- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (Dec 28 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0395860415
- ISBN-13: 978-0395860410
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 22.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 499 g
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,488,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Throwaway Dads: The Myths and Barriers That Keep Men from Being the Fathers They Want to Be Hardcover – Dec 28 1998
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
There is an apparent general tendency within our society to view the role of fathers in the upbringing of their children as either useless or irrelevant.
Stereotypes such as lazy, deadbeat, dangerous, bumbling or even biologically unfit are rampant within the print media as well as television.
Unfortunately, these myths all have a lasting influential effect as to how children and parents view fatherhood. There are also barriers, some subtle, some blatant, that hinder fathers from taking more of an active participation in the upbringing of their children. To put it bluntly, "the cards are stacked against fathers."
University of California at Riverside psychology professor Ross D. Parke and veteran journalist Armin A. Brott have teamed up to debunk many of these falsehoods in their probing book Throwaway Dads: The Myths and Barriers That Keep Men From Being the Fathers They Want To Be
As a result of the immense research and study the authors have devoted to the subject matter, the book presents some very convincing arguments that counter many of the accepted allegations that are propagated by various so called experts.
Startling revelations that are seldom presented in the media seem to indicate that even many professionals such as social workers, lawyers, therapists, medical doctors and investigators contribute to some of the unfair actions that are directed towards fathers. Very often the onus is on men to prove their parental fitness, whereas in the case of women it is presumed. This is particularly evident in cases of child custody.
The authors offer solutions to resolve some of the issues. However, as they assert: "promoting a cultural change in the ways that society views fathers and the ways that men view themselves in this role is not an easy task. No single program, book, or corporate policy alone is going to change fathering in our time."
Those searching for well-balanced arguments pertaining to the subject matter of the importance of fatherhood will find this book extremely thought provoking. The concluding suggestions as to how to overcome some of the obstacles that keep fathers away from their children are illuminating and to a certain extent original.
Norm Goldman Editor of Bookpleasures.com
Parents and policy makers should read this book while thinking about the climate of paradox, inequity and, often outright hatred of fathers we have created. A climate that await our own sons. All the inequities in the treatment of fathers currently found in the media, courts, state and federal government agencies will likely be visited upon them too, once they become fathers. The authors offer many suggestions for changes to the legal and political climate that would serve to reposition fathers as significant, valuable and necessary partners in parenthood. This book is a well written addition to discussion of the topic.
While reading this book at the local coffee house, I witnessed the following exchange between two women in their early twenties. An exchange that illustrates one of "Throwaway Dads" basic premises. That, with the exception of financial support, father's are now oftentimes extraneous. I was at the same time, shocked and saddened.
Woman One (ecstatic) - "I'm pregnant!"
Woman Two (also excited) - "Really... Do you know who's it is?"
Woman One (more ecstatic) - "No!"
Woman Two - "Do you care???"
Woman One (even more ecstatic) - "No!"
It was a clear illustration of how little perceived value fathers have to many people today. Especially those who have grown up within a culture that dismisses so readily their value. This woman clearly did not perceive any value in her child knowing who her father is, let alone having him in her life.
While considering the scene I had just witnessed, a play on the phrase "Out of sight, Out of mind" came to mind. "Out of Sight (Invisible), Out of Mind (Insanity)"... "Invisible, Insanity".
We have made our fathers "Invisible", and it is... "Insanity".
And, notably, it courageously exposes the social engineering which decimated the families caught up in the wake of the "Great Society" - and the genesis of Braver's "driven-away" dads.
In this case, you can tell a book by its cover.
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