We've got to get out of this mode that men are evil and negative and that they don't belong at home. We need to start a ... discussion [about] ... what it's going to take as a society to get dads connected back with their children.
--Eloise Anderson, Director, California Department of Social Services

Myth America

The Myth of the "Deadbeat Dad"

Perhaps no other group suffers as much stigma and public scorn than absent and separated fathers. There is a destructive myth that pervades society centered around a character called the "deatbeat dad." This largely mythical beast stashes money and assets in offshore investments, hob-nobs with friends at the country club, and jets off to St. Moritz to ski the slopes with his new girlfriend, while mom and the kids languish on AFDC at taxpayers' expense.

Nothing could be farther from the truth!

In fact:

The Truth about the Myths about Least-seen Parents:

Myth: $34 billion in child support goes unpaid every year.
The Truth: According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, the actual amount of child support owed under support orders in the U.S. was $17.7 billion for 1992, the last year for which figures are available. Of that total, the government reported that fully $11.9 billion was paid. This leaves a shortfall of $5.8 billion in unpaid support; shameful, but not as shameful as the campaign of misinformation surrounding the $34 billion number...
Myth: The March of Dimes reports that spousal abuse is the leading cause of stillbirths and birth defects.
The Truth: The March of Dimes knows of no such study.
Myth: The phrase, "rule of thumb" comes down to us from the age of patriarchy, when husbands were allowed to beat their wives, as long as the stick were no thicker than a man's thumb.
The Truth: There has never existed such a statute in any jurisdiction in North America and Western Europe. According to etymologist Robert Claiborne, writing in Red Herrings and Loose Cannons, a Book of Lost Metaphors, the phrase actually derives from the age-old practice of carpenters who would use the fact that the width of the male adult thumb is approximately one inch; these workmen would then use their thumbs as substitutes for rules (rulers); alternatively, early brewmasters checked the temperature of their vats with their thumbs. So, any simple procedure yielding approximate results came to be known as a "rule of thumb."
Myth: The word "testy" derives from men being more prone to anger or to bludgeoning their way through arguments. Such a male is full of testosterone, or "testy."
The Truth: Testy comes to the English language from the Old English testif, meaning "headstrong" then through the Old French term teste, or "head." It came to be applied to an ill-tempered person. Testosterone, of course, is derived from the fact that it is the steroid produced by the testes. While testes are indeed gender-specific, both genders possess heads in very nearly the same number, and so, have an equal opportunity to be "testy."
Myth: Fathers' rights is a "men only" issue!
The Truth: This myth is best disspelled by all the paternal grandmothers who have lost contact with their grandchildren through divorce; by the new wives who must cope with excessive child support payments to an ex-wife, as well as her husband's frustrated attempts to see his children; by the daughter who is now grown, but remembers vividly the pain of father loss; and by the many women who want to marry and have children, but find men unable to make a commitment.
Myth: Voting for father issues is political suicide for politicians; it alienates more than half the voters -- all the women.
The Truth: See the answer above...
Myth: Joint custody kids are harmed by all the moving and changes they must endure; they are "shuttlecock kids."
The Truth: This assertion has never been backed by even empirical evidence, much less any research findings. Ample evidence exists, on the other hand, that developing children flourish in environmental stimulation, and are better able to transition between households than adults.

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This page last updated Saturday, 11 June, 2005 by:

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