Today society allows or even encourages women to take on traditionally male roles such as working outside the home. There are lots of households where for the first time the woman makes more than the man. However, according to a new study, men are caught in gender roles and it may be to society’s detriment. There has been tremendous change for the charge of feminism. We have seen dramatic transformations in American attitudes toward homosexuals. However, our concept on heterosexual masculinity hasn’t changed. Though we are seeing more stay at home dads, they make up only 1% of marriages. Men continue to be rare in traditional female industries such as childcare, nursing or secretarial work. In a recent Pew Research Center survey, 51% of Americans believed that children were raised better if their mother remained in the home. Yet, a scant 8% said this about fathers. Even wanting time off was considered less masculine according to a study out of the University of Florida.
In our overtly masculine culture, even though gender roles have changed for women, any boy who exhibits feminine behavior is still ostracized. Sociology professor Barbara Risman of the University of Chicago said of this phenomenon, “If girls call themselves tomboys, it’s with a sense of pride. But boys make fun of other boys if they step just a little outside the rigid masculine stereotype.” Global Toy Experts did a survey and found that over 50% of women wouldn’t give their son a doll, but only 32% said the same thing about giving a toy truck or car to a girl.
Boys don’t veer off from masculine toys. Those that do, try on dresses, wear pink or like Disney Princesses are maligned by their peers and thought of as weird or strange by adults. Some students are even threatened and ridiculed. A story recently in the L.A. Times talked about a Los Angeles couple who was slurred on the internet because their son preferred traditionally female toys to male ones, even though he self-identifies with being a boy. Though between the years of 1971 to 2011 women have flooded into male industries such as law, finance, business, and the hard sciences, only 2% of men have gone into education, the arts and so on. How will this play out as our society progresses? Will we see a loss of femininity in our culture? Or will men become more feminine? In the decades to come even more sweeping changes are bound to shift our society. For more on this topic, read Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Differenceby Cordelia Fine.
Lots of men are angry and hurt when faced with divorce papers. Due to these emotions, fathers make common mistakes in the divorce process and end up hurting their wallets, their children, even themselves. With a little forethought and preparation you can avoid these hazards and help make the transition as smooth as possible for you and your children.
Lots of guys for instance use litigation as a force for revenge. They drive up the cost as a tactic to try to make their ex crack. Everyone in the process suffers because of it and you come out looking like the bad guy. Some states even have laws against this. If you purposely make moves in order to drive up the cost you could be hit with a pretty hefty fine. Instead, think of your overall goals. Don’t be led astray by an attorney who would want to take part in such practices. Do your research and pick an attorney that’s right for you. Keep your emotions in check and don’t use the legal process as a vindictive device, or a way to throw a temper tantrum.
Another problem lots of men make is financially stretching themselves too thin. There is alimony, child support, and your own expenses. You could easily work yourself to death and not get anywhere in the process. Make sure you plan out your financial goals and strategy with an attorney, perhaps even an accountant. Having a financial game plan in place will help you manage your life properly. You’ll also want to consult with an attorney concerning your goals in regards to your children. Do you want joint custody, visitation or what? Know what you are aiming for, what is reasonable, what emotional state your ex is in and what she will likely go for. The most important thing of course is the children. But a lot of couples get caught in trying to hurt one another and the kids get caught in the middle.
That said, it’s also important not to give in too much and miss out on having the kids in your life. Children need love, support and attention from both parents regularly. Don’t compromise them out of your life. Do not use the children as leverage in any way. Not only is this despicable it will hurt your relationship with them. Lastly, don’t let child support payments pile up unattended. Or else, with penalties and fees, you’ll soon find yourself in the poor house. For more advice read, Fathers’ Rights: Hard-Hitting and Fair Advice for Every Father Involved in a Custody Dispute by Jeffery M. Leving and Kenneth A. Dachman, Ph.D.
Over the years, the role of fathers in the U.S. has steadily changed and continues to change. Fathers, in the general sense, are spending more quality time with their children and playing a more active role in their children’s lives. This is of course when fathers are given the opportunity to be with their children. Too often we still see fathers who are cast aside following a divorce or separation. Their role as parent is undermined and primary importance is placed on the mother and the wellbeing of the children. Not only does this have a negative impact on fathers, but research has shown repeatedly that this has adverse effects on children as well.
Fathers may play a very different role in the lives of their children as compared with mothers, although this isn’t always the case, but that doesn’t make their role any less important to the overall wellbeing of their children. Research continually has expressed the importance of children having father figures involved in their lives on a regular basis. A big problem that persists in our society is the prevalence of mothers gaining sole custody with limited visitation rights given to the father. Many fathers have described this type of limited interaction as being awkward and often unnatural. This also gives the message to all people involved that fathers don’t play an important or necessary role in the lives of their children. When given this message, many fathers naturally feel insignificant and at times will give up trying to gain increased visitation or shared custody because they’re essentially told that they’re not an important aspect of their children’s lives.
Now more than ever we should be encouraging fathers to play an active role in the lives of their children because we know the positive impact they can have when given the opportunity. There are always cases of negligent or abusive fathers, which can be excluded here, but there are many more fathers who are eager to play an active role in the lives of their children but fall short because of the lack of importance they’re given by the legal system and by society in general. The best thing we can do is acknowledge the importance of fathers, give them praise for the good they do and for their efforts, and allow them the time with their children both they and their kids deserve. For the benefit of everyone, fathers need to be given a chance.
According to the American Bar Association, 21% of fathers make false allegations in divorce cases, while only 1.3% of mothers do. This is contrary to the popular myth that mothers make false allegations in order to gain child custody. For instance, allegations of child sexual abuse only occur in about 6% of all divorce cases within the U.S., and 2 out of 3 of those allegations are confirmed.
It has been found that mothers are much more likely to tell the truth during a divorce case than fathers are. It is usually only seen in extreme cases of parental abuse, neglect, or drug abuse by the mother, where we see intentionally false allegations made by the mother in order to detract from the mother’s own wrong-doing.
It’s still much more common to see mothers gain custody over fathers, which gives fathers more incentive to make false allegations against mothers. In court, a judge is looking for the most suitable parent for the children involved, so if one parent cannot prove the other to be “unfit”, it is unlikely that either of them will gain full custody of the children. The most desirable outcome is awarding joint custody, however, many parents going through a divorce refuse to settle for this type of judgment, as it requires too much cooperation between the two parties.
In the U.S, more and more fathers are winning custody of their children in divorce cases. The reason for this is that more fathers are fighting for gender equality within the court system. Child custody is supposed to be decided based primarily on the best interest of the child, which isn’t always the mother. Although it’s still more common to see mothers gain custody of their children, the court system now requires a lot more information about each parent before making this decision.
If you’re a father trying to gain child custody, gather as much evidence as you can in regards to your relationship with your child. Also, keep in mind that most courts will try to award joint custody and will only give primary custody if that’s agreed upon between both parties or one of the parents is proven to be an “unfit” parent. It’s also helpful to have people in your life who can act as character witnesses, or people who can attest to your positive relationship with your child/children.