Niagara Gazette

Web Extra

June 14, 2014

No one is against devoted dads

NEW YORK — Father's Day is Sunday, which means that it's time for pundits and politicians to scold the American public - with special ire reserved for black members of the American public - for our supposed indifference to the wonder and awe of fatherhood. Jessica Lahey has a piece in the Atlantic this week called "The Case for Dedicated Dads," in which she argues, "Mothers are very important to their children's development, of course, but research has shown that fathers help kids grow in specific ways." Dozens of other writers are making the same argument, pegged to Father's Day, for a variety of local and national media sources.

"Being around dads affects children's biology, which in turn affects their mental states, like happiness, and their success in life," wrote Mark Oppenheimer in The New York Times earlier this month. Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal agrees, arguing, "The way dads tend to interact has long-term benefits for kids, independent of those linked to good mothering." The Atlantic, in particular, loves reminding people, over and over, that, given a choice between Great Dad or No Dad, Great Dad is by far the better option. There was "Why Dads Matter" on Feb. 23 (not to be confused with the new book "Do Fathers Matter?" Answer: Yes); "A Key to College Success: Involved Dads" on April 22; and "The Distinct, Positive Impact of a Good Dad" on June 14, 2013.

I love a good dad story as much as the next daughter, but I can't help wonder: Who are these writers arguing against? W. Bradford Wilcox, who single-handedly generates a good half of the "having a good dad is great, don't let anyone tell you otherwise!" content out there, intones, "Dads certainly seem dispensable in today's world." Lahey also argues, "Recently, some authors have claimed that parents don't really have much of an effect on educational success." But none of the people Wilcox or Lahey cite are down on the idea of having good, loving fathers around the house. They are simply assuring people who don't have access to one of those awesome dads that their kids are not doomed to failure.

Look, there is no "anti-fatherhood" movement in this country. Commentators who argue the "pro-fatherhood" side do so by pointing to the positive effects on kids from good dads who love their kids' mothers and live in the same houses. These pieces often assume that women are rolling in offers for loving, devoted families and opting for single motherhood instead. But most single mothers aren't in that situation because they are against the nuclear family or because they think fathers are bad for kids. Sometimes a dad is a good dad but not a good husband. Some dads are - gasp! - not good fathers at all and need to go. Preaching about how wonderful it is to have a loving, devoted father in the house is like going to the hospital and asking people if they ever considered not being sick.

Instead of repeatedly extolling the virtues of happy marriage and loving fathers, let's invest in economic stability, education and access to reproductive health care so that Americans can plan when they have children. These are the things people actually need to improve their chances of holding a family together. We know this because people who do have access to these things have more stable marriages. What we don't need are more lectures about how having a good dad is better than having no dad. Rest assured, everyone already knows that.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Web Extra
  • Gojira Japanese fans speak on the evolution of 'Godzilla'

    Japanese fans want it known: The radiation-breathing, skyscraper-stomping monster they call "Gojira" was born right here in Japan, 60 years ago.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bryan Yes! WWE's Daniel Bryan catches suspected burglar

    A former WWE champion known as Daniel Bryan chased two burglary suspects he saw exiting his Phoenix home this week and subdued one until officers arrived, investigators said.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg AMERDING: Inequality crisis shot with factual problems, hypocrisy

    President Obama, various media and political liberals say inequality, of all things, is the defining issue of our times. Yet this message is delivered by multimillionaires and a president who jets from tee time to stump speech on the taxpayer's dime.
     

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese

    The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S.. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem.

    July 27, 2014

  • Can plants hear? Study finds that vibrations prompt some to boost their defenses

    They have no specialized structure to perceive sound as we do, but a new study has found that plants can discern the sound of predators through tiny vibrations of their leaves - and beef up their defenses in response.

    July 27, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 26, 2014

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 26, 2014

  • Brother sues W.Va. senator over business loan

    U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin's brother claims he's owed $1.7 million that he loaned to keep a family carpet out of bankruptcy in the 1980s.

    July 26, 2014

  • NIA iPad pals art 1 120613 Has the iPad lost its swag?

    The company reported this week that sales of its sleek, pricey tablet were down 19 percent from last quarter and 9 percent year-over-year. CEO Tim Cook tried to reassure investors that Apple's new partnership with IBM to sell its devices to IBM's corporate customers will help make iPads ubiquitous in the workplace. "This isn't something that worries us," he said of the iPad sales decline. But the numbers are disappointing no matter how you spin them.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page