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Father's Rights: Food for Thought

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Tonight's food for thought is by our own Atlanta Attorney, Lindsey Harrison

Today I want to talk about an issue that is close to my heart, and that is father's rights. I remember when I was a little girl and I used to curl up in my father's lap, with my brother too, and he would read to us both. I went on so many adventures, all from that recliner that we all used to sit in. To this day I still believe that those moments were what led to my love of reading today. My mother was our primary caregiver and my father traveled a lot, but he was always there for us when we needed him and really made the time we had together count. When my parents divorced I was probably about thirteen years old. I remember my dad sitting down with my brother and I to break the news.

I think that sometimes moms want to protect their children so much that they forget all of the benefits that having a strong father figure can provide. They forget that children with fathers who are involved are 70% less likely to drop out of school. They forget that girls with involved fathers have lower rates of teen pregnancy or that fatherless children are at dramatically greater risk of suicide. They don=t realize that 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes or that 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes. Moms often have the best of intentions, but they may not realize that by pushing dad away, they might just be putting their children at an even greater risk.

I know that, looking back, I was so lucky to have two parents who loved me. I was even luckier to have had two parents who both encouraged me to have a strong relationship with both of them. Neither ever said a bad word about the other - at least not to me. I realize that this model may not work for everyone, but, perhaps, especially when one looks at the numbers, it helps to see how children benefit from having both parents in their lives. It is certainly a worthy goal.

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