I have met and heard the tragic stories of many parents. PA is a function, by and large, of a custodial ex-partner, although some alienation can start while the couple is still together.

This blog is a story of experiences and observations of dysfunctional Family Law (FLAW), an arena pitting parent against parent, with children as the prize. Due to the gender bias in Family Law, that I have observed, this Blog has evolved from a focus solely on PA to one of the broader Family/Children's Rights area and the impact of Feminist mythology on Canadian Jurisprudence and the Divorce Industry.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hands-on dads handle stress better

I was a stay-at-home dad for 10 years raising two of my daughters from infancy, while also supporting a family business by working from home. Your work day can be spread out to cover all of the day while also participating in all school activities including volunteer driving, skating, swimming and gymnastics. The one thing that is fundamental is the day revolves around the children not the business. By having flexibility the business work could be accomplished after the children were in bed at school or the mom came home from work - when mom was around. Despite being one of the best dads a child could have who was devoted 24/7 to them each and every day when mom decides to alienate them for whatever twisted reasons and then takes a run to the DV shelter all bets are off. The machinery of victim feminism kicks in and gender politics takes over. Our court system needs changing to shared and equal parenting/residency for the sake of the children. I proved to myself and hundreds of others that a man socialized to be the breadwinner can readily adapt to that of a nurturing, supportive and loving care giver. I've said it before and I would challenge scientists to follow-up but I believe a man would likely see a drop in testosterone and an increase in female related hormones - but not to the point of losing masculinity! :>) MJM
TheStar.com | Recession | Hands-on dads handle stress better
SHUTTERSTOCK IMAGES Caregiving can be empowering for fathers who have lost their jobs, says Daddy Shift author Jeremy Adam Smith.
Valuing home duties and child care helps men cope with job loss
May 29, 2009 04:30 AM
Family issues reporter

Job loss is traumatic. So is financial anxiety. But hands-on fathers who can juggle bath-time, playground jaunts and laundry duty are better equipped to deal with those than earlier generations of men, says the author of a new book on fatherhood.

In Daddy Shift, to be released next month, Jeremy Adam Smith explores how fathers' growing participation in childrearing and domestic duties is transforming modern families.

He says when dads are willing to embrace that, it helps parents and kids cope with the stress of a layoff or reduced work hours – especially at a time when men are harder hit by job losses than women.

"Something good has happened the last few decades and men now have the capacity to take care of their kids when women are in a position to be the breadwinners," Smith, 39, said in a phone interview from his San Francisco home. "If they can focus on that, it will help them to survive unemployment and it will help their families."

Smith's book, which reviews the history, economics and science of male caregiving, comes amid the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Statistics Canada reported earlier this year that two-thirds of those laid off in Canada were men. At the same time, more men have been taking parental leave following the birth of children and opting for fewer hours at work and more time with the kids.

Smith notes that in previous generations a male breadwinner who lost his job would likely withdraw from the family, his identity and self-worth shaken. "It would destroy him, he would actually spend less time around the house, less time with the children," says Smith.

While work is still at the core of most fathers' identity, more men are recognizing the importance and rewards of caring for kids.

"Today if the mother has the capacity (to earn) and the father is thrown into the role of being home, they are more likely to take that responsibility. They won't do it the way mothers do, but they'll do it."

Smith, a magazine editor and writer, became a stay-at-home dad for a year when his son Liko was age 1. He knows what it's like to do dishes with a fussy toddler in the backpack, crave adult company and never have a minute to himself.

He became a dad without a clue how to bathe or change a diaper. He became a primary caregiver while his wife was working full-time just because it was the best arrangement for the family at the time.

"At first I saw only the negative aspects: no regular work, no free time, no adult companionship, no respect ... this was not a role I embraced self-consciously," he writes in Daddy Shift.

But he soon marvelled at the bond he developed with his son and the sense of confidence and competence he gained as a parent. It changed him profoundly. And he thinks more men need to hear from fathers like him.

"My experience as a stay-at-home dad was a growing sense of power as a parent and as a man," he says. Guilt and blame are often used to motivate men to step up with childcare and chores, but Smith says the power angle is a better pitch.

"I think that's how you have to sell it to guys," he laughs. His book signals a shift in the discourse about fatherhood: one that encourages father involvement for the sake of men and their children – not just to help out mothers.

Liko, now 4, is in preschool and Smith and his wife, like a small but growing number of families, have alternated roles over the years. Daddy Shift is not about pitting one family's choices against another. It is more of a call-to-arms for this generation of fathers to be flexible and open-minded about their evolving roles.

Smith stresses that fathers aren't the only ones changing. Mothers have to be willing to let go of the reins and respect that fact that men look after kids differently, he says. In other words, don't judge fathers through the maternal lens.

Studies show men tend to be more comfortable with risk-taking by their offspring and less inclined to introduce toys or mediate a child's independent play.

Daddy Shift was written as a result of Smith's experiences and the dialogue with other parents on his blog Daddy Dialectic. Smith also cites leading Canadian research on fatherhood, including work by Ottawa professor Andrea Doucet and Kerry Daly of Guelph University, who runs the Fatherhood Involvement Research Alliance.

Smith says while there's no ideal formula for dividing and sharing parental roles, the key for the 21st century family is having the flexibility to cope with an unstable economy and an information age that has changed the rules of the working world.

"We haven't achieved economic equality between men and women but the equation has changed and men are changing in response. The question is are we going to embrace that?"

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This should be kept quiet!

This totally goes against everything that feminism has been trying to do for the past 40 years and that is to try and prove that men/fathers are redundant and unnecessary!!!! All we ever hear about is how single-mothers rule and the new "Daddy" in the house is Socialist Government.

Submitted by Alpha-Man at 8:24 PM Friday, May 29 2009

Fathers are Important Too

This is a fantastic article. Older generations of Fathers with traditional gender role considered their ability to be breadwinner and protector as the measure of their self-worth. Modern fathers are moving away from traditional gender roles and are increasingly becoming more involved parents. As a more involved parent, a Father has a greater variety of contributions for establishing their own self- worth and building self-esteem. It is only common sense that providing care for ones children, knowing that you are needed and valuable, could make-up for the loss of ones identity as breadwinner and protector. Divorced Canadian Fathers are particularly faced with a number of very real barriers such as vindictive Mothers and the indifference of Family Law Courts. I congratulate Fatherhood Involvement Research Alliance for recognizing the importance of fully involved and nurturing fathers in the lives of children and working towards a better future for our children.

Submitted by Denis Pakkala at 12:12 PM Friday, May 29 2009

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