Comments about ‘The father factor: What happens when dad is nowhere to be found?’

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Published: Sunday, Feb. 23 2014 6:00 a.m. MST

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Pleasant Grove, UT

Some have commented here that it's better to be in a single parent home than with an abusive father. My father was pretty abusive to me. As an adult, I came to understand why he was that way. He grew up in a single parent home in New York's old Hell's Kitchen district during the depression. Spending much of his time on the streets, he learned to be tough -- tough enough to become the Master at Arms on a battleship back when the MA was the roughest guy on the ship. Unfortunately, not having a father at home meant that he never learned how to be a good dad. No role model, no one showing him how to love and care for children. Instead, he used what he'd learned on the streets to dominate and control us. This also left us without a good example to follow with our own kids.

This, in my opinion, is the real failing of single parent homes. Boys never learn how to be a father, and it carries on to subsequent generations.

Hurricane, UT

I am a father. My ex wife, her new husband and her biological child (who I adopted), conspired to separate me from my son during our divorce. They fabricated a story of me abusing my son, and the court bought it. My sweet, sweet boy has been abused by a court system that ignores the glaringly apparent (and typically successful) tactics against good fathers. I've been fighting this terrible situation for nearly two years. Why doesn't anyone seek out the truth of my situation and correct it? "Father factor"?? What a strange phrase for indicating the critical role of men in children's lives. Time to get over the presumption that only mothers are central to the development and wellbeing of children. Reform the courts. Quit presuming that a mother is the primary caregiver, and that the father is simply a money bag who cares only peripherally for his children.

Hurricane, UT

Eliyahu, I agree. And I would add that we MUST make substantial changes to a family court system that often prejudices divorcing fathers. My exwife was able to limit my time with my children during the separation such that she was granted temporary custody (even though she had moved a man into my children's residence). Then she used multiple protective order filings to disrupt my relationship with the kids, and when that didn't work, she moved them to SLC without court knowledge or sanction. When a custody evaluation was imminent (and she knew she would be hard pressed to explain her behaviors) she and her new hubby (and teenage son who was desperate to move) coached my little boy to allege sexual abuse by me.

Hurricane, UT

No criminal charges. No corroborating evidence. Indeed, a substantial and significant pile of evidence to clearly demonstrate her foul play and motives. Yet the court determined that since the child's interview seemed reliable that I harmed my son. Thank heavens the truth really does provide some freedom; certainly better than the lie that they will live with forever. But a little, innocent child has been separated from his lovingand deeply devoted father for nearly two years. What about him?

Springfield, MO

I am a Dad that was everywhere to be found, but despite attendance at most of the functions that I was aware of have not had meaningful contact with my child since the age of 10. My child was never available for my scheduled times. The child is under the influence of her mother, and through no doings of my own I am nothing but a wallet; this with a so-called "joint custody" divorce. In two months my financial contributions stop at her 21st birthday.

Parental alienation may be rare, but it is real. The non-custodial parent (usually the father) has no recourse other than more lawyer bills, something few can afford after paying child support. Until social service agencies place equal emphasis on custody and visitation agreements compared to collecting monetary payments, this problem will continue. Payments are predominantly made by fathers to mothers, and mothers are usually given more-than-equal rights. I have spoken with others in the same situation; all of them are men who WANT to be fathers for their children.

I look forward to the rest of this series of articles.

Joseph W
Vernal, UT

Having both parents throughout a childhood is definitely the best situation. Mother’s give an emotional comfort and a sense of protection but in the same degree of importance a Father can provide moral advice and set expectations, reinforced by examples. There is also a sense of leadership a Father provides such that of a lion raising his cub. Even though my Father would discipline me on a rather rare occasion if he looked at me just the right way it would set the expectation to what may happen if I did something wrong or right. In the some regard that a Father can encourage and set an example for their children, if their authority is abused it can be a complete opposite effect on their child.

Salt Lake City, UT

Sorry donquixote84721 but some fathers are forced out of their child's life only to maintain contact with other family members about the growth of their child but never see them. I don't know if my father is dead or alive because others thought it was in my best interest that he never have contact with me. Unfortunately I have serious health issues and I need to know if they are hereditary. This is so wrong on so many levels.

My heart goes out to those dads who try to stop the adoption of their child because the mother walked out of his life to place it and lied about who the father was. In this case he is not just a sperm donor.

Cottonwood Heights, UT


so the preferred family is NOT one dad and one mother? children don't need good examples from both?

Paris, 00

My dad was not there (and it was much better for us all), that did not prevent me from achieving ... quite the opposite.... i did not want to depend on a man for survival .....

And i was right to considering how very few are dependable ...

Kay Hunt
Celebration, FL

A few years ago a young lady wanted to place her child up for adoption. The young man's parent both alcoholics didn't want that to happen and convinced their son to take custody of the baby so his parents could raise the baby not him. The young woman decided it was better to take the baby home and raise her child as a single mom then to let the baby be raised in a family that was dysfunctional. Is there a right answer? I am not sure. Having a baby and giving it up is a hard choice. If the mother truly believes there are reasons that the father will not be a good parent then she should have to state her case. But merely being there at the time of conception does not a mother or a father make. And just FYI the boy nor his parent ever paid a dime in support for said child. But in this world of one night stands does a man need to follow up on all "events" in order to make sure he can raise a child? If the relationship between the couple has ended maybe adoption is the answer.

Saratoga Springs, UT

I find it interesting that men are shouldering most of the blame on this issue. More and more women are choosing to have children and raise them on their own.

Also, 2 of 3 divorces are initiated by the woman, mostly due to "dissatisfaction". They also have a leg up in family court and are awarded custody most of the time. Fathers are demoted to "every-other-weekend" dads, and that's if the mother honors visitation (which many courts rarely enforce). In order for these dads to see their kids more, they would have to pay up and hire an attorny. If they don't have the money, they're out of luck.

Joan Watson

Former Ut and BlueeyesB
Thank you for your comments - they are spot on concerning types of dads that influence, protect, and rear for good, their children. Those, who did not have good fathers, have suffered consequences that they have had to overcome.

Joan Watson

former Ut and Evansrichdm
Thank you for your comments - many can relate to what you wrote.

Phoenix, AZ

I don't have to read articles like this to convince me that a man and woman are essential to success. God has spoken stating that the man is not without the woman, neither is the woman without the man in the Lord. When God speaks, and a man obeys, that man will always be right, regardless of what scientists, social experts, politicians, or anyone else says.

Salt Lake City, UT

Problem is police and prosecutors don't prosecute "Custodial Interference." I have had only 1 parent time visit in the past 3 months and there is little I can do about it. You file an "Order to Show Cause" and it takes 3 weeks to get a mediator and if that fails then another 3 weeks to get a court date. Worst I've seen is 30 days in jail and $1,000 fine suspended but not enforced when it is still proven the mother is not complying with the court order.

By prosecutors and police doing nothing other than filing a police report the courts are placing my children in a situation that causes situations like this.

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