.

Is there any hope? Yes. The hope lies in you slowing down and understanding how personal growth and how a good marriage develops. Your character and your marriage are not going to change overnight, for character and a good marriage is like a good ale, it needs time to brew.

So, here is the first thing you need to understand about personal and marital growth: Expect down times soon and have a plan to combat it.

I’ve seen and experienced this a hundred times.  Why do the majority of people fail in fulfilling their New Year resolutions? They start off so gung ho and within a week or a month they have failed. The answer is many of them did not push past the first down time. They get slothful and make excuses why they can’t fulfill their resolutions: ‘I’ve been good, so I desire this’ is the line often heard or said.  But if you expect down time and have a plan to combat it, then you are more likely to push past it and on your way to a more fulfilling life and marriage.

This notion of ‘having a plan’ is key to winning in your personal and marriage life. Basically, the idea is all change is easy when you’re motivated and energized; it is difficult every other time. Since you will never see lasting changes in your personal life and your marriage until the changes you want to make are good and settled, it is an imperative you push past these downward times.  This is where the plan comes into play, for the plan will give you the way and the incentives to keep moving forward.

Here is an example to explain what the plan is and how it is used:

I really desired to become a more disciplined man. I tired and tried with all my heart to wake up and 6 AM with no avail. I would be able to do it for a few days, but on those mornings I was supper tired, nothing could get me out of bed, or so I thought. Dedicated to change and in a time of desperation, I called a dear friend of mine up and said, ‘If I don’t wake up 4 days of the week at 6 AM, then I owe you $50.’

Guess what, it worked. The days would come when I was supper tired, but the idea of paying $50 for an few more hours of sleep seemed crazy to me, so I got up.

One week went by and then another. Weeks turned in to a months. I was so excited that I started coming up with new challenges for myself. I’ve never been able to workout before, so I called up my friend and said, ‘If I don’t work out 3 days of the week, then I owe you $50.’ Guess what, I’ve worked out more in my life. I don’t always want to, but I have a plan for those days. I’ve even combined the two together, so when I wake up, I go and work out. To birds with one stone kind of thing.

Now you don’t have to do what I did, but you need a plan that has a good incentive built into it. If you find yourself breaking your plan too much, then up the anti a bit.

The second thing you need to understand about personal and marital growth is: in those down times, you need to get even more radical. That’s right. The best way to defeat a lacking motivation is by facing it head on. Don’t sit and wait for the ‘feelings’ to go way (they normally don’t). Change the feelings by doing the opposite of what those feelings are telling you to do. Remember, you want a better life and marriage. This is going to take time and effort. Now is not the time for timidity. Take courage and push yourself.

Here is what I mean. I resolved the other week to be more industrious. This means I did not want to waste any time in useless tasks that neither benefits my family, neighbor, or myself. (Now don’t miss understand me, one of those tasks is to take a day of rest and enjoy a pint with a friend. So I am not trying to become a work alcoholic).  Being a rather slothful man, I knew this was going to be tough.

The day came when I was not motivated at all. Mindlessly suffering the Internet sounded lovely, but I remember my resolution. I jumped out of my chair and ran down into the garage and began to organize my toolbox. This was hard (not physically but psychologically) and not fun at all, but I pushed myself to finish it. Still feeling the laziness inside me, I set myself on a new task, I started organizing and cleaning the whole garage. The next thing I know the whole thing was clean, organized, and my wife is beaming with delight. Feeling confident and now motivated, I immediately went upstairs and started cleaning the kitchen and putting the laundry away. My wife said, ‘Wow, what has gotten into you,’ to which I replied, ‘I don’t want to suck anymore.’ She was quite pleased.

That is how you do it.

The third thing you need to understand about personal and marital growth is: slow and steady wins the race. Remember the story of The Tortoise and the Hare?  The basic moral of the story is keep chugging alone no matter how slow it seems you are going. You might see others improve really fast, but don’t be deceived they might be the hare. In your marriage, allow time for each of you to grow.

My wife has waited many years for me to finally be motivated to be a ‘clean gentlemen.’ I have never liked showers, I grow a beard because I hate shaving, and I have always dressed like a baboon. But slowly, over time, my own moral principles convicted me that I need to be a proper gentleman and care about how I smell, look, and appear to her. I have always known what she likes, but I have always struggled to put that into practice. But slowly over time, the character trait of ‘cleanliness’ brewed in my soul.

I first began to not wear such baggy cloths, and then I left behind my ‘skater shoes’ and started wearing dress shoes. I slowly started replacing old T-shirts with collared shirts and picked up few nice sweaters. Now I am trying to integrate dress pants, ties, and sports jackets into my daily dressing for fun and as money presents itself, which is not often. Furthermore, my wife (not to mention my mother) is happy to see that I am keeping up with daily hygiene.

Slowly I changed, but it took many years. My wife was patient though. Not wanting a hare experience, she would rather me slowly change for good, then change for a month.

In the end, you might not need another book or read another blog. What you need is to keep pushing forward. I could give many more suggestions on how to keep moving forward, but this will suffice for now. Make a plan, push past those down times by getting radical, and always remember slow and steady will win the race.

9 Things Saying Sorry To Your Children Teaches Them

Gentlemen: Improve Your Marriage By Improving Yourself

Has it every occurred to any of you that what is extremely beneficial for your marriage is your desire for self-improvement?

Gentlemen, can your wife come home and feel truly blessed because she knows deep within your heart that you are striving to be the best husband, father, employer/employee, and citizen you can be? Does she see you take on new tasks to better yourself? Has she ever seen you challenge the way you think about an issue because the opposite view might be more rational?  Has she ever seen you actual complete a goal you set?

Gentlemen, does she feel like a lady around you or a tramp? Does she feel served and revered by you? Can she truly say it is an honor to be your wife? Can she boast to all her friends about how awesome you are? Can she boast that she came home the other day to a clean and well-ordered house? Can she boast that she never feels like a sexual object but always as a person who is deeply loved? Can she boast that you are always the first to get up in the night when the kids are crying? Can she look you in the eye and say, ‘I am a better person because I married you’?

If not, why? What is holding you back?

Gentlemen, how have you challenged yourself lately? What negative character traits are you trying to rid yourself of? What new character quality/ies are you undertaking? What new talents are you trying to cultivate?

Don’t you realize that your wife longs to see you improve? Don’t you realize your wife longs to boast about you? Don’t you realize that as your personal qualities are perfected the relationships around you improve? Why has this not occurred to you?

Stop complaining and get to work. Stop making excuses. Stop blaming your dad for all your personality blunders. No one likes a whiner—especially your wife.

Improve, Improve, Improve!

This should be your mantra.

Do you think you are a loving man?  Find ways to love even more. Do you think you are generous?  Find ways to give more. Do you think you are a good lover?  Strive to become even more selfless.

Give, Give, Give!

This should be your mentality.

Don’t you realize that your wife grows tired of pandering to all your vices? Don’t you realize that your wife longs to be seen as a rare jewel?

Don’t let the feminist culture deceive you, most women still long to see their men practice chivalry. I don’t imagine the majority of the audience watching Prince William and Miss Catherine getting married at 4 A.M. were men. The dream is still out there: many women still want to be swept of their feet by a prince. Be that prince (I don’t care how cheesy that sounds—its true).

Man up and learn some manors. Open the door for your lady, take her on a date, and buy her that new dress or item she has been eyeing for months. Stop staring at her breast and butt and look her in the face. Stop taking your sexual fantasies out on her by imposing embarrassing requests on her.  Make her your fantasy.

Stop being lazy and learn how to clean a bathroom. Stop making your wife do all the house work. Go workout and look fit for your wife. Eat better and stop drinking so much. Life is not that bad. Learn to control yourself.

Put the computer down and go hangout with your kids. They want to be with you. Teach your son how to be a man. Take your daughter on a date and teach her what a true gentlemen is. Be such a good father that she has a difficult time finding a man to marry. Stop putting this off; soon they will be gone and you will have missed your opportunity. No excuses!

Gentlemen, it is time to be a man. It is time you think about whatever is noble, true, and beautiful. Stop letting your mind run in the gutter. Put off moral filth and the lust of the eye. Learn to control your sexual passion so you can truly give yourself to your spouse. There is nothing like sex when your desire is to completely give yourself to her and not to merely get rid of sexual tension. The latter reduces your wife to an object and a stripper; the former elevates her to the most cherished person on the earth. Let your bedroom than be the Prince’s chamber where your wife feels like a Princess and not a mistress.

Gentlemen, it is time to raise your wife’s expectations of what a husband should be. Make sure, that if you died, she would have to marry a saint to feel like she is truly loved.

9 Things Saying Sorry To Your Children Teaches Them

Effects of Fatherless Children

Living Arrangements For Children 18 Years And Younger From 1960-2010:

  • In 1960, 87.7% of children lived with two parents as opposed to 9.1% only living with only one parent and 3.2% living with relatives (2010 U.S. Census Bureau. Living Arrangements of Children Under 18 Years Old: 1960 to Present; Father Facts, 2011).
  • In 1980, 76.7% of children lived with two parents as opposed to 19.7% only living with only one parent and 3.7% living with relatives (Ibid).
  • In 1990, 72.5% of children lived with two parents as opposed to 24.7% only living with only one parent and 3.1% living with relatives (Ibid).
  • In 2000, 69.1% of children lived with two parents as opposed to 26.7% only living with only one parent and 4.2% living with relatives (Ibid).
  • In 2010, 69.4% of children lived with two parents as opposed to 26.6% only living with only one parent and 4.1% living with relatives (Ibid).
  • In 2010, more children were raised by other relatives (4.1%) than their fathers alone (3.4%) (Ibid)
  • In 2010, 33% of children lived in biological father-absent homes (2010 U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey; Father Facts).
  • 1/3 of Children are expected to live with a non-biological parent before they reach the age of 18 (Fragile Families Research Brief No.46; Father Facts).
  • In 1960, children living only with their mothers, who were never married, was 4.3%, by 1980 it was 15.3%, by 1990 it was 31.5%, by 2000 it was 40.8%, and by 2010 it was 43.6% (2010 US Census Bureau. “Children Under 18 Living with Mother Only, By Marital Status of Mother, 1960 to Present”; Father Facts).
  • In 1960, children living only with their mothers because of divorce was 23.7%, by 1980 it was 41.8%, by 1990 it was 36.9%, by 2000 it was 35.0%, and by 2010 it was 30.8%% (2010 US Census Bureau. “Children Under 18 Living with Mother Only, By Marital Status of Mother, 1960 to Present”; Father Facts).
  • In 1960, 90.9% of white children lived with both parents and 7.1 lived with one parent, by 1990 it was 79.0% with two and 19.2% with one, and by 2010 it was 74.9% with two and 21.8% with one (2010 U.S. Census Bureau. “Living Arrangements of White Children Under 18 Years Old: 1960 to Present”; Father Facts)
  • In 1960, 67.0 of Black children lived with both parents and 21.9 lived with on parent, by 1990 it was 37.7% with two and 54.8% with one, and by 2010 it was 40.8% with two and 51.9% with only one (2010 U.S. Census Bureau. “Living Arrangements of Black Children Under 18 Years Old: 1960 to Present”; Father Facts).

The Consequences of Father Absence For Children

Child Abuse

  • The absence of a biological father contributes to an increase in childhood sexual abuse (Blankenhorn, 1995; Popenoe, 2009; Fragile Families Research Brief No.46; Father Facts).
  • 20% of adult women and 5-10% of adult men have experienced sexual abuse at some time during their childhood (Popenoe).
  • The chances of a daughter being sexually abused by her stepfather are at least seven times higher than by her biological father (Popenoe).
  • In cases of child sexual abuse, when the perpetrator is known, ¼ are cohabiting parents (i.e., boyfriends) (Blankenhorn).
  • In reported cases of nonparental child abuse, ½ are boyfriends (Blankenhorn).
  • About 84% of nonparental child sexual abuse happens in single-parent homes (Blankenhorn).
  • Physical abuse is twice as common as sexual abuse (Popenoe).
  • Mothers are more likely to physically abuse their own children when their partners are stepfathers to the children (Alexandre, Nadanovsky, Moraes, & Reichenheim, 2010; Father Facts).
  • Single mothers have a 71% greater rate of ‘very severe violence’ toward their children than did dual-parent mothers (Popenoe).
  • Single Fathers tend to abuse even more than single mothers (Popenoe).
  • Mother plus stepfather had twice the risk of child abuse than households with two biological parents (Alexandre, Nadanovsky, Moraes, & Reichenheim; Father Facts).
  • Children are far more likely to be physically abused by their stepfather than by their natural father (Popenoe)
  • In 1993, stepparents were 40 times more likely to abuse than children living with two biological parents (Popenoe).
  • Mothers married to the father of their children are at a lower risk for maternal physical abuse (Guterman, Yookyong, Lee, Waldfogel, & Rathouz, 2009; Father Facts).
  • Children with a single parent with a live-in partner have 8 times the rate for maltreatment, 10 times the rate of abuse, and 6 times the rate for neglect (2010 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau; Father Facts)
  • 64% of nonparental abuse is committed by mother’s boyfriends (Popenoe).

Crime

  • Since the 1960, the crime has risen 550%, while the population has grown 41% (Popenoe).
  • Arrest for murders committed by juveniles has gone up by 128% from 1983-1992 (Popenoe).
  • Youth delinquency is 10-15% higher in fatherless homes than intact homes (Popenoe).
  • 90% of adolescents and pre-adolescents in gangs come from single-parent families (Jeynes, 2011).
  • Children raised in fatherless homes have a greater probability to be rapists, murderers, and abuse women and their own children than children raised intact families (Jeynes).
  • 60% of American rapists come from fatherless homes (Popenoe).
  • 72% of adolescent murderers come from fatherless homes (Popenoe).
  • 70% long-term prison inmates come from fatherless homes (Popenoe).
  • Teen violence increases as the number of fathers in a neighborhood decreases (Knoester and Hayne, 2005; Father Facts).
  • There is an increase likelihood for drug and alcohol abuse among children (particularly boys) where the father is absent (Patock-Peckham, Morgan-Lopez, 2007; Mandara and Murray, 2006; Father Facts).

Social Functioning

  • Children raised in fatherless homes have a greater probability to drop out of school (Jeynes).
  • Children raised in fatherless homes have a great probability to be unemployed for longer periods of time (Jeynes).
  • Children raised in fatherless homes have a greater probability to be homeless (Jeynes).
  • There is increase likelihood for depression/withdrawal, antisocial behavior, impulsive/hyperactive behavior, and school behavior problems when a child experiences family transitions (Popenoe).
  • Among all the family processes, the only factor that decreases the odds of engaging in sexual activity is a father’s involvement with his children (Jordahl, & Lohman, 2009; Father Facts).
  • Girls raised without a father have a great proclivity for early sexual activity, adolescent childbearing, divorce, and lack of sexual confidence and orgasmic satisfaction (Blankenhorn).
  • There is a decrease in deviant behavior the longer the father is involved with his children from birth (Antecol, & Bedard, 2007; Father Facts).
  • From 1970-1996 there was a 5% increase in child poverty, which can nearly all be attributed to the rise of single-parent families (Sawhill, 2006; Father Facts; Blankenhorn).

Sources:

Alexandre, G.C., Nadanovsky, P., Moraes, C.L., & Reichenheim, M. (2010). The presence of a stepfather and child physical abuse, as reported by a sample of Brazilian mothers in Rio de Janeiro. Child Abuse & Neglect, 34, 959–966.

Antecol, H., & Bedard, K. (2007). ‘Does single parenthood increase the probability of teenage promiscuity, substance use, and crime?’ Journal of Popular Economics, 20, 55-71.

Blankenhorn, D. (1995). Fatherless America : confronting our most urgent social problem. New York, BasicBooks.

“CPS Involvement in families with social fathers.” Fragile Families Research Brief No.46. Princeton, NJ and New York, NY: Bendheim- Thomas Center for Research on Child Wellbeing and Social Indicators Survey Center, 2010.

Father Facts, 6th edition, 2011.

Guterman, N.B., Yookyong, L., Lee, S. J., Waldfogel, J., & Rathouz, P. J. (2009). Fathers and maternal risk for physical child abuse. Child Maltreatment, 14, 277-290.

Knoester, C., & Hayne, D. A. (2005). Community context, social integration into family, and youth violence. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67, 767-780.

Mandara, J., & Murray, C. B. (2006). Father’s absence and African American adolescent drug use. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 46, 1-12.

Patock-Peckham, J. A., & Morgan-Lopez, A. A. (2007). College drinking behaviors: Mediational links between parenting styles, parental bonds, depression, and alcohol problems. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 21, 297–306.

Popenoe, D. (2009). Families without fathers : fathers, marriage and children in American society. New Brunswick, N.J., Transaction Publishers.

Sawhill, I.V. (2006). Teenage sex, pregnancy, and nonmaritial birth. Gender Issues, 23, 48-59.

U.S. Census Bureau. “Living Arrangements of Children Under 18 Years Old: 1960 to Present.” Table CH-1. Internet Release Date November, 2010. http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/hh-fam/ch5.xls

U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, “Living Arrangements of Children Under 18 Years/1 and Marital Status of Parents, by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin/2 and Selected Characteristics of the Child for All Children: 2010”. Table C3. Internet Release Date November, 2010. https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/visualizations/time-series/demo/families-and-households/ch-1.pdf

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2010). Child Maltreatment 2009. Available from: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/ stats_research/index.htm#can

US Census Bureau. “Children Under 18 Living with Mother Only, By Marital Status of Mother, 1960 to Present” Table CH-5. Internet Release Date November, 2010. https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/visualizations/time-series/demo/families-and-households/ch-5.pdf

U.S. Census Bureau. “Living Arrangements of White Children Under 18 Years Old: 1960 to Present.” Table CH-2. Internet Release Date November, 2010. https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/visualizations/time-series/demo/families-and-households/ch-2-3-4.pdf

U.S. Census Bureau. “Living Arrangements of Black Children Under 18 Years Old: 1960 to Present.” Table CH-3. Internet Release Date November, 2010. https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/demo/tables/families/time-series/children/ch3.xls

William Jeynes. ‘The Two-Biological-Parent Family and Economic Prosperity: What’s Gone Wrong,’ The Public Discourse, July 20, 2011 https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2011/07/3532/

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Brandon Wall is a Counselor in Cedar Rapids, Iowa: http://www.cedarrapidscounselingcenter.com/

9 Things Saying Sorry To Your Children Teaches Them

Families Without Fathers

Since many of you are coming to this website because your marriage is needing some readjusting or because you are thinking your marriage is heading for the chopping block, we thought it pertinent to remind all of you how important fathers are to their children.  To do this, we thought it best to review David Popenoe’s book Families Without Fathers.

The main thesis of this book ‘is that as marriage declines, fatherhood will inevitably weaken and children will be hurt . . .’ (p.vii).  While many of us are used to the notion of children being raised without a father, it was not always so. As Popenoe, writes, ‘the decline of fatherhood is one of the most basic, unexpected, and extraordinary social trends of our time” (p.2). Consider the percentage of children living apart from their biological fathers from 1960 to 1990 went from 17% to 36%. As such, Popenoe wants to show through this book that a father’s absence ‘is a major force lying behind many of the attention-grabbing issues that dominate the news: crime and delinquency; premature sexuality and out-of-wedlock teen births; deteriorating educational achievement; depression, substance abuse, and alienation among teenagers; and the growing number of women and children in poverty’ (p.3).  If this is true, is it any wonder that ‘some experts have suggested . . . that the current generation of children and youth is the first in our nation’s history to be less well-off—psychological, socially, economically, and morally—than their parents were at the same age’ (p. 2)?  Popenoe’s book not only aims to prove this, but also gives suggestions on how to reverse the effects of fatherlessness.

Surprisingly, this book in not just filled with statistic about how children without fathers are deprived (though there is plenty of this), for Popenoe wishes to go deeper by addressing key cultural assumptions and objections about fatherhood, family structure, and marriage as a whole. On of the major assumption and objection that he addresses is the popular notion that fatherhood is merely a social construction that any women can do. In other words, to women that think they can raise their children on their own, Popenoe wants to say, first, not without serious difficulty, and, secondly, not really.

Certainly, a growing number of mother’s have the ability to provide financially, and most mothers give emotionally to her children. However, the biological father brings a different emotional, psychological, and biological element to the children’s needs that women just can’t give very well, if at all.  Popenoe argues, then, that there is something fundamentally inherent in the biology of a man that predisposes him to be the best fit to care and educate (both intellectual and morally) for his own children when he is within a married state. That is to say, a married man is the best father.

In an age that promotes sexual equality, some of you might want a few examples of what men bring that women don’t bring without difficulty or at all.  While Popenoe dedicates all of chapter five to this question, we will just provided a few examples. The obvious is a role model. As Popenoe writes, ‘sons learn from their fathers about male responsibility and achievement, about how to be suitably assertive and independent, and how to relate acceptably to the opposite sex’ (p. 142).  The father helps the boy make the shift from boyhood to manhood by assisting him in ‘braking away from the comforting female arena of their mothers’ (p. 142). Also, fathers are essential in curbing teenage boys behavior and aggression (p. 142). Likewise, girls learn how to relate to other men. They learn that some men can be trusted and are not always seeking sexual gain. It is well documented that girls without fathers tend to experiment with sexual behavior and have more out of wedlocked children than girls with an in-homed father.

Another example is children thrive with the different parenting styles that each mother and father brings.  A counterintuitive example is play. The father tends to emphasize play more than care-taking (p. 143). More often than not, the father’s play is physically stimulating and exciting.  It turns out that this sort of play is essential for children (both boys and girls) to learn self-control. They learn not to bite, hit, or scratch. ‘Children learn critical lessons about how to recognize and deal with highly charged emotions in the context of playing with their fathers. Fathers, in effect, give children practice in regulating their own emotions and recognizing other’s emotional clues’  (p. 144).

For more examples, you’ll have to buy and read the book.

The book is divided into four parts with seven total chapters.  Part one (chapters 1 and 2) deals with fatherlessness and its effects.  Chapter one reports the decline of fatherhood in America with chapter two giving the ‘carnage of fatherlessness.’  These two chapters have the heaviest statistical feel.  I personally found these two chapter the most depressing. These two chapters will be of most people’s interest.

The second part (chapters 3 and 4) ‘looks back at fatherhood, marriage, and family life in American history’ (p. 15).  Its main focus is the rise and fall of the modern nuclear family. By far this was the most interesting part of the book for me.  I love reading about the history of the family and how our cultural understanding plays into shaping our opinions about how the world should work.  There are several important facts that Popenoe brings out in these two chapters, but two of the most salient are the decline of the father in the house due to becoming the primary bread winner and with such a decline the father’s role of the primary discipliner and education shifted to the mothers role.  This section will interest mostly historians, specialist, people who enjoy cultural studies, and social philosophers and theologians. Yet, I do recommend all to read it.

The third part (chapters 5 and 6) deals with why fathers matter. Basically, ‘the social science evidence is analyzed to find out what fathers actually do that makes them so important and how they differ from mothers’ (p. 15).  Chapter five just radials what Popenoe believes the evidence suggest. In chapter six he uses evolutionary psychology to explain why men have these character traits. The basic point of chapter six is to show that fatherhood is not merely a social construction but somewhat essential to manhood. I for one think one can show this without appealing to evolutionary psychology, but that debate is for another day.  I strongly recommend chapter five to all readers and chapter six to specialist and philosophers.

Part four (chapter 7) ‘summarizes the main thinking of the book and deals with how fatherhood and marriage can be reclaimed’ (p. 15).  After several pages of summarizing the book, Popenoe shifts to listing five key social propositions and two action implications that need to be embraced if fatherhood is going to thrive again.

The first proposition is that ‘fathers have a unique and irreplaceable role to play in child development’ (p. 197). The second proposition is that ‘children need a committed male and female couple to provide them with dependable and enduring love and attention . . .’ (p. 197). The third proposition is that for men, marriage and parenthood are strongly interlinked’ (p. 198).  In other words, without marriage, men have a hard time staying involved with their children. The fourth proposition is children need to feel recognized and accepted by their fathers; they need to feel that they are special’ (p. 198).  The fifth proposition is that biological fathers are more likely to be committed to the upbringing of their own children than are nonbiological fathers.

The first actions implication is ‘marriage must be reestablished as a strong social institution.”  To achieve this Popenoe summarizes the suggestions of ‘The Council of Families in America’ document entitled, Marriage in America: A Report to the Nations. The document gives suggestions to employers, religious leaders, organizations, social-worker, health-care and other human service professionals, marriage counselors, family therapist, family-life educators, pregnancy health-care providers, teachers, principals, leaders in education, family scholars, entertainment industry, print and broadcast media journalists and editors, civic leaders and community organizers as to how to foster a society strong on marriage.

The second action implication is ‘redefining the father’s role’ (p.209). Popenoe first gives several reasons why we can’t go back to the ‘traditional view of the family (husband works and the wife stays home).  He then lays out what he says the new father should do. However, to get this information, once again, you’ll have to buy and read the book.  I strongly suggest this part to all readers.

Overall, the book is great. Thriving Couples does not endorse all of Popenoe’s suggestions or views (particularly his view on cohabitation), but compared to what else is out there right now on fatherhood, this books gives some a breath of fresh air.