This section provides web links, PDFs and video of recent news stories about fatherhood from news outlets around the world.

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June 7, 2008

Male mentors deserve thanks, not suspicion

I've taught a fifth-grade Sunday school class for years, and my kids mostly seem to like me. That's so, I suspect, mostly because rarely am I smarter or more mature than a fifth-grader. Invariably, likability breeds the threat of hugs.

Yes, threat. Should a little angel with outstretched arms come my way, two scenarios may unreel:

If a bevy of witnesses stands by with videophones rolling, I'll bend deep and give a microsecond half-hug. If the halls are deserted, I'll stiff-arm the kid and duck and dash.

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June 6, 2008

Remembering Stepfathers on Father's Day, June 15

Stepdads are fathers too:

  • About 17 percent of America's children live in stepfamily households.
  • There are five times as many stepfathers as stepmothers.
  • More than 40 percent of all marriages are remarriages, and one-third of all marriages in America bring a stepfamily into existence.
  • More than half of Americans today have been, are now, or will eventually be in some form of stepfamily during their lives.
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June 6, 2008

Fathers Getting More Involved in their Children's Lives

Fathers have increased their involvement in their children’s lives over the past decade according to a recent survey conducted by the National Center for Fathering. 

The survey, conducted in May, 2008 compares fathers’ involvement in their children’s education with a similar survey conducted by the National Center for Fathering in 1999.

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June 5, 2008

Remembering Our Father

Forty years ago, as he was celebrating his victory in California’s Democratic presidential primary, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. To mark the occasion, Op-Ed editors invited his children to share their memories of him.

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June 5, 2008

Daddy Boot Camp

"The societal view of dads is that we're bumbling fools," Steve Dubin tells his all-male audience. It's Saturday morning in Weymouth, Mass., and 14 soon-to-be fathers are paying him to help keep them from fulfilling that stereotype. Dubin, a p.r. executive and Little League coach, pairs three rookies with three dads willing to hand over their babies for training purposes. Support the head, the instruction begins. Act naturally because babies can smell fear. Roll them over and rub their backs if they start to cry. "You'll probably hold the baby differently from your wife. That's O. K.," Dubin says. "But this will be the beginning of, 'Why are you doing it that way?'" he warns. "Tell your wife, 'We're going to do things differently, and you have to allow me to."

The marital advice comes as a bonus in the class Dubin and former Air Force special-ops commando Darryl Wooten teach each month called Boot Camp for New Dads. The training program, which is offered in 43 states as well as in Britain and Australia, combines the basics of parenting preparation--what to expect during labor, how to change a diaper--with male-bonding to help ease the often overlooked stresses of fathers-to-be. At a time when enrollment in childbirth classes has fallen from 70% of first timers in 2002 to 56% in 2006--with the drop-off due in part to expectant couples' assuming they can learn just as much from books or online--Boot Camp has continued to expand and this year graduated its 200,000th enlistee. | Read story
May 29, 2008

Offer parents support

It is strange that the gender and education debate mentions parents only in the context of their financial contributions to children's education ("Yes, university women, there is a boy problem," Our view; "Girls gain, and so do boys," Opposing view, May 21).

USA TODAY's view cites wealthy parents' ability to find a college willing to accept their underachieving sons. The opposing view makes a similar point, noting that disparities in family income are related to differences in academic success.

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May 27, 2008

Father's Day cards stop dissing the dads

Fathers sleep a lot, and they snore loudly. When they're awake, they like to fish or golf, but they're comically bad at both. They drink so much beer they're practically alcoholics, and they're complete couch potatoes, always watching television and hogging the remote.

At least, that's the less- than-favorable image of Dad on Father's Day greeting cards. It's a striking contrast to the poetic praise often expressed at Mother's Day. Many men say they are tired of the "put-down" cards and would like some affirmation for a change — and at least one greeting-card company is listening. | Read story
May 19, 2008

Dancing the Night Away, With a Higher Purpose

In their floor-length gowns, up-dos and tiaras, the 70 or so young women swept past two harpists and into a gilt-and-brocade dining room at the lavish Broadmoor Hotel, on the arms of their much older male companions.

The girls, ages early grade school to college, had come with their fathers, stepfathers and future fathers-in-law last Friday night to the ninth annual Father-Daughter Purity Ball. The first two hours of the gala passed like any somewhat awkward night out with parents, the men doing nearly all the talking and the girls struggling to cut their chicken.

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May 16, 2008

O Father, Where Art Thou?

Ta-Nehisi Coates grew up in the type of family unit that causes census takers to develop stomach ulcers. His father, Paul, was a bit of a free spirit, which is how it came to be that he fathered Coates and his six siblings with four different women. Despite this peculiar scenario, Paul was an active, present father in all his kids' lives. Coates certainly had his share of issues growing up in a tumultuous corner of Baltimore, but as he writes in his new memoir, "The Beautiful Struggle," his father was a source of security and stability in a neighborhood subject to rampant, random violence. "I don't know if there's an environmental explanation for why my father was the way he was," says Coates, 33. "For some reason, he just took being a father really seriously."

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May 7, 2008

Hillary Clinton Proposes Reforming Child Support System to Help Dads

It is rare for a major politician to propose well-informed measures about fathers and fatherhood during an election campaign. While Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is not normally a beloved figure in the fatherhood movement, her new Youth Opportunity Agenda reflects a commendable understanding of the problems faced by African-American fathers.

The Urban League’s 2006 report on the state of black America concluded that the child support system and its abuses are a major problem for African-American men. The report found that the system represents a large, hidden “tax” on the already meager earnings of many black men. This tax drives some out of their children’s lives, and either underground or into crime.

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