Psychological Self-Help

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know that fetal and infant death rates for children of married mothers
is only half as high as for children of unmarried mothers? Did you
know that a teenaged mother is 7 times more likely than an older
mother to abuse her child? Did you know that 70% of delinquents
have no father at home? Did you know that children of divorce die 2 to
4 years earlier than children from a stable family? Family life may be
getting better for some of us but as a society we have a long way to
Increased child-care role for fathers
By 1996, it is estimated that 2/3rds of the mothers of even
preschoolers will have outside employment. Currently, about 40% of
fathers put in over 50 hours per week at work. Companies often
expect this kind of dedication. The conflict between career and family
is intense. Child-care from Dad is required in a two-career family;
about 45% of fathers in 1993 claimed to share the child care
responsibilities 50/50 with his wife (only 20% of their wives agreed
that the work was shared 50/50). In any case, men in a stable
marriage are now more deeply involved in caring for their kids than
ever before, and most really like it. However, 25% of all American
children born in 1993 had unmarried mothers (in 1995 another
estimate was 33%). About 25% of children (60% of black children) are
raised by a single parent. About 12% to 16% of all children live with
step-families. After a divorce, only 16% of children see their biological
father once a week or more. Ten years after a divorce, 2/3rds of
children have almost no contact with their fathers. How sad (see
discussion of the serious effects of divorce in chapter 10). 
This evening, 40% of all American children will have no natural
father at home to tuck them into bed. If divorced fathers do not have
partial custody and/or very active involvement with childrearing, over
50% of them have little contact with their own children after 2 or 3
years. Over 50% of all children will live away from their fathers
sometime between birth and 18. The high divorce rate causes serious,
long-lasting personal problems for many (30%-50%) children of
divorce. Blankenhorn (1995) contends that many of our social
problems--crime, domestic violence, high divorce rates, babies having
babies, children on welfare, young men without goals--are due in large
part to fathers abandoning their children and leaving home. His
solution? A responsible father for every child. How achieved? Through
social and moral persuasion and pressure. 
The birth of a baby sometimes raises the father's "provider
instincts," resulting in his working longer hours outside the home. Of
course, a few fathers are glad to be out of the house and avoid the
crying and dirty diapers. But most are working to provide for the
family. On the other hand, the new baby can raise mother's
"maternal instincts," resulting in an intense involvement with the
baby. Some mothers, especially older, better educated, previously
career-oriented women, monopolize the parenting role. Some clearly
"want to be my baby's main care-giver;" some believe "I can attend to
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