As you celebrate Father’s Day today, remember the [approximately] two million single fathers living with their children under age of 18; 17% of single parents in the United States are men. As of 2016:
- 9% were raising three or more children younger than age 18.
- About 40% were divorced, 38% were never married, 16% were separated, and 6% were widowed.
- About 46% had an annual family income of $50,000 or more.
Source: Current Population Survey 2016
The idea of
Father’s Day was conceived more than a century ago by Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Wash., while she listened to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Dodd wanted a special day to honour her father, William Smart, a widowed Civil War veteran who was left to raise his six children on a farm. A day in June was chosen for the first Father’s Day celebration, June 19, 1910, proclaimed by Spokane’s mayor because it was the month of Smart’s birth.
Sometimes in society, the role of the single dad is diminished by the “baby daddy” syndrome. The baby daddy syndrome is the stereotypical thinking that the majority of single dads are deadbeat, especially in the black community.
The baby daddy syndrome along with other single parent stereotypes should be disquieting to all. The following stereotypes are the ones that I believe are the most troubling for men:
- Gender stereotypes.
- Custody disparity.
- Black single-parent households.
Gender stereotype of the deadbeat parent
Who’s more likely to be delinquent on child support restitution moms or dads?
Yup, you didn’t guess correctly. Moms! Let that sink in for a bit before you continue reading.
If we are brutally honest, there are a lot of deadbeat fathers roaming around that don’t take responsibility for their kids and are delinquent on child support. We also need to acknowledge there are also a meaningful amount of mothers that don’t take care of their kids and are also overdue on child support restitution.
From the article Are Moms Less Likely Than Dads To Pay Child Support? by FiveThirtyEight
…in 2011, we found that 32% of custodial fathers didn’t receive any of the child support that had been awarded to them compared to 25% of custodial moms.
in 2015 according to the US Census Bureau, 41.3% of custodial fathers did not receive child support as compared to 28.8% of custodial mothers.
The census data contradicts the social stereotypes of deadbeat parents primarily being male. Another intriguing fact in the study shows that the proportion of fathers being awarded custody is on the rise.
Currently, 19.6% of fathers are the custodial parents, and 80.4% of mothers are the custodial parent.
Fathers have become more likely to be custodial parents over the past 22 years, increasing from 16% in 1994 to 19.6% in 2016.
Source – U.S. Census Bureau
Custody disparity between mothers and fathers
A disproportionate amount of custody is awarded to mothers versus fathers. Only one in five of every custodial guardian is a father. The custody inequality in granting custodial care to mothers vs fathers date back to the nineteenth century and the Tender Years Doctrine.
The Tender Years Doctrine was a family law principle that began in 1881 and held that children should remain in their mother’s care following a divorce as mothers are best equipped to meet the children’s needs. The Tender Years Doctrine was determined to discriminate against, and violate, the rights of fathers and other caretakers.
The earliest case I could fine leveraging the tender years’ doctrine was Miner v Miner from the Illinois Supreme court that stated
[A]n infant of tender years is generally left with the mother, (if no objection to her is shown to exist) even when the father is without blame, merely because of his inability to bestow upon it that tender care which nature requires, and which it is the peculiar province of a mother to supply.’
In the early twentieth century as more women began to enter the workforce the tender years’ doctrine was replaced with “the best interest of the child.” Tilting the scales from being profoundly biased to be quite idiosyncratic.
Courts use the following subjective criteria to determine “the best interest of the child“: “the parents’ relative stability, home environment, and emotional health.”
Black single-parent households
About half -52%- of black children has a parent who lives outside their home which is double the number for that of white kids. I believe that the higher incarceration rate of African-Americans is contributing to the higher percentage of black children living in single-parent homes.
In closing, kids need both parents active and participating in their lives. If you are a father or baby daddy be better than your best to overcome the social stereotypes. If you are interested in additional dad facts, click here.
If you are a single dad leave us a comment below on your experience.
“U.s. Census Bureau Facts For Features: Father’s Day: June …” N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Jun. 2018 <https://www.yahoo.com/news/u-census-bureau-facts-features-fathers-day-june-18390>
“Gender Bias In Child Custody By Randi Dawson On Prezi.” N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Jun. 2018 <https://prezi.com/mluv5gmdefoe/gender-bias-in-child-custody/>.