Even if we don't believe in the myth of Ward Cleaver and other old TV dads any more, most of us aren't really sure what to believe instead. Evidence is mounting that our confusion about fatherhood is affecting our children and helping to create a climate of lowered expectations and poor self-esteem. Throwaway Dads
breaks down many of the barriers men must confront to become good fathers, and suggests new ways in which men, women, and our culture can view this role in the hope of turning the disturbing trend around and raising happier, healthier kids.
Psychologist Ross Parke and parenting writer Armin A. Brott combine research on fatherhood with practical alternatives to current thinking to create a feisty, thought-provoking read. Why do most media images of fathers show them as incompetent, lazy, or frightening? Studies suggest that these stereotypes are far from reality but stick in our minds nonetheless, creating a difficult environment for men to nurture children. In fact, say Parke and Brott, most men are doing their best in the absence of formal guidelines, and paternal involvement is crucial for children to develop independence, social skills, and school performance. By encouraging "parenting partnerships" and new images of men as concerned, active parents, the authors hope to reverse our current direction and make the concept of throwaway dads a thing of the past. --Rob Lightner
From Publishers Weekly
Parke, a psychologist, and Brott, author of The Expectant Father and other books on fatherhood, want to set the record straight: the entire world, they say, is against fathers. Government, cheered on by the media, throws up barriers at every turn. Women are the worst: protective of their power, they have conspired to keep men from their children, even defining the paternal role as purely biological. These accusations, like many of the authors' sweeping generalizations, harbor grains of truth, but the tone of this book is absurdly adversarial. Feminists such as French, Faludi, Brownmiller et al., contend Parke and Brott, have convinced us that the greatest threat to our children may well be their fathers. They claim that a hostile society has ghettoized fathers into types: biologically unfit, dangerous, deadbeats or useless. Arguably, welfare laws have disenfranchised many fathers; accusations of sexual abuse are sometimes used against dads without foundation in custody cases; and children raised by both a mother and a father do, according to some studies, statistically have a better chance at better lives. But Parke and Brott present their argument as new, when, in fact, Americans of diverse conviction have been making the case for dads for some time?whether it's the Christian men's Promise Keepers movement, the Nation of Islam's Million-Man March or working parents lobbying for paternal leave. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Psychologist Parke and Brott, the author of books like The Expectant Father, on making the most of fatherhood.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
A wide-ranging, cool-headed response to the current predilection for dissing all the dads. Although the tide may be turning, there is still a strong tendency in the media and elsewhere to blame fathers for much of what is wrong with the American f amily: deadbeat dad is a favorite epithet, absent fathers a prevalent image. Parke (Psychology/Univ. of Calif., Riverside; Fathers, 1981) and Brott (The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the Toddler Years, not reviewed) set out to correct those prejudices, plu s other negative mythic notions about the paterfamilias. A prevalent assumption: Though it's good to have a father around, its still not so important to the childs development. Contradicting this, the authors cite studies suggesting that not only do teena gers with involved fathers tend to stay the course in school, getting better grades, but fathers who play with their children from the earliest years significantly influence intellectual and emotional development. Other myths reassessed include the idea t hat fathers are inferior caretakers, that theyre dangerous or even abusive, and that theyre lazy and irresponsibleas well as bumbling and useless. Analyzing both the men's and women's movements, Parke and Brott conclude that neither is getting across the message that ``fathers matter.'' Moreover, they argue, women's organizations have been particularly damaging to the cause with their embrace of such tactics as opposing joint custody. The final chapter lists the sometimes deceptively simple actions that m en, women, and their communities can take to encourage fathering. An important step in illuminating many of the issuesignorance, false assumptions, and power strugglesthat hold men back from full participation in raising their children. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Armin Brott has written about fatherhood for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and many other publications. He is the author of The Expectant Father, The New Father, and a Dad's Guide to the Toddler Years. He lives in Berkeley, California.
Ross Parke, a professor of psychology at the University of California at Riverside, has more than thirty years of experience researching and writing about fatherhood. He lives in Riverside, California.