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Monday, January 21, 2013

Families, Daddy Ethics, and Drug Abuse




The struggle against drug abuse must take place in the homes of every community. Without more effective strategies that reach those in their abodes, abuse will continue to ravage our country. Now, the once-durable, resilient, social fabrics of family and community have become worn and weak under the increased pressures of modern living.

Stress over jobs, housing, low income, health care, child care, child custody and support, and retirement are pushing middle and lower class American to the brink. And, naturally, American families are wilting under all the pressure.

What is happening to morals within the concept of the changing American "family"?

Adults see a definite decline in moral character. A cultural values survey of 2,000 American adults in 2007, given by the Culture and Media Institute, found that 74 percent of all Americans believed that our nation is in a moral decline.

Are family values weakening when we need them most? Well, consider that the U.S. Census Bureau in 2009 estimated there are approximately 13.7 million single parents in the United States today, and those parents are responsible for raising 21.8 million children (approximately 26% of children under 21 in the U.S.).

A significant number of mothers and fathers are not teaching their children the values they need to make good decisions and resist the evils of drug abuse.

A Tale of Two Fathers

A report released in 2011 by the Pew Research Center, A Tale of Two Fathers: More Are Active, but More are Absent, presents a disturbing picture of fatherhood in America today. One part of the report analyzes the degree of involvement biological fathers who both do and who do not live with their kids have in their children’s lives. The other part addresses the increasing number of men 18 to 44-years of age who are fathers and whose children have been born out of wedlock.




"One of the key findings is that a large segment of the population (31%) does not think a father in the home is essential to a child’s happiness."

Nearly half (46%) of all men 18 to 44-years of age who are biological fathers report that at least one of their children was born out of wedlock.

"Additionally, nearly a third (31%) says that all of their children have been born outside of marriage, and 17% of these men have fathered children with more than one woman."

One of the principle causes of child poverty in the U. S. today is the absence of a married father in the home.

"In 2009, single-parent female-headed households had a poverty rate of 37.1% compared with 6.7% for married two-parent households, according to the American Community Survey, a data set regularly released by the U.S. Census Bureau."

And according to a December 2010 National Vital Statistics Report generated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 41% of all births in the U.S. occur outside of marriage.

"Children born to a single mother have an 82% greater chance of living in poverty than those born to married parents."

The Pew report indicates that the younger a father is, the more likely he is not married to the mother of his children.

Three-quarters (76%) of biological dads 20 to 24-years old have children born outside of marriage; almost two thirds (62%) of biological dads who are 25 to 29-years old have children born out of wedlock; and half (50%) of biological dads 30 to 34-years old have children born out of wedlock.
Along with age, race and ethnicity are important factors in out of wedlock fatherhood.

While 37% of white fathers have had a child born out of wedlock, 72% of black men who are biological fathers have a child out of wedlock as do 59% of Hispanic biological fathers.

YET...

"According to A Tale of Two Fathers, married fathers with children 18 and younger spend on average 6.5 hours a week caring for, teaching and playing with their children compared to fathers in 1965 who spent on average 2.6 hours a week in these activities."

AND...

"Contrasting the time married mothers and married fathers spend with their children, mothers today with children under 18 spend on average 12.9 hours engaged in parenting activities compared with mothers in 1965 who spent 10.6 hours."




Although married fathers with children 18 and younger are more engaged in direct care and parenting than their cohorts were four decades ago, more than a quarter (27%) of fathers today do not live with their children. This contrasts with U.S. Census Bureau data from 1960 when 11% of fathers did not live with their children.

"More than a quarter (27%) of the fathers who do not live with their children today did not see their kids once during the past year."

According to the report, biological fathers today who live with their children 18 years of age and younger are actively engaged in care taking, teaching and playing with their children. Men who do not live full-time with their children report less involvement, though 22% of these dads see their children at least once a week if not more and 29% see their children up to four times a month.




To compensate for a lack of face time, 41% of fathers who do not live with their kids call and email their kids.

"With so many fathers playing such a peripheral or non-existent role in the lives of their children, it is little wonder that the public has grown increasingly accustomed to and accepting of the single-mother household, despite the fact that it places women and children at such a high risk of poverty."
 
 (Patti Brown, "Fatherhood 2011: A Disturbing Picture,"
The Iowa Republican, June 19 2011)
 
(Original Source: Gretchen Livingston and Kim Parker, "A Tale of Two Fathers,
Pew Research and Social Trends, June 15, 2011) 

Article here: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2011/06/15/a-tale-of-two-fathers/ 

My Take

Everyone understands that when a man and a woman have a child, their responsibilities skyrocket. Seemingly overnight, the good old days of "self choosing" and independent living vanish. The needs of a child present a mom and a dad with unavoidable challenges and hardships. A good parent prepares to meet these difficulties with warm, open arms. Bad parents shirk responsibilities.

In most cases, both a mother and a father must make tremendous sacrifices to feed, clothe, house, and educate a youngster. Despite the new pressures that bear on the parents, they must work together to insure the welfare of their child. To do less would certainly place that child at risk.

Seeing, "being with," and playing with a child is not enough to nurture and prepare that youngster for life. Teaching a child requires extended communication and a slow development of trust. Nothing is wrong with play. It just doesn't substitute for care.

It seems as if many parents these days believe a child learns good character by some kind of magical osmosis that occurs when the child is nearby a decent influence -- a coach, a community member, a relative. Some decrease their own personal time with their child by enrolling the kid in scads of organized activities. Again, there is nothing necessarily wrong with other influences. But nothing substitutes for "parent time."

And, I hear parents talking about "quality time" together with a child consisting of watching organized activities like sports, going to the movies, or having some other pleasurable outing. Children learn most morals from their major influences by watching them make good daily decisions in real life situations and modeling good behavior, even in tough times. Parents who just schedule entertaining "dates" for a kid soon learn that their child expects more.

It's time for all parents, single and married, to teach their children about substance abuse. They shouldn't expect a school or a program to instill all the essential values needed to make good decisions. Teaching a child about abuse means being re-educated with research-based knowledge. Parents must commit to this duty in order to protect their loved ones. Then, the parents can incorporate this knowledge and behavior into their own instruction of good ethical behavior.

The threat of drugs is real and it is constant. One serious mistake can take a child's life. Children need to know that drug use is a potential killer, a killer that can be turned away with solid, correct decisions... and, of course, their parents help.

Social and political scientist, the late James Q. Wilson (May 27, 1931 – March 2, 2012),  wrote that ``the powers exercised by the institutions of social control have been constrained and people, especially young people, have embraced an ethos that values self-expression over self-control.''

Wilson was a staunch advocate for perseverance in the U.S. War on Drugs, saying:
"Even now, when the dangers of drug use are well understood, many educated people still discuss the drug problem in almost every way except the right way. They talk about the 'costs' of drug use and the 'socioeconomic factors' that shape that use. They rarely speak plainly—drug use is wrong because it immoral, and it is immoral because it enslaves the mind and destroys the soul."
 (Quoted in W. J. Bennett, Body Count, 1996)

Other social scientists agree: Society now places less value than before on what we owe to others as a matter of moral obligation; less value on sacrifice as a moral good; less values on social conformity and respectability; and less value on correctness and restraint in matters of physical pleasure and sexuality.

Walker Percy (1916 – 1990), American author who devoted his literary life to the exploration of "the dislocation of man in the modern age," was once asked what concerned him most about America's future.  He answered:

"Probably the fear of seeing America with all its great strength and beauty and freedom ... gradually subside into decay through default and be defeated, not by the Communist movement demonstrably a bankrupt system but from within by weariness, boredom, cynicism, greed, and in the end helplessness before its great problems."

Alexander Solzhenitsyn put it this way:

"The West...has been undergoing an erosion and obscuring of high moral and ethical ideals. The spiritual axis of life has grown dim.''

To what degree is the family causing With the release of new 2011 teen drug abuse statistics by the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuses at Columbia University, the numbers show drug abuse is rising among teens after having been in a state of decline over the past 10 years. These new findings of the 2011 teen drug abuse statistics indicate that more teens are turning to marijuana, underage drinking and abusing other addictive drugs and substances as a way to cope with stress. Many teens in the study reported having an abundance of stress in their lives, which is why they turn to drug use as a coping mechanism.

Could it be that only when we Americans turn to the right things -- enduring, noble, spiritual things --will life get better? Premature stress in our children is something that we can help reduce. Young adults need less stress in their lives, and parents need to help their children manage their lives sensibly.

To me, parents who deny their responsibilities to raise a child with morals and ethics that will greatly enhance the child's chances of well-being should never have chosen to be parents. I don't understand a mother or a father who abandons that charge. Each child must be lovingly guided by parents
through innocent days and nurtured into maturity. Children need loving, intelligent, ethical PARENTS to become well-adjusted, loving adults. Drug abuse will go down significantly as people make good choices.

What's the alternative finality to the drug abuse epidemic? A drugged person, a child or an adult, cannot endure the constant strain of meeting challenges of an ever-changing life. Far too many people today are trying to maneuver dangerous straits of life alone and stoned. They fail miserably. Look at the results in our jails, our rehabs, and our families.

If we let these people drift without taking control of the "wheel" of our own responsibilities, far more of them will drown in poisonous waters and the shores of America will be teeming with the dead bodies of our failures. 


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