Monthly Archives: June 2017

Where are the Fathers?

 

 

According to the U.S. Census, fathers are fast disappearing from American homes and one in three children, or approximately 20 million live without one.

The census recorded the fact that 160,000 new families with children were added, the number of two-parent households decreased by 1.2 million and nearly five million live without a mother.

More than 20 million children live in a home without the physical presence of a father.  Millions more have dads who are physically present, but emotionally absent.  If it were classified as a disease, fatherlessness would be an epidemic worthy of attention as a national emergency.

This fatherlessness can be seen in our homes, schools, hospitals and prisons and especially in families. Back when families were more intact, many fathers protected, mentored, guided, supported, taught values, played sports, added humor, and helped in bringing up their child or children. Today, there are many fathers who, for a variety of reasons, are absent, either emotionally or by distance and play a small or no part in bringing up their child or children.

Children need both parents’ influence for a balanced upbringing. They usually receive nurturing and care-taking from their mothers.  Fathers can supply discipline, authority, companionship and be an example as a role model. Role models are important for both boys and girls. Boys look to their dads as the type of man they want to be when they grow up; girls look to their dads as models of a possible future mate. Fathers’ praise, unconditional love, encouragement, support, and guidance are as important to children as the fostering acts a mother supplies.

Research has concluded that the father/child relationship is more important than once believed. With a baby, a father is usually more physical at playing games than the mother and makes a playful and joyful contribution to a baby’s life. As small infants and children, they can receive assurance and empathy from a dad when mom is not available or busy with something else. School age children benefit from the caretaking of dads who help with their care in transporting them to school and activities, helping them with homework, or teaching them responsibility. Many fathers join in sports activities with both boys and girls through softball, baseball, football, soccer and form a lasting team tie with their kids.

Children who have both parents who express these characteristics are blessed, indeed. Sometimes, they may have grandparents, step parents, or guardians who also exhibit traditional and loving nurturing.  Studies show that a father who exhibits love, kindness and faith values to his children – in turn foster those values that their children will emulate with their own family and children.

And sometimes, there are children, who, for various reasons, may be absent a father. He may have died, or separated away from the family, or simply is out of the picture. There can be a family member or male friend who can pitch hit for an absent father and help fill the void a father leaves. An absent father in a family could make his child at a higher risk of drug abuse, smoking, alcohol abuse and other risk-seeking behaviors. Other problems with absent fathers can be unhealthy relationships with others, poor grades in school, and problems in social relationships.

At some point in our lives, all of our fathers will leave us. For those of you who mourn a lost father, for whatever reason, take heart. We still have a Heavenly Father, Who will never leave nor abandon us.

Recently I heard a great quote by Sigmund Freud: “I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.”  God bless ALL fathers this Father’s Day – may your love and caring for your children bless and reward you with love returned.

June 8, 2017  Marie Coppola


When a Spouse Dies

The good news is that folks are living longer.    As of the end of last year, overall average life expectancy has increased to 78.8 years.  For men, it is age 76 and for women, it is age 81.  But the gap between women and men has narrowed to less than 4 years.

The potential lifespans of men and women are more similar now than at any time since the early 1950s, when the life expectancy of women was just over 70, and men could expect to live only to their late 60s.

Life expectancy has continued to rise as all generations enjoy unprecedented wealth, better nutrition, healthier lifestyles and advancing medical science.  

What happens when one of them dies?   Does the surviving spouse stay in their home or go live with family or relatives?  

There are many retired senior couples here in the south.   Many of them live productive and social lives as well as staying active in work, church and community activities.   What do they do when they become ‘single’ again?   Also, some seniors are faced with the double stress of caring for both children and ageing relatives, as well as providing for their family financially.  Losing a spouse is a double-edged sword – highly emotional – yet financial issues have to be addressed.  Some rush to sell their home, change financial accounts or have to decide to stay where they are or relocate.

The experts give this advice:  1)  Don’t rush into anything you may regret later 2) Any long-term decisions or major changes should not be made until at least six (6) months after your spouse’s death.  3) Seek a financial expert’s advice instead of relying on relatives’ or friends’ advice.   They may not be up-to-date on regulations, tax laws and more.  4) Update your own legacy plans (preferably with a finance expert). 

A common concern of widows & widowers is who will care for them if they become ill or infirm.  Have insurance or funds for long-term care?  Move in with adult children?  Or live in a nursing home?  Some local people have moved to another state to be with family; some of these situations work and others feel like they are chauffeur, cook and baby sitter.   They miss the friends & activities they had to give up.   Some move back.  Other experts advise: 1) don’t put your house on the market; 2) don’t give away money to your children or charity; 3) don’t agree to move in with a child.  These things may make sense, but it isn’t good to make rash decisions.  Especially since the most challenging aspect of your ‘single’ life is the emotional aspect.  The death of a spouse is one of the most devastating events of a person’s life.  Harder still If one did not play an active role in the household finances.  

My own advice: Try to not make any major decisions for six months to a year.  Try to stay busy with regular outlets of social, church & community work.  Try to relax and get together socially with friends regularly.   Try joining a support group.  Try staying with your children as a test run before you make a concrete decision to move there.  Seek and lean on your faith.  Would you stay where you are or would you move?

Marie Coppola  July 26, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2474859/Life-expectancy-gap-men-women-narrows-years.html#ixzz4iqmgix6p
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook