Virtual Library of Newspaper Articles

"Exploiting deprived children for entertainment is sickening"

The Ottawa Citizen, by Dave Brown, February 22, 2002

In a rare look at afternoon television this week, I found deprived children being used for their entertainment value. The experience
left me with a sick feeling.

While channel surfing looking for Olympic coverage, I happened upon the Maury Povich Show, and stayed there for the better part of an hour. For the benefit of those who aren't exposed to afternoon television, here's an example of what you're missing.

Mr. Povich has found DNA testing is an entertainment tool. Mothers of fatherless children are invited to go public to get the cost of a DNA test covered. They name the man they believe impregnated them, and
the ball is in play. The man is tracked down for a DNA sample and is interviewed. They show denial and great fear of paternity and the financial responsibility that goes with it. Refusing the sample may be a good idea, but that wouldn't get them on television. These guys have not been taught to get their thought processes above their zippers.

In the first sample, the mother had unpleasant things to say about the father. If the test proved he was the dad, she was asked, would she want him to play any role in the life of her child. She said no. She just wanted the money. Court-ordered support payments are much higher than welfare. That fact is one of the come-ons that encourage

young mothers to make a public spectacle of themselves and their babies.

The child frequently appeared on screen. According to a disclaimer printed on the screen, he could not hear or see what was happening. Cute kid. Marketable.

Accused dad and his girlfriend were interviewed away from the set. He said he wanted to get married and raise a family, but if he was the DNA dad he wouldn't be able to afford to. His girlfriend had ugly things to say about the other woman. The studio audience hooted and jeered.

The child's face appeared again as the couple was led onto the set where mother waited. There was an explosion of obscenities and the audio portion was reduced to a series of beeps.

Working up suspense like a presenter at the Academy Awards, Mr. Povich slowly opened the envelope with the test results. He dragged it out. The test showed the accused was not the dad. There was much hugging and cheering and celebrating.

The mom rushed away. She was broken-hearted and crying. Mr. Povich caught up to her and consoled her. He told her they would keep trying.

It was the seventh man she thought could be the dad. All had admitted to sex with her around the time of conception.

The child's face flashed on screen again. Smiling. He's being raised by a parent who has no dignity, honour, sense of shame, or appreciation of the role of a father in the raising of a child. If she has a capacity for love, it isn't evident. She's raising a child alone and in poverty in a society where any number of wannabe moms and dads in loving relationships would adopt in a flash.

Contestant No. 2 gets nailed by his DNA. This time mom whoops for joy as dad storms off, angry and determined not to pay. His child is on screen, looking cute. Congratulations kid. We've found your dad. He doesn't want anything to do with you and he's likely not going to pay. But wasn't it fun? He was the fourth attempt. Mom guessed wrong on the first three players in this odd game of Russian roulette.

As the credits rolled I was numbed. This is entertainment? Children at risk being used as bait to bring in viewers? And as one who believes life imitates art, is this not giving the message to young people that this kind of carelessness is acceptable?

There are still teenagers around our house, so I did a little survey. All were male and familiar with the DNA television game. They thought it was kind of neat. A child should know who his dad is. They had no
concept of the financial obligations. The show doesn't go into that end. If it did it would seriously cut down the number of possible contestants.

I clicked off the TV and talked, one-way, to my dad. He died 50 years ago when I was 13, but he's still my hero. He taught me to be proud of being a man. He taught me to respect and protect women. He said I
had a duty to protect the helpless. I had just watched children in need of a hand-up and couldn't help. So did millions of others.

Writing about it is all I can do. Sorry, Dad.

Dave Brown is the Citizen's senior editor.

Copyright 2002 The Ottawa Citizen

Orlando Sentinel

Study denouncing fathers sends danger signals

By Kathleen Parker, The Orlando Sentinel, USA, on July 18, 1999

Now is the time for all good fathers to come to the aid of the family.

But you'd better hurry; your days are numbered. In fact, if you happen to be a heterosexual male (further doomed by Caucasian pigmentation), your days are already over, according to a cover article in the June issue of American Psychologist, published by the American Psychological Association.

In their article, "Deconstructing the Essential Father," researchers Louise B. Silverstein and Carl F. Auerbach challenge one of the core institutions of our culture -- fatherhood. Read More .. less, fathers, as we've known and loved them, are obsolete.

The article makes numerous breathtaking assertions, but basically the researchers state that fathers aren't essential to the well-being of children Read More ...

REPORT: Children Need Dads Too: Children with fathers in prison

Quakers United Nations Office
July 2009

Children are heavily impacted by parental imprisonment and greater attention should be given to their rights, needs and welfare in criminal justice policy and practice. Due to a variety of reasons such as mothers often being the primary or sole carer of children, complicated care arrangements, the likelihood of women prisoners being greater distances from home and a host of factors explored in detail in other QUNO publications, maternal imprisonment can be more damaging for children than paternal imprisonment. However, it is important not to underestimate the damage that paternal imprisonment can have on children.

Children with incarcerated fathers experience many of the same problems as those with incarcerated mothers, including coping with loss, environmental disruption, poverty, stigmatisation, health problems and all of the difficulties involved in visiting a parent in prison. It appears that there are also some difficulties specifically associated with paternal imprisonment, such as a higher risk of juvenile delinquency and strained relationships between the mother and child.

The numbers of children separated from their fathers due to imprisonment is far higher than those separated from their mothers due to the vast majority of prisoners being men (globally over 90 per cent of prisoners are male. To ignore this group would, therefore, be to neglect the vast majority of children affected by parental imprisonment.    Read More ..

USA_Today logo

Hammering it home: Daughters need dads

USA TODAY, June 10, 2003

It's widely recognized that boys benefit from having dads around as role models and teachers about manhood.

But does having a father at home make much difference for girls?

But even in affluent families, girls become sexually active and pregnant earlier if they don't live with fathers, according to the largest and longest-term study on the problem. It was released in May.

Compared with daughters from two-parent homes, a girl is about five times more likely to have had sex by age 16 if her dad left before she was 6 and twice as likely if she stops living with her dad at 6 or older.

The study of 762 girls for 13 years took into account many factors that could lead to early sex, says Duke University psychologist Kenneth Dodge, the study's co-author. Still, there was an independent link between teenage sex and girls not living with their biological fathers.  Read More ..

Divorced Dads:
Shattering the Myths

Dr. Sandford L. Braver and Diane O'Connell

picture book Divorced dads: Shattering the Myths

This is the result of the largest federally funded 8 year study of the issues confronting parents and their children in the United States.

Shattering the Myths. The surprising truth about fathers, children and divorce. Read More ..

Sydney Morning Herald

Children seeing more of their fathers after divorce

The Sydney Morning Herald
February 3, 2005

Divorced fathers are Read More ..volved in their children's lives than conventional wisdom would have it, a new study shows.

It shows surprisingly varied and flexible care patterns among separated families, with "every other Saturday" contact giving way to Read More ..ild-focused arrangements.

Australian Institute of Family Studies research fellow Bruce Smyth has produced the first detailed snapshot of parent-child contact after divorce anywhere in the world. Published today in the institute's journal Family Matters, the analysis has implications for children's emotional and financial wellbeing.

Other research indicates children of separated families do best when they have multifaceted relationships, including sleepovers, sharing meals and doing schoolwork, with both parents.   Read More ..

Fatherlessness

Fathers 'have key role with children' after families split

The Telegraph, London, U.K.

Researchers say they found a direct relationship between children's behavioural problems and the amount of contact they had with their natural father.

The effect was more pronounced in single-parent families, particularly where the mother was a teenager. In such cases, children were especially vulnerable emotionally if they had no contact with their father.   Read More ..

Where's Daddy?

The Mythologies behind Custody-Access-Support

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When 50 percent of marriages end in divorce and 43 percent of children are left with one parent, everyone is affected: uncles, aunts, grandparents, and friends, but mostly, the children. The devastation from our divorce practices is our most public secret scandal. Everyone whispers it, the whispers never acknowledged. It seems that as long as a villain can be created, society is content.

After three decades of research universally pointing to more productive options, why does Custody-Access-Support remain?  Read More ..

Tallahasse Democrat

Research proves that fatherhood really matters