- For decades, divorced dads (fathers) have been deliberately and maliciously maligned in the media by taking a few isolated incidents about fathers avoiding their responsibilities and making generalizations about every father. In 1995, Bill Clinton said ‘The single biggest social problem in our society may be the growing absence of fathers from their childrens’ homes because it contributes to so many other social problems.’
- With no political organization supporting them and feminists reinforcing the idea that men oppressed and victimized women, derogatory terms like ‘deadbeat dad’ have became a household term.
- In some cases, the behaviors that society expect from men become a major obstacle to meeting their responsibilities. Social norms reinforce the idea that men need to be self-sufficient. This means that men do not have the support system outside of the family when divorce occurs. When faced with a traumatic event like divorce, men may internalize their problems which create high levels of stress which can trigger health issues. This makes it difficult for them to keep stable relationships with their children outside of their marriage. In the end, men may help unable to handle so they walk away from their children.
- Often, fathers are faced with ex-spouses who may interfere with custody and engage in alienating the child. In one report, 40% of mothers admitted to refusing to allow their children to exercise time with their fathers. Since most mothers have their children at least 70% of the time, it provides ample time to negatively influence the children (even in non-verbal ways).
- Even with changes in family dynamics to two wage-earner/two care-giver households, the court system is still stuck in the one-caregiver, one wage-earner mentality.
- The mother’s attitudes toward the father is often the most important determinant in whether the father and children have a close relationship.