Saturday, May 30, 2009

In OZ ~ A more level playing field ~ Agony of children at divorce has clout

Its interesting how, in this case, active alienation and obstruction by the ex's family ganging up on the other partner worked against the former wife. The judges in OZ seem to be getting it right. Little girl in adult body can't run home to momma and has to stay close to the husband so both can have a meaningful relationship. Gosh maybe she will have to try and get a job too. Here's a definite recruit for Anonymummies the victim feminists from hell. Everybody should start taking marriage and the consequences of breakdown more seriously. If only this was treated seriously here in Canada.MJM<

Caroline Overington | May 30, 2009

Article from: The Australian

THE Family Court has at last recognised the "agony" children suffer during divorce by forcing their warring parents to live close to each other, says a campaigner for the reform introduced by the Howard government.

Michael Green QC, a family law expert who campaigned for the shared parenting amendment enacted in 2006, said yesterday recent decisions proved that the right of a child to have a meaningful relationship with both parents after separation was being taken seriously by the court.

The Australian reported yesterday on the case of Rosa and Rosa, in which a couple moved with their four-year-old daughter to a remote town in northwest Queensland, so the husband could take up a job as a mining engineer.

The marriage broke up six months later. The wife wanted to move back to Sydney, where their daughter was born and had lived four of her five years. She was lonely in the mining town, and living in a caravan, unable to afford anything better.

But the Family Court, and the full bench on appeal, said she could not take her child to Sydney because the reform required judges to presume the best interests of the child were served by having a relationship with both parents.

"I know there are many women associated with the more radical feminist groups who like to underplay the damage done by separation, on children of any age," Mr Green said.

"But in fact the loss, the agony, the child experiences when it loses regular contact with a parent is significant."

Retired Family Court judge Tim Carmody said "it used to be that the mother's right to move with her children was generally seen as compatible with what was in a child's best interests.

"That's no longer necessarily so. The best interests of the child is now seen as being served by having a meaningful relationship with both parents. But what kind of relationship? And at what cost?"

Mr Carmody's decision to leave the Family Court coincided with the reform, and he believes his concern about the ways it would work is now justified, "especially in this situation, where you have a parent condemned to live somewhere they've never really lived, for who knows how long".

Kathryn McMillan SC, a Brisbane family law expert who will speak on the subject at a forum next month, said "relocation cases are always difficult, because it tends to be all or nothing.

"Somebody wants to move, and that means that somebody else is going to lose time with their children.

"One of the questions the judge will sometimes ask is, if I don't allow you to move, will you go without the child?

"Most parents will say, no, of course I won't move without the child.

"And in a sense that means they are damned if they do and damned if they don't, because if they won't move without the child, the judge can make orders that there should be shared parenting, which means they get stuck."

Jacky Campbell of Forte Family Lawyers in Brisbane said the "shared parenting laws are being imposed on people who are not co-operating at all, and the outcome is often poor".

In Rosa and Rosa, the wife's parents, sister and other family members had nothing good to say about her husband, and that played against her because the court thought they wouldn't encourage her to keep the child in contact with her father.

In New Zealand and Elsewhere ~ Divorce hurting boys' education; experts

The educational achievements of New Zealand boys may be falling victim to the soaring divorce rate, according to experts.

The connection has been made as a new report confirms that boys are lagging behind girls at secondary school, with the gap greater in New Zealand than any other developed country.

The findings come in a report by the 30-member Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which compared achievement by 15-year-old boys and girls in 40 countries.

"There are significant gender differences in educational outcomes, and these appear as students grow older," the report said.

Last year's National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) results, released this month, showed girls outperforming boys by wider margins as pupils got older.

St Bede's College rector Justin Boyle pointed to boys' education suffering when parents divorced.

"Invariably, we find if mum and dad have split they (boys) have not had the male role model in their lives to encourage them in a holistic way about how they get educated."

Divorce statistics released this month showed about one-third of New Zealanders who married in 1983 had divorced before their 25th wedding anniversary.

Education consultant Joseph Driessen said children who came from broken homes were typically 25 per cent behind other children in achievement.

"Boys are affected by divorce very deeply because 85 per cent of custody goes to the mother and guys just disappear. That needs to change," he told The Press.

"We need to have a family split-up philosophy where we realise that sons need their fathers. All custody and access should be 50-50." Mr Boyle said boys' schools could help form well-rounded men. "We are in a good position in a boys' school to look at particularly boys' issues and address them head-on," he said.

The OECD report said single-sex schools in New Zealand were more effective for girls than for boys.

A Ministry of Education report released yesterday showed boys outnumbered girls by more than two to one in needing specialist literacy teacher help.

Hands-on dads handle stress better

I was a stay-at-home dad for 10 years raising two of my daughters from infancy, while also supporting a family business by working from home. Your work day can be spread out to cover all of the day while also participating in all school activities including volunteer driving, skating, swimming and gymnastics. The one thing that is fundamental is the day revolves around the children not the business. By having flexibility the business work could be accomplished after the children were in bed at school or the mom came home from work - when mom was around. Despite being one of the best dads a child could have who was devoted 24/7 to them each and every day when mom decides to alienate them for whatever twisted reasons and then takes a run to the DV shelter all bets are off. The machinery of victim feminism kicks in and gender politics takes over. Our court system needs changing to shared and equal parenting/residency for the sake of the children. I proved to myself and hundreds of others that a man socialized to be the breadwinner can readily adapt to that of a nurturing, supportive and loving care giver. I've said it before and I would challenge scientists to follow-up but I believe a man would likely see a drop in testosterone and an increase in female related hormones - but not to the point of losing masculinity! :>) MJM

RECESSION | Recession | Hands-on dads handle stress better

Caregiving can be empowering for fathers who have lost their jobs,
says Daddy Shift author Jeremy Adam Smith.

Valuing home duties and child care helps men cope with job loss
May 29, 2009 04:30 AM

Family issues reporter

Job loss is traumatic. So is financial anxiety. But hands-on fathers who can juggle bath-time, playground jaunts and laundry duty are better equipped to deal with those than earlier generations of men, says the author of a new book on fatherhood.

In Daddy Shift, to be released next month, Jeremy Adam Smith explores how fathers' growing participation in childrearing and domestic duties is transforming modern families.

He says when dads are willing to embrace that, it helps parents and kids cope with the stress of a layoff or reduced work hours – especially at a time when men are harder hit by job losses than women.

"Something good has happened the last few decades and men now have the capacity to take care of their kids when women are in a position to be the breadwinners," Smith, 39, said in a phone interview from his San Francisco home. "If they can focus on that, it will help them to survive unemployment and it will help their families."

Smith's book, which reviews the history, economics and science of male caregiving, comes amid the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Statistics Canada reported earlier this year that two-thirds of those laid off in Canada were men. At the same time, more men have been taking parental leave following the birth of children and opting for fewer hours at work and more time with the kids.

Smith notes that in previous generations a male breadwinner who lost his job would likely withdraw from the family, his identity and self-worth shaken. "It would destroy him, he would actually spend less time around the house, less time with the children," says Smith.

While work is still at the core of most fathers' identity, more men are recognizing the importance and rewards of caring for kids.

"Today if the mother has the capacity (to earn) and the father is thrown into the role of being home, they are more likely to take that responsibility. They won't do it the way mothers do, but they'll do it."

Smith, a magazine editor and writer, became a stay-at-home dad for a year when his son Liko was age 1. He knows what it's like to do dishes with a fussy toddler in the backpack, crave adult company and never have a minute to himself.

He became a dad without a clue how to bathe or change a diaper. He became a primary caregiver while his wife was working full-time just because it was the best arrangement for the family at the time.

"At first I saw only the negative aspects: no regular work, no free time, no adult companionship, no respect ... this was not a role I embraced self-consciously," he writes in Daddy Shift.

But he soon marvelled at the bond he developed with his son and the sense of confidence and competence he gained as a parent. It changed him profoundly. And he thinks more men need to hear from fathers like him.

"My experience as a stay-at-home dad was a growing sense of power as a parent and as a man," he says. Guilt and blame are often used to motivate men to step up with childcare and chores, but Smith says the power angle is a better pitch.

"I think that's how you have to sell it to guys," he laughs. His book signals a shift in the discourse about fatherhood: one that encourages father involvement for the sake of men and their children – not just to help out mothers.

Liko, now 4, is in preschool and Smith and his wife, like a small but growing number of families, have alternated roles over the years. Daddy Shift is not about pitting one family's choices against another. It is more of a call-to-arms for this generation of fathers to be flexible and open-minded about their evolving roles.

Smith stresses that fathers aren't the only ones changing. Mothers have to be willing to let go of the reins and respect that fact that men look after kids differently, he says. In other words, don't judge fathers through the maternal lens.

Studies show men tend to be more comfortable with risk-taking by their offspring and less inclined to introduce toys or mediate a child's independent play.

Daddy Shift was written as a result of Smith's experiences and the dialogue with other parents on his blog Daddy Dialectic. Smith also cites leading Canadian research on fatherhood, including work by Ottawa professor Andrea Doucet and Kerry Daly of Guelph University, who runs the Fatherhood Involvement Research Alliance.

Smith says while there's no ideal formula for dividing and sharing parental roles, the key for the 21st century family is having the flexibility to cope with an unstable economy and an information age that has changed the rules of the working world.

"We haven't achieved economic equality between men and women but the equation has changed and men are changing in response. The question is are we going to embrace that?"

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This should be kept quiet!

This totally goes against everything that feminism has been trying to do for the past 40 years and that is to try and prove that men/fathers are redundant and unnecessary!!!! All we ever hear about is how single-mothers rule and the new "Daddy" in the house is Socialist Government.

Submitted by Alpha-Man at 8:24 PM Friday, May 29 2009

Fathers are Important Too

This is a fantastic article. Older generations of Fathers with traditional gender role considered their ability to be breadwinner and protector as the measure of their self-worth. Modern fathers are moving away from traditional gender roles and are increasingly becoming more involved parents. As a more involved parent, a Father has a greater variety of contributions for establishing their own self- worth and building self-esteem. It is only common sense that providing care for ones children, knowing that you are needed and valuable, could make-up for the loss of ones identity as breadwinner and protector. Divorced Canadian Fathers are particularly faced with a number of very real barriers such as vindictive Mothers and the indifference of Family Law Courts. I congratulate Fatherhood Involvement Research Alliance for recognizing the importance of fully involved and nurturing fathers in the lives of children and working towards a better future for our children.

Submitted by Denis Pakkala at 12:12 PM Friday, May 29 2009

Kidney donations reveal unwelcome familial surprise

Paternity fraud does show up in the most unexpected places. If its 3% in cases of organ transplant what might it be using a much larger sample size. Some estimates have put it at 10%. MJM

Tom Blackwell, National Post Published: Thursday, May 28, 2009

There can be few more intimate familial acts than donating a life-saving kidney to a sick child or parent, but in close to 3% of father-child organ donations, routine testing reveals there is no actual biological relationship between the two family members, a new Canadian study has concluded.

Patients, donors and medical staff surveyed by researchers at the University of Western Ontario were divided on whether transplant programs should disclose such potentially explosive information to the families.

The authors stress that "misattributed paternity" is still relatively uncommon and should not deter people from participating in living donations, a crucial resource in the organ-starved transplant system. But they say hospitals ought to discuss the topic and consider developing policies on when or if to impart the information to donors and recipients. "It's a rare issue, but it can happen and when it does happen it can bring up very big problems," said Ann Young, the doctoral student at Western who led the study, just published in the journal Transplantation.

"You don't know what the outcome is going to be in terms of family dynamics.... Whether it causes family tensions, it definitely causes tension in the transplant centre, debates about what to do."

One Toronto hospital agonized over the question a few years ago when it discovered a young woman about to donate a kidney to her father was not related to him by blood.

The University Health Network's Toronto General eventually decided to inform the pair, partly because it felt the knowledge might affect their decisions to donate, and receive, the organ, said Linda Wright, the network's director of bioethics.

"You could say that you're breaking trust by informing patients of this and maybe blowing their family out of the water," she said. "On the other hand, people come to us and expect us to be truthful.... We sort of felt that to withhold this information would not be right."

The 18-year-old daughter and her 48-year-old father reacted with "shock and distress" but decided to go ahead with the organ donation, said a 2002 article on the case in the journal Seminars in Dialysis. In fact, the daughter said she would have "hated" Toronto General if she had discovered the truth years later and realized the transplant staff had kept it from her.

Although the majority of kidneys transplanted in Canada come from people who have just died, a significant number - 474 out of 1,177 in 2008 - are harvested from relatives or other living donors, according to statistics from the Canadian Institute for Health Information. Living kidney donations also tend to have better success.

Among the battery of screening conducted to determine compatibility is the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) test, a genetic study. If a father and child do not share at least one set of HLA genes along a chromosome, it means they are not biologically related, though it usually says nothing about whether their organs are compatible.

Ms. Young's team at Western and London's Health Sciences Centre analyzed records from kidney-transplant centres across Canada and the United States. Based on the HLA test results, it identified 40 cases of mistaken paternity in Canada between 1992 and 2006, or close to 6% of the father-child pairings. When estimated data error was factored in, though, the rate was lowered to about 2.5%, compared to 1% in the United States.

The 102 doctors, nurses and potential donors and recipients surveyed by the researchers were about evenly split on whether the father-child pairs should be told.

The authors also talked to 13 Canadian transplant programs, discovering only one had a formal policy on how to handle the dilemma. Another centre described using a case-by-case approach, while a third said it would never share such information, as it was not medically relevant.

The Toronto UHN has a policy, and now asks father-child donors and recipients ahead of time whether they would want to know if the test revealed they were not blood relatives, Ms. Wright said.

National Post