Dealing with a child that is suffering from the emotional effects of abandonment helped me realize her real needs and the value of positive parental involvement. What I want most for my child is for her to grow up happy and healthy. I’m actually considering dropping the past due support on my children’s father under a written agreement that their dad take a more active role in their lives. This includes weekend visits at least twice a month, one month visits during summer break, being responsible for child care since I am fully responsible for their healthcare, along with a few other requests. If I can get this commitment from him I have no problem dropping the support. Ultimately, he will find himself making the necessary expenses to care for his kids because of the “hands on” obligation.
I think it makes more sense to enforce parental involvement in matters where the child support agency want to incarcerate or revoke driver’s license from the non-custodial parent. Those methods only further setback and hinder a man from financially supporting his kids. Don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe that fathers are supposed to be responsible for their kids, financially and emotionally; and there are some who purposely act irresponsibly. I just think before revoking driver’s licenses and sending men to jail that the option to share the responsibility or enforce parental involvement should be made available. It doesn’t have to be in every case that the child is ordered to stay with the non- custodial parent, especially if he is not in the best environment but there are many fatherhood programs that can be utilized where this engagement can take place safely. I think it goes so much further for the child to have that interaction with his father and in return that father may realize the value in caring and raising his child without outside enforcement.
Here is a small passage from the chapter “That Damn Baby Daddy” from my book ‘I Want My Daddy…The Psychology of Abandonment’:
I don’t know what it is about child support that make baby daddies lose their minds. Most see it as a vindictive act to take money out of their pockets than a method to guarantee their share of financial responsibility. The irony is that the men who often have the most problems paying child support are the ones who are less involved or not involved in the child’s life at all. The ones, who co-parent and partially share the responsibility, usually have no issues because they understand the day-to-day sacrifices made to care for their child. The saddest cases are the baby daddies who make ultimatums that if they have to be placed on child support, than they will never do anything else for that child. It’s not only selfish, but also heartless. Men like this have to place their bitterness to the side and do what is right by their child.
I’m also aware of the other side of the story, where the father showed a willingness to share responsibilities and the child’s mother still go and file for support. In those cases, it’s important for fathers to fight back, and even if you don’t win in court, don’t take it out on the child. The most ideal situations are where both parents can agree on their responsibilities without the enforcement of the Courts. However, men who have not married the mother of their children should always know there is no obligation by those mothers to accept their promise of support on good faith. Sometimes it is always better to prepare for the worse and hope for the best. For more successful co-parenting outcomes there has to be a sense of accountability on both ends and both parties must be able to communicate respectfully to each other in order to achieve an amicable compromise.
I want to know what you think…
If you had to choose between ENFORCED child support or ENFORCED parental engagement by the absent or less involved parent which one would you prefer? (Of course both are important and necessary to care and raise a child but which one is more important to you?)