Breaking Brown

October 27, 2011

rethinking deadbeat dads

Heartbreaking. But I’m less interested in bashing her sperm donor as I am in understanding his emotional hollowness. Professional pontificators usually pin male abandonment on emotional immaturity, then proceed to bash the “deadbeat” for neglecting his duty as a husband and father because, intertwined in a girl’s pain is, of course, a mother’s pain.  In many instances, the mother also considers herself abandoned and when the toxic brew of unrequited love – no wedding, honeymoon, or traditional home life – meets doing double duty as mother and father, a perfect storm commences.

A person close to me once told me that a man loves his children through the mother. If he’s in love with the mother, or at minimum, has a reasonably good relationship with her, then he’s a stand up dad to the kid. If not, all bets are off. Again, another oversimplification, but I wouldn’t write it off as a factor. The girl in this video breaks down as she describes how her biological depositor cares for his girlfriend’s kids but not her. What is the tie that binds this guy to kids with whom he has no genes in common, but not his own flesh and blood?

The fact that men who’ve abandoned their own children take on the children of others flies in the face of the popular narrative that absent fathers are just shirking responsibility. They’re not, at least not all of them. And for the record, I never bought into this blanket explanation for the same reason that I never bought into the Right wing charge that welfare queens were living the high life, eating Cheetos and drinking malt liquor, on the taxpayer’s dime. Anyone without a job, ambition, resources, or an ecosystem that sustains her is not living anybody’s high life. More likely, she’s resigned herself to a plight which she feels is inevitable.

So what am I missing here? What is the inevitable factor that makes a dude say, “yeah, fuck these kids over here, Imma go try my hand elsewhere”..?

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4 thoughts on “rethinking deadbeat dads

  1. Black Yoda says:

    This is why I argue for things like equal rights when it comes to parental termination and automatic joint custody coupled with an elimination of child support (assuming both parents are fit). I get into arguments with feminists (men and women) all the time who think I’m trying to take away female privilege or advantage with my recommendations, but my goal is to greatly reduce the number of children suffering like the girl in the clip.

    The only way to do this is to make sure both parents want the children. What we have now is a case where women decide they want the kids (for whatever reason) and men must simply abide by their choice and become financially responsible for them. The problem is if you have to force someone to be a parent, then he or she really isn’t a parent at all. He might send a check if you’re lucky, but do you think Jasmin’s problem is about money? Financial hardships cause stress, but she’s clearly is suffering because she has no personal relationship with her father.

    She’s a young lady right now, but what kind of relationships can we realistically expect her or others like her to have in the future? They’re probably going to be dysfunctional. I’m not talking in absolutes here, but let’s be honest: She is going to refer to her severally flawed notions of what men are and what they do. There’s a good chance she’s going to replicate the kind of unhealthy relationship she’s had with her father. What kind of positive, healthy relationships (with men) can she possibly have with all that hurt and bitterness inside? If she has kids, I fully expect her to be a single parent. If she can’t find a man who will abandon/abuse her, she’ll find a good man and force him to leave by making it impossible for him to want to stay. Of course, men always leave so that will be no surprise to her. In any case, she won’t need a man to raise her daughter or son (shivers at the thought). The government can be the surrogate father in the household. This is a mess all around. I’m not sure anything can be done. I fear we may be past the tipping point.

  2. Yvette says:

    But Yoda, isn’t it true that both people decide they want kids when they have sex without protection? At this point, we all know that egg + sperm = one hell of a responsibility. With the advent of condoms and spermicides, shouldn’t men take responsibility for their role in baby making? Taking necessary precautions avoids both the trauma of the abortion clinic (and don’t believe the hype, I know enough women to know that that experience is a trauma that never fades into the recesses of your mind) and the baby.

    Unless the father has an addiction or is neglectful, I would consider automatic joint custody. I don’t feel that men should be forced to be 50% financially responsible while not having regular access to their children. I would also argue for restructuring child support contribution so that it’s not so burdensome on men. If a man feels like his life is being diminished by his child, it spurs resentment. Yes, the resentment is misplaced, but that’s not the point now is it?

  3. Black Yoda says:

    Yes, men can use protection and sometimes it fails. What then? It’s still pretty much “Oh Well, sex can always lead to pregnancy. You knew the risks. Pay up.” My argument is after conception. A woman can choose not to be a parent well after conception. She can choose not to be a parent even after birth. I think men should have the same choice. The point is not to let men off the hook, but to get everyone to think more carefully about the welfare of children. Women should be more selective about the men they let impregnate them. I think this is more likely to happen if they know the government won’t play fake daddy for them. Men should work harder to show they are ready, willing and able to take care of kids. I think having more selective women does this…lol You could argue that this places more of the onus on the woman(at least upfront) since she is charged with taking greater care when it comes to the men she allows into her body, but I think the potential benefits far outweigh the loss of not being impregnated by a loser, don’t you think? In any case, I think men and women should have the same rights and privileges under the law. I like to present the following scenario to illustrate why I take the position that I do. Imagine a women is pregnant and wants to have an abortion. But, because men and women are equally responsible for the pregnancy, she can’t get an abortion or give the child up for adoption without the consent of the father. What if he refuses to sign off because he wants the baby? Would you be quick to tell her that sex involves risk and now you’ve got to pay the price? What kind of parent do you think she might be if she’s forced to parent? When you really start to flip the script in some of these cases, it becomes clear why there’s so much poor parenting all around. And it’s the kids who suffer the most. Even if you put together a task force to get every penny of child support owed, you still would have videos like the one you posted. I can’t see anything changing unless you have people who freely choose to be parents. And I can’t see that happening unless the government steps the fuck out. The only time a government agency should be involved is during an emergency situation(an immediate threat to the well-being of someone). Other than that, I say step the fuck off. My two cents. You’ll come around to my side, Yvette. Yes, you will. All I have to do is find a way to layer my thoughts between delicious wafers and give it a coating of sweet, sweet chocolate. :0) :0)

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