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Sperm Donors, Baby-daddies and Fathers – Lifestyle News

 

One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.”George Herbert (1593-1633)

“The place of the father in the modern suburban family is a very small one, particularly if he plays golf.”– Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

I have contended for some time, in our current society, fathers and fatherhood have been marginalized to such an extent in many cases they are reduced to the simple and singular role of “sperm donor”. Popular talk shows demean the father’s role and belittle the man’s contribution. Many commercials make him the paradigm of buffoonery and ineptitude.

While I don’t blame the women’s movement per se, our current attitude toward fathers is at best, an unintended consequence. Women, who for myriad reasons aren’t interested in any or all aspects of marriage, are having children by in vitro fertilization, never knowing the father of their child. And sadly, this has become socially very acceptable. Obviously, the “liberated woman” feels no need for, or appreciation of, a father’s physical presence or influence in the rearing of their child/children.

It’s one thing for couples to marry too young, have a child or two and then divorce. This too results in a single parent household. It’s an entirely different thing for young women to game the welfare system by having multiple babies by several different sires. More and more young women intentionally become pregnant with no desire or intent ever to marry. I consider this the indiscriminate use of the womb as an asset to increase welfare income.

“America used to live by the motto “Father Knows Best.” Now we’re lucky if “Father Knows He Has Children.” We’ve become a nation of sperm donors and baby daddies.” ― Stephen Colbert, I Am America

Certainly the fault does not lie solely with the young woman. Young men must participate and are equally culpable in perpetuating this problem. Any young man who will intentionally impregnate a girl or young women, with no intent to ever support the child, financially or otherwise is equally guilty and responsible for the resultant problems that arise. What kind of statement does this make about our society and way of life? Where is the hue and cry over this disgrace?

In 2014, 23.6% of children (17.4 million) lived in father-absent homes.

In 2012, 41% of children born in the U.S. were born to never-married parents. The percentage of births to unmarried women is more than double the percentage in 1980 (18.4%).

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million children in America — one out of every three — live in biological father-absent homes. Nine in ten American parents agree this is a “crisis.”

Consequently, there is a “father factor” in nearly all of the social issues facing America today. But the hope lies in the fact that children with involved fathers do better across every measure of child well-being than their peers in father-absent homes.

These statistics reveal our current society’s attitude about the value (or lack of) the father in the American home.

Yet single mothers are praised and lionized.   And there is very little negative consequence to fathers who never know and do not support their child.

I concede and acknowledge there are lots of mother’s who find themselves single as a result of circumstances not entirely of their choosing. There are mothers working tirelessly to rear and educate their children. All of us can point to women whose husbands died, divorced or abandoned them, leaving them alone to do the best they can. Obviously, in the case of death, there is tragedy, but no blame. In the cases where the fathers divorced or abandoned the mother, the blame lies with the father. And sadly, all the social, behavioral and learning difficulties evident in children in father-absent homes are present in all the above circumstances as well, albeit to lesser or greater degrees, depending on the length of the father’s presence and involvement prior to his departure.

Consequently, research suggests that if the father was married to the mother (prior to divorce, abandonment or death) and lived in the family for a period of time, children of these relationships have less difficulties than children from homes where there was never a father’s presence or influence.

  • Children whose fathers are stable and involved are better off on almost every cognitive, social and emotional measure developed by researchers. For example, high levels of father involvement are correlated with sociability, confidence, and high levels of self-control in children. Moreover, children with involved fathers are less likely to act out in school or engage in risky behaviors in adolescents. Source: Anthes, E. (2010, May/June) Family guy. Scientific AmericanMind.
  • Children born to single mothers show higher levels of aggressive behavior than children born to married mothers. Source: Osborne,C., & McLanahan, S. (2007), Partnership instability and child well-being. Journal of Marriage and Family, 69, 1065-1083

One of the more significant consequences of father-absent homes is the much higher use of prescription drugs to manage unruly and aggressive behavior in school. Currently called ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity). This is treated and seemingly managed by amphetamines, formerly called “speed”. These drugs are pharmacologically Central Nervous Stimulants, working principally on the brain and spinal cord. As a pharmacist, over the past several years, I have seen an alarming increase in the number of such drugs prescribed for children in our society. No one knows the long term consequences of continued administration of these drugs to children. These drugs are classified by the FDA as Schedule II drugs, drugs with the highest potential for abuse. To me an unrelated cause of this serious over prescribing of such drugs is the fact that all discipline by school personnel has been disallowed and removed. That however, for another time.

Other results and consequences of father-absent households:

  • Infant mortality rates are 1.9 times higher for infants of unmarried mothers than for married mothers. Source: Matthews, T.J., Sally C. Curtin, and Marian F. MacDorman. Infant Mortality Statistics from the 1998 Period Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set. National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol.48, Nol.12. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 2000
  • When fathers are involved during the pregnancy, babies have fewer complications at birth. Source: Alio, A.P., Mbah, A.K.,Kornosky, J.LO., Marty, P.J. & Salihu, H.M. “The Impact of Paternal Involvement on Feto-Infant Morbidity among Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics”. Matern Child Health J. 2010; 14(5): 735-41.
  • Babies with a father’s name on the birth certificate are 4 times more likely to live past 1 year of age. Source: Alio,A.P., Mbah, A.K., Kornosky, J.LO., Marty, P.J. & Salihu, H.M. “The Impact of Paternal Involvement on Feto-Infant Morbidity among Whites, Blacks and Hispanics”. Matern Child Health J. 2010; 14(5):735-41
  • A study of 2,921 mothers revealed that single mothers were twice as likely as married mothers to experience a bout of depression in the prior year. Single mothers also reported higher levels of stress, fewer contacts with family and friends, less involvement with church or social groups and less overall social support. Source: Cairney, John and Michael Boyle et al. “Stress, Social Support and Depression in Single and Married Mothers.” Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 38 (August 2003) 442-449
  • A study using a sample of 1,409 rural southern adolescents (851 females and 558 males) aged 11 to 18 years, investigated the correlation between father absence and self-reported sexual activity. The results revealed that adolescents in father-absent homes were more likely to report being sexually active compared to adolescents living with their fathers. The analysis indicates that father absence can have a detrimental effect on adolescents’ lifestyle choices. This study also revealed a statistical significance between father absence and adolescent self-esteem. Source: Hendricks, C.S., Cesario, S.K., Murdaugh, C., Gibbons, M.E., Servonsky, E.J., Bobadilla, R.V., Hendricks, D.L., Spencer-Morgan, B., & Travkoli,A. (2005). The influence of father absence on the self-esteem and self-reported sexual activity of rural southern adolescents. ABNF Journal, 16, 124-131.
  • The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth found that obese children are more likely to live in father-absent homes than are non-obese children. Sounce: National Longitudinal Survey of Youth
  • Children who lived with single mothers were significantly more likely to become obese by a 6-year follow-up, than were black children, children with nonworking parents, children with nonprofessional parents and children whose mothers did not complete high school. Source: Strauss RS, Knight J. “Influence of the home environment on the development of obesity in children.” Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

How can our society continue to demean and denigrate the role of fathers?

“As fathers, we should have a desire to be active participants in our children’s lives.” Asa Don Brown

I can certainly understand why a young man would elect not to be a father, at a particular time in his life. IT’S HARD WORK! A HUGE RESPONSIBILITY! A LONG-TERM COMMITMENT ! If, as a young man, you recognize these things, don’t have unprotected sex!

Once a young man or woman decides to become sexually active, given the availability of virtually fool-proof contraceptives, there is hardly any excuse for unwanted pregnancies!

Yes, there are lots of less-than-ideal, less-than-perfect fathers out there. Fathers are male humans, afflicted with all the sins, shortcomings, maladies, peccadillos and limitations of other humans.

Being a sire, sperm- donor, baby-daddy is easy, ……..being a father is difficult!

If you are a young man and for whatever reasons aren’t ready to be a father, aren’t prepared to rear and support a child, don’t allow yourself to be a “baby-daddy”! Don’t have unprotected sex! It’s that simple.

However, if you are prepared (as prepared as possible, no one can ever be really prepared) and want to be a father, to take on the full weight and responsibility to which such a role obligates you, I humbly offer:

Some Fatherly Advise

Marry and remain married (if at all possible) to the mother of your child.

With fatherhood there are no experts at it and no place go to learn to be one. There is no course you can take.

If you don’t like the way you yourself were reared, make some mental notes, and develop alternative plans. I’m very serious about this! Because when you find yourself in situations with your child, where you don’t know what to do, (and believe me you will……..often) you are bound to draw on the only frame of reference you have……what was done to you, thereby perpetuating the same fatherly shortcomings.   Now maybe what was done to you was the right thing, even though you didn’t like it at the time. In such cases, there is no need for an alternative plan.

All fathers, the best and the worst, have regrets. You won’t get it right every time. Just do the best you can.

Parent more from a positive re-enforcement stance rather than a critical and fault-finding stance.

Have a set of values by which you order your life and live them out in front of your child.

Try to be consistent , but don’t be afraid or ashamed to alter your approach if there is strong evidence to suggest you should.

Live by what you teach/preach. (They pay as much or more attention to what you do as much as what your say.)

Expose them to positive role models. Expose them to friends, family members and colleagues that will hold them to high standards, people who will take an expressed interest in them and who will express to them pride in their accomplishments and achievements and disappointment in their bad behavior and poor performance. They expect your love and approval, surround them by others who they know love them and will expect the same from them.

Be as involved in their lives and activities to the extent your work or profession will allow.

Tell them often that you love them.

Control your temper.

Don’t hesitate to discipline. However, before you summarily discipline, consult their mother and get her buy-in, as she may be the one to enforce the discipline and she may not agree with what you decree. If she doesn’t have buy-in, she won’t enforce the discipline.

Take them to church and attend with them. Teach them right from wrong.

Attend teacher conferences. Join the PTA and attend the meetings.

Know the parents of their friends.

Hold them accountable for their actions.

To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, “don’t be a father half apologetic for having brought his son into the world, afraid to restrain him lest he should create inhibitions or even to instruct him lest he should interfere with his independence of mind.” Sadly I fear, due to the uncertain nature of fatherhood, this is an attitude and example to which our current society often subscribes. “It is a most misleading symbol of the Divine Fatherhood .”

“Love between father and son means essentially authoritative love on the one side, and obedient love on the other.”

You can’t always be their pal, nor should you try. They can and will find pals on the playground and at school. Be their father at all times.

When I was 18 years old, my father was the dumbest man I knew. When I became 25, I was surprised at how much he had learned in the past 7 years.” – Mark Twain

Love and respect their mother.

Never speak ill of their mother, even if you divorce, and regardless of what she may say about/against you. They’ll figure it out in the long run.

“A boy needs a father to show him how to be in the world. He needs to be given swagger, taught how to read a map so that he can recognize the roads that lead to life and the paths that lead to death, how to know what love requires, and where to find steel in the heart when life makes demands on us that are greater than we think we can endure.” ― Ian Morgan Cron, Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me: A Memoir…of Sorts

Fatherhood will be the most difficult, painful, frustrating, exhausting, time-consuming, and at times thankless, rewarding, satisfying, glorious and fulfilling thing you will ever do. The time you spend with them may be brief, but your influence and impact (for good or bad) can last a lifetime.

I feel fortunate to state:

My son is a father

and as a father he

is a better father than me.

Perhaps he had a better father than me.

And if lucky we,

his son(s) will be

a better father than he.

To see an example of what it means to be a father watch ESPN’s E:60 program on Ernie Johnson, or get to know Matthew Burton or his twin brother John.

 

Sperm Donors, Baby-daddies and Fathers

One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.”George Herbert (1593-1633)

“The place of the father in the modern suburban family is a very small one, particularly if he plays golf.”– Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

I have contended for some time, in our current society, fathers and fatherhood have been marginalized to such an extent in many cases they are reduced to the simple and singular role of “sperm donor”. Popular talk shows demean the father’s role and belittle the man’s contribution. Many commercials make him the paradigm of buffoonery and ineptitude.

While I don’t blame the women’s movement per se, our current attitude toward fathers is at best, an unintended consequence. Women, who for myriad reasons aren’t interested in any or all aspects of marriage, are having children by in vitro fertilization, never knowing the father of their child. And sadly, this has become socially very acceptable. Obviously, the “liberated woman” feels no need for, or appreciation of, a father’s physical presence or influence in the rearing of their child/children.

It’s one thing for couples to marry too young, have a child or two and then divorce. This too results in a single parent household. It’s an entirely different thing for young women to game the welfare system by having multiple babies by several different sires. More and more young women intentionally become pregnant with no desire or intent ever to marry. I consider this the indiscriminate use of the womb as an asset to increase welfare income.

“America used to live by the motto “Father Knows Best.” Now we’re lucky if “Father Knows He Has Children.” We’ve become a nation of sperm donors and baby daddies.” ― Stephen Colbert, I Am America

Certainly the fault does not lie solely with the young woman. Young men must participate and are equally culpable in perpetuating this problem. Any young man who will intentionally impregnate a girl or young women, with no intent to ever support the child, financially or otherwise is equally guilty and responsible for the resultant problems that arise. What kind of statement does this make about our society and way of life? Where is the hue and cry over this disgrace?

In 2014, 23.6% of children (17.4 million) lived in father-absent homes.

In 2012, 41% of children born in the U.S. were born to never-married parents. The percentage of births to unmarried women is more than double the percentage in 1980 (18.4%).

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million children in America — one out of every three — live in biological father-absent homes. Nine in ten American parents agree this is a “crisis.”

Consequently, there is a “father factor” in nearly all of the social issues facing America today. But the hope lies in the fact that children with involved fathers do better across every measure of child well-being than their peers in father-absent homes.

These statistics reveal our current society’s attitude about the value (or lack of) the father in the American home.

Yet single mothers are praised and lionized.   And there is very little negative consequence to fathers who never know and do not support their child.

I concede and acknowledge there are lots of mother’s who find themselves single as a result of circumstances not entirely of their choosing. There are mothers working tirelessly to rear and educate their children. All of us can point to women whose husbands died, divorced or abandoned them, leaving them alone to do the best they can. Obviously, in the case of death, there is tragedy, but no blame. In the cases where the fathers divorced or abandoned the mother, the blame lies with the father. And sadly, all the social, behavioral and learning difficulties evident in children in father-absent homes are present in all the above circumstances as well, albeit to lesser or greater degrees, depending on the length of the father’s presence and involvement prior to his departure.

Consequently, research suggests that if the father was married to the mother (prior to divorce, abandonment or death) and lived in the family for a period of time, children of these relationships have less difficulties than children from homes where there was never a father’s presence or influence.

  • Children whose fathers are stable and involved are better off on almost every cognitive, social and emotional measure developed by researchers. For example, high levels of father involvement are correlated with sociability, confidence, and high levels of self-control in children. Moreover, children with involved fathers are less likely to act out in school or engage in risky behaviors in adolescents. Source: Anthes, E. (2010, May/June) Family guy. Scientific AmericanMind.
  • Children born to single mothers show higher levels of aggressive behavior than children born to married mothers. Source: Osborne,C., & McLanahan, S. (2007), Partnership instability and child well-being. Journal of Marriage and Family, 69, 1065-1083

One of the more significant consequences of father-absent homes is the much higher use of prescription drugs to manage unruly and aggressive behavior in school. Currently called ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity). This is treated and seemingly managed by amphetamines, formerly called “speed”. These drugs are pharmacologically Central Nervous Stimulants, working principally on the brain and spinal cord. As a pharmacist, over the past several years, I have seen an alarming increase in the number of such drugs prescribed for children in our society. No one knows the long term consequences of continued administration of these drugs to children. These drugs are classified by the FDA as Schedule II drugs, drugs with the highest potential for abuse. To me an unrelated cause of this serious over prescribing of such drugs is the fact that all discipline by school personnel has been disallowed and removed. That however, for another time.

Other results and consequences of father-absent households:

  • Infant mortality rates are 1.9 times higher for infants of unmarried mothers than for married mothers. Source: Matthews, T.J., Sally C. Curtin, and Marian F. MacDorman. Infant Mortality Statistics from the 1998 Period Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set. National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol.48, Nol.12. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 2000
  • When fathers are involved during the pregnancy, babies have fewer complications at birth. Source: Alio, A.P., Mbah, A.K.,Kornosky, J.LO., Marty, P.J. & Salihu, H.M. “The Impact of Paternal Involvement on Feto-Infant Morbidity among Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics”. Matern Child Health J. 2010; 14(5): 735-41.
  • Babies with a father’s name on the birth certificate are 4 times more likely to live past 1 year of age. Source: Alio,A.P., Mbah, A.K., Kornosky, J.LO., Marty, P.J. & Salihu, H.M. “The Impact of Paternal Involvement on Feto-Infant Morbidity among Whites, Blacks and Hispanics”. Matern Child Health J. 2010; 14(5):735-41
  • A study of 2,921 mothers revealed that single mothers were twice as likely as married mothers to experience a bout of depression in the prior year. Single mothers also reported higher levels of stress, fewer contacts with family and friends, less involvement with church or social groups and less overall social support. Source: Cairney, John and Michael Boyle et al. “Stress, Social Support and Depression in Single and Married Mothers.” Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 38 (August 2003) 442-449
  • A study using a sample of 1,409 rural southern adolescents (851 females and 558 males) aged 11 to 18 years, investigated the correlation between father absence and self-reported sexual activity. The results revealed that adolescents in father-absent homes were more likely to report being sexually active compared to adolescents living with their fathers. The analysis indicates that father absence can have a detrimental effect on adolescents’ lifestyle choices. This study also revealed a statistical significance between father absence and adolescent self-esteem. Source: Hendricks, C.S., Cesario, S.K., Murdaugh, C., Gibbons, M.E., Servonsky, E.J., Bobadilla, R.V., Hendricks, D.L., Spencer-Morgan, B., & Travkoli,A. (2005). The influence of father absence on the self-esteem and self-reported sexual activity of rural southern adolescents. ABNF Journal, 16, 124-131.
  • The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth found that obese children are more likely to live in father-absent homes than are non-obese children. Sounce: National Longitudinal Survey of Youth
  • Children who lived with single mothers were significantly more likely to become obese by a 6-year follow-up, than were black children, children with nonworking parents, children with nonprofessional parents and children whose mothers did not complete high school. Source: Strauss RS, Knight J. “Influence of the home environment on the development of obesity in children.” Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

How can our society continue to demean and denigrate the role of fathers?

“As fathers, we should have a desire to be active participants in our children’s lives.” Asa Don Brown

I can certainly understand why a young man would elect not to be a father, at a particular time in his life. IT’S HARD WORK! A HUGE RESPONSIBILITY! A LONG-TERM COMMITMENT ! If, as a young man, you recognize these things, don’t have unprotected sex!

Once a young man or woman decides to become sexually active, given the availability of virtually fool-proof contraceptives, there is hardly any excuse for unwanted pregnancies!

Yes, there are lots of less-than-ideal, less-than-perfect fathers out there. Fathers are male humans, afflicted with all the sins, shortcomings, maladies, peccadillos and limitations of other humans.

Being a sire, sperm- donor, baby-daddy is easy, ……..being a father is difficult!

If you are a young man and for whatever reasons aren’t ready to be a father, aren’t prepared to rear and support a child, don’t allow yourself to be a “baby-daddy”! Don’t have unprotected sex! It’s that simple.

However, if you are prepared (as prepared as possible, no one can ever be really prepared) and want to be a father, to take on the full weight and responsibility to which such a role obligates you, I humbly offer:

Some Fatherly Advise

Marry and remain married (if at all possible) to the mother of your child.

With fatherhood there are no experts at it and no place go to learn to be one. There is no course you can take.

If you don’t like the way you yourself were reared, make some mental notes, and develop alternative plans. I’m very serious about this! Because when you find yourself in situations with your child, where you don’t know what to do, (and believe me you will……..often) you are bound to draw on the only frame of reference you have……what was done to you, thereby perpetuating the same fatherly shortcomings.   Now maybe what was done to you was the right thing, even though you didn’t like it at the time. In such cases, there is no need for an alternative plan.

All fathers, the best and the worst, have regrets. You won’t get it right every time. Just do the best you can.

Parent more from a positive re-enforcement stance rather than a critical and fault-finding stance.

Have a set of values by which you order your life and live them out in front of your child.

Try to be consistent , but don’t be afraid or ashamed to alter your approach if there is strong evidence to suggest you should.

Live by what you teach/preach. (They pay as much or more attention to what you do as much as what your say.)

Expose them to positive role models. Expose them to friends, family members and colleagues that will hold them to high standards, people who will take an expressed interest in them and who will express to them pride in their accomplishments and achievements and disappointment in their bad behavior and poor performance. They expect your love and approval, surround them by others who they know love them and will expect the same from them.

Be as involved in their lives and activities to the extent your work or profession will allow.

Tell them often that you love them.

Control your temper.

Don’t hesitate to discipline. However, before you summarily discipline, consult their mother and get her buy-in, as she may be the one to enforce the discipline and she may not agree with what you decree. If she doesn’t have buy-in, she won’t enforce the discipline.

Take them to church and attend with them. Teach them right from wrong.

Attend teacher conferences. Join the PTA and attend the meetings.

Know the parents of their friends.

Hold them accountable for their actions.

To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, “don’t be a father half apologetic for having brought his son into the world, afraid to restrain him lest he should create inhibitions or even to instruct him lest he should interfere with his independence of mind.” Sadly I fear, due to the uncertain nature of fatherhood, this is an attitude and example to which our current society often subscribes. “It is a most misleading symbol of the Divine Fatherhood .”

“Love between father and son means essentially authoritative love on the one side, and obedient love on the other.”

You can’t always be their pal, nor should you try. They can and will find pals on the playground and at school. Be their father at all times.

When I was 18 years old, my father was the dumbest man I knew. When I became 25, I was surprised at how much he had learned in the past 7 years.” – Mark Twain

Love and respect their mother.

Never speak ill of their mother, even if you divorce, and regardless of what she may say about/against you. They’ll figure it out in the long run.

“A boy needs a father to show him how to be in the world. He needs to be given swagger, taught how to read a map so that he can recognize the roads that lead to life and the paths that lead to death, how to know what love requires, and where to find steel in the heart when life makes demands on us that are greater than we think we can endure.” ― Ian Morgan Cron, Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me: A Memoir…of Sorts

Fatherhood will be the most difficult, painful, frustrating, exhausting, time-consuming, and at times thankless, rewarding, satisfying, glorious and fulfilling thing you will ever do. The time you spend with them may be brief, but your influence and impact (for good or bad) can last a lifetime.

I feel fortunate to state:

My son is a father,                                                                                                                                                 And as a father he                                                                                                                                                    Is a better father than me.

Perhaps he had a better father than me.

And if lucky we,                                                                                                                                                      His son(s) will be,                                                                                                                                                     a better father than he.

To see an example of what it means to be a father watch ESPN’s E:60 program on Ernie Johnson, or get to know Matthew Burton or his twin brother John.

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Carlyle Bailey Carlyle Bailey

    Keep it up my friend. Another fine piece. It is so rewarding to watch your sons being better fathers than you remember being.

    • BurtonB BurtonB

      Thanks C.K. – appreciate you taking the time to read and respond.

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