The father factor: What happens when dad is nowhere to be found?

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  • hamberg Salt Lake City, UT
    March 9, 2014 7:52 a.m.

    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.

  • bribri86 Phoenix, AZ
    March 7, 2014 12:54 p.m.

    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.

  • Joan Watson TWIN FALLS, ID
    March 7, 2014 9:27 a.m.

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

  • Joan Watson TWIN FALLS, ID
    March 7, 2014 9:10 a.m.

    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.

  • Dacheat22 Saratoga Springs, UT
    March 6, 2014 10:42 a.m.

    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.

  • Kay Hunt Celebration, FL
    March 6, 2014 10:22 a.m.

    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.

  • BlueEyesBrittany Paris, 00
    March 6, 2014 12:31 a.m.

    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 ...

  • wazzup Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 5, 2014 10:26 a.m.


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

  • Sqweebie Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 8:32 p.m.

    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.

  • Joseph W Vernal, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 7:34 p.m.

    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.

  • JCHinMO Springfield, MO
    Feb. 24, 2014 5:07 p.m.

    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.

  • tellitstraight Hurricane, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 1:05 p.m.

    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?

  • tellitstraight Hurricane, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 1:04 p.m.

    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.

  • tellitstraight Hurricane, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 9:12 a.m.

    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.

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 8:47 a.m.

    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.

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 8:15 a.m.

    If we're as concerned about the well-being of children as we claim to be, perhaps it's time to stop fussing about same-sex marriages -- where the most recent studies indicate that the kids do just fine -- and put our focus on solving the problem of single-parent homes. Like teenage pregnancy, growing up in a single-parent home would appear to be a quick path to permanent poverty and delinquent behavior for the children involved.

    I have no idea what the solution is, or even if there is a solution, but it certainly warrants some careful study and effort to change the direction in which many of us are going.

  • donquixote84721 Cedar City, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 8:10 a.m.

    Real Dads stay with their children, Sperm Donors leave them.

  • evansrichdm west jordan , UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 7:55 a.m.


    I will blame men also in this area. I can speak from a childs point of view having grown up in a single parent home. I am glad my parents did not stay together, my father was very controling and still thinks he is smartest person to walk the plant. One example is he did not believe I should go on an LDS mission because he said I was not smart enough, yet I am one of only two of his eight kids to finish college. With a father like that I am glad he was not around, but at the same time I did see the positive of good fathers from my friends. I would watch these fathers and how they were with them, I longed to have that sort of relationship. I am a father now and I make mistakes, but my children know I love them and am doing the best. As a results my kids are not dealing with near as drama as I did and are just being normal good kids and doing well in school. I would like to think my and my wifes efforts have something to do with that.

  • 483bzac West Valley City, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 7:47 a.m.

    I have heard many "experts" or public social workers swear that "anyone can love a kid like a bio-parent." This article seems to say different. The simple matter is that "magic" occurs when a father knows a little bundle of joy came from him. Stats show that it is much easier for a father to sacrifice for his own children. The children know they came from him and from their mother as well. We need to call out these social workers, common in our grammar schools and in state agencies that work against bio fathers, break our constitutional rights by "interviewing our child" without our knowledge to dredge up something against the father. Slow them down, task them and hold them accountable in support roles for Dads. No one knows the harm they often do until they experience it for themselves. These agencies need to be transparent to the public. They do much of their work in secret citing a need to "protect" the minor. That is an open ended invitation to do whatever they want. Withhold names, but not actions.

  • BlueEyesBrittany Paris, 00
    Feb. 24, 2014 5:43 a.m.

    Whoes fault is it i wonder ?

    And please don t blame it all on women ? that is so lame

  • formerUT Osawatomie, KS
    Feb. 24, 2014 12:54 a.m.

    One of the keys is not just a FATHER--but a STABLE father.

    I have a relative who came from a very unstable family. This person has made some CRUCIAL decisions to avoid many pitfalls discussed in this article. But because of the instability of this person's background, one of the greatest difficulties for him (and his family) has been dealing with his lack of understanding of how families work--stable families. Things like NOT making numerous moves throughout children's lives, being careful of extended family members (even protecting children from those whom are not nice or safe), and understanding those "unwritten" rules for immediate and extended family members. This person never had the example of a father to teach things like putting one's self after one's children. BUT--even families whom have fathers do not mean "stability" is actually happening. A father does not teach impulse control who does not display it. A father does not teach a child confidence, when he constantly screams or puts down a child. There is FAR more to it than just having a "father" around.

  • WilliamLee Ogden, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 10:06 p.m.

    I grew up in the mid-west and had both my parents my whole life. Even though my dad was a workaholic, he was there. I didn't have an active father figure, in my dad out playing ball with me, or taking me hunting. It was actually my mom who taught me to fish. My twin sister and I were adopted when we were 5 days old, and to be honest, we never fully fit in with the family. I have been married for 40 years, I was there for my children, at their games and school activities. I was active in their lives, and I'm active in my grandchildren's lives as well. I'm on the Young Men's Presidency at church and work with the younger boys. It's interesting teaching them as I'm visually impaired, but I'm showing them a good example and that if they need to come to me for advice or guidance, I will be there for them.

  • MtZerin Daytona Beach, FL
    Feb. 23, 2014 8:54 p.m.

    Having a good job with a contract makes all the difference. For 30 years I have listened to underpaid workers (FATHERS AND MOTHERS) speaking the evils surrounding orginized labor. My children always had health care, a stay at home mom, AND a Dad who could go to summercamp. Now as a semi retired Grandpa and Grandma with a pension we can visit those in Utah, or we can drop everything for our other children living here in our state (FL). Doctors sell labor by contract, We want the protection of a contract when repairs are done on our homes. When my union leaders messed up. I ran for office (and won) then I filed state charges on a few bad apples. Most the union leaders I know are overworked and underpaid. It's ironic, in the church I hear non-members repeat false statements about my religion; In my church I often hear members repeat false statements about my union.
    My religion helped me the most to be a better dad. Driving the truck- JUST a job.

  • dw79 North Augusta, SC
    Feb. 23, 2014 7:44 p.m.

    Wilf 55, would you share the research that you are referring to? I would like to read it. Thanks.

  • metisophia Ogden, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 7:28 p.m.

    “The U.S. has done a better job of integrating women into the workplace than in integrating men into the family — especially into the lives of children in the non-intact family."

    And women have been trying to make the workplace a more FAMILY friendly environment for years but got nothing but criticism from big business.

    I applaud any efforts to improve working conditions for all in our country. Strong families can be the result when moms and dads have more time to parent as well as provide economic support to their families.

  • rw123 Sandy, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 7:12 p.m.

    @Wilf 55
    The gold standard is a mother and a father, united in matrimony, with dedication to raising good children and competent citizens. It is not always possible, but it is the best we as humans have to offer.

    As far as scientific studies, in my experience, and in a general sense, there is enough pro and con literature that people can pick and choose studies that validate their position pretty easily. The only sure way to safety is to follow another way, that of revelation and prophesy when it comes to matters of such import as the make-up of the family.

    The life and words of Jesus Christ are the rock upon which we must build. My recommendation is that if someone is really struggling with same-sex attraction, try the word of God. Go to the Mormons and Gays website produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. You are a child of God. He loves you and cares about you and your happiness.

  • tristatewest grand junction, CO
    Feb. 23, 2014 6:44 p.m.

    The only way this will happen is to get rid of this unwritten law whereas when a couple divorces the woman takes the house the kids the vehicle and the man leaves owing most of his paycheck for child support for the next 20 years while she moves her new boyfriend in and gets away with holding the kids hostage and not allowing the ex husband equal quality time with his kids. And this is not a radical explanation. Its been happening for years and years and continues today.

  • lindaj72 salt lake city, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 5:51 p.m.

    Wilf 55 a child needs both a mother and a dad. I was so fortunate to grow up in a stable family. My parents loved each other and our home was peaceful and loving. Unfortunately, I took it for granted. Now a senior citizen I see the troubles my children have had through 2 bad marriages. My oldest from my 1st marriage has had many resentments but now has a stable loving home of his own. He realizes the importance of responsible mothers and fathers married to each other. My youngest is in therapy and doing much bette although he is disabled because of heart failure. My biggest regret is that I didn't pick better husbands. Our society needs good responsible parents.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 4:20 p.m.

    Wilf 55, For walking two left feet are better than only one foot, but a left and a right foot, complimentary opposites, provide the most stability. So it is with kids and parents. An intact family with a mom and a dad, complimentary opposites, provides the most effective stability for the development of children.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 4:17 p.m.


    And until two Dads can actually "conceive" a child together, we gladly conclude that nature or God or reason didn't intend it that way.

  • Wilf 55 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 1:20 p.m.

    If one dad can do so much good, then growing up in a stable family with two dads cannot be that bad. A situation which research confirms.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 1:07 p.m.

    Every child would benefit from a Mother and Father. It is the ideal. It is the plan. We do the best we can when the ideal isn't possible.

    When people stop seeing Marriage as a "right" and a "couple-centric" union, and start viewing Marriage as a "responsibility" and a "children-centric" union, the debate over same-sex marriage would fizzle out.

    But, I'm smart enough to know that won't happen.

  • Utahguns Tooele, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 10:49 a.m.

    What percentage of this number includes the inner-city population where the number of father-less kids is astronomical?

    According to several studies, seven out of ten black children are born to single mothers.

  • rw123 Sandy, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 9:39 a.m.

    There were responsible individuals, churches, and organizations in the 60's, 70's, and 80's who told us that families are crucial, that fathers DO matter. They tell us now that children are entitled to a family with loving, dedicated parents. I believe that this entitlement is similar to the "inalienable rights" proposed by the Founding Fathers of this country. I like to think that this entitlement comes into affect at conception. The very act that brings them into being also entitles them to a healthy family life.

    Surely, we can do better.

  • Austin Coug Pflugerville, TX
    Feb. 23, 2014 7:50 a.m.

    Well written article. The role of a father cannot be understated.