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Good Parenting Is Not Merely a Matter of Gender

Father's Day was a couple of weeks ago. It's nice that dads, like moms, get a special day. But it takes more than one day a year to recognize that the role of fathers often goes unappreciated in today's society.

This isn't just a matter of fathers' rights in a legal sense -though, to be sure, those rights are important. In custody decisions, for example, fathers often find themselves facing an uphill battle trying to stay involved with their children after a divorce. This is as true for divorce in Atlanta as it is elsewhere in the country.

The recognition needed for fathers is not only legal; it's social. In our society, it's still a widely held belief that many fathers are short of parenting skills that somehow come more innately to mothers.

In practice, however, that is not necessarily the case. There are good dads, bad dads and indifferent dads - just as there are for mothers

Good parents, of any gender, know how to value the uniqueness in their children. When that happens, it is a precious gift to the child that can last a lifetime. Noticing that specialness and honoring that specialness is easier said than done. But its value cannot be discounted, no matter what happens later in life.

When a divorce occurs, of course, the goodness in all concerned is tested. That's why, if your family has come to the breaking point, it's good to try to take the high road. There are ways to assert your legal rights while fostering relationships with your children that will endure.

Source: "Forty years of faltering fatherhood," Atlanta Journal Constitution, Kyle Wingfield, 6-15-12

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