Dr. Warren Farrell is the author of many books, including two award-winning
international best-sellers, Why Men Are The Way They Are plus The Myth of
Male Power. His most recent books are Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t
Say, which was a selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club, and Father and
Child Reunion about how fathers can be successful at both work and home.
His latest book, just published this year, Why Men Earn More: The Startling
Truth Behind the Pay Gap and What Women Can Do About It, helps both employers
and employees understand what makes a company want to increase an employee’s
pay. His books are published in over 50 countries, and in 10 languages.
Men Earn More
Father and Child
The Myth of Male
Hear What Men Don’t Say
Why Men Are The Way
The Liberated Man
Three Judicial Biases About Moms, Dads and Children
I am in the process of planning a teleseminar that has evolved from a combination
of my research for Father and Child Reunion and my expert witness
work on custody issues.
When I do expert witness work, I confront three biases from most judges
that I was also surprised to see proven invalid when I did the research
for Father and Child Reunion. The first bias is the stability bias; the
second is the mother bias; and the third is the 'If-the-couple-is-in-conflict-joint-custody-will-not-work'
bias. All of these biases apply to post-divorce parenting.
The Stability Bias.
Judges understandably reason that amid the instability of divorce, children
are best stabilized by staying in the home they are accustomed to with the
parent who has been the primary parent. I call this "geographical stability".
The research shows that geographical stability does not create psychological
stability. For children of divorce, geographical stability is "one
parent stability"; this article explains why "one parent stability"
is psychologically destabilizing. For example...
Studies show that after divorce the children who do best psychologically
have about an equal amount of exposure to both mom and dad--especially if
both parents live near each other, and there is no bad-mouthing. The psychological
stability of two-parents equally involved leads to the children also doing
better academically and socially, and being healthier physically.
Why does two parent stability trump geographical stability? No one can
be 100% sure, but a blend of research and observation offer clues. Three
quick assertions in quasi-headline form...
First, the job of a child growing up is to discover who it is. Who is it?
It is half mom and half dad. It is not the better parent. It is both parents.
Warts and all. So we are not talking here about fathers' rights, mothers'
rights or even the child's right to both parents. We are talking about a
new paradigm: the child's right to both halves of itself.
Second, children with minimal exposure to one parent seem to feel abandoned,
often psychologically rudderless.
Third, dads and moms, like Republicans and Democrats, provide checks and
balances. Moms tend to overstress protection; dads may overstress risk-taking.
There has to be a balance of power for the child to absorb a balance of
both parents' values. One parent dominating tends to leave the child with
a stereotyped and biased perspective of the values of the minority parent,
and ultimately a lack of appreciation for that part of itself.
The Mother Bias.
Most judges do believe children do best with both parents, but if they must
live with one, mom is given the edge. In fact, the new research I report
in Father and Child Reunion very clearly shows that children brought up
by dad are more likely to do better psychologically, physically, academically
and socially than those brought up by mom.
I will explain in the teleseminar not only some of the twenty-five measures
that create this counterintuitive conclusion, but also what dads do unconsciously
that so often works to the benefit of the child. At the same time, I will
also explain why it would be erroneous to conclude that men make better
dads than women do moms (e.g., dads usually have more income).
Conflict-- especially bad-mouthing-- hurts all parenting arrangements. The
more the conflict, though, the more important it is for the child to see
both parents about equally, because conflict leaves the child vulnerable
to feeling that the parent it does not see has abandoned it-- does not love
her or him. The less the child sees a parent the easier it is to form a
negative and caricatured stereotype of the unseen parent. This leads to
the child feeling negative about that half of her or himself.
Finally, a system that says, "If the couple can't get along in court
how are they going to get along enough to share the children?" creates
an incentive for the mom to initiate conflict. Why the mom? The Mom Bias
teaches mom that if she can erase the joint custody option, she is more
likely than dad to be given custody of the children. This awareness creates
an incentive for a mom who wants full custody to not co-operate with the
The three biases in combination lead to many options after divorce not
being considered. The teleseminar and Father and Child Reunion explore some
of those options.
My experience thus far is that virtually all judges are focused on doing
what is best for the children, as are most moms and dads; that the above
responses to these biases address the issues that prevent judges from giving
more priority to securing both parents' equal involvement; that once judges
know this, their rulings are much more likely to incorporate this prioritization.
For more information on the teleseminar, email Eric
Bio of Warren Farrell, Ph.D.
Dr. Warren Farrell began his research on gender issues in the ‘60s.
His first book, The Liberated Man, was published in 1974. It was from the
women’s perspective and the feminist perspective. By the ‘80s,
he began noticing that men were feeling misrepresented, and his award-winning
national best-seller, Why Men Are The Way They Are, was written to answer
women’s questions about men in a way that rings true for men. The
New York Post calls it "the most important book ever written about
love, sex, and intimacy."
By the ‘90s, Dr. Farrell felt the misunderstandings about men had
deepened and become dangerous to the survival of families and love. He confronted
the misunderstandings head-on with the award-winning The Myth of Male Power,
a book the The Library Journal ranked as “better than Robert Bly’s
Iron John or any of Betty Freidan’s works.” (His books are published
in over 50 countries in 13 languages.)
By the turn of the century Dr. Farrell wanted to provide the sexes with
the tools to communicate-- in particular to hear personal criticism from
a loved one, especially when given badly. That was the take-off point for
Hear What Men Don’t Say, a selection of the Book-of-the-Month
Club. By 2001 Dr. Farrell completed research he had been working on for
13 years on the conditions under which children of divorce are most likely
to be raised successfully. That book, Father and Child Reunion, has renewed
the commitment of many dads to be with their children, and its research
has helped judges understand the importance of dads.
Warren’s most recent book is Why
Men Earn More:
The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap -- and What Women Can Do About It.
It documents why the pay gap is not about discrimination but about 25 differences
between men and women’s work-life decisions.
Warren has appeared on over 1000 TV and radio shows, and been interviewed
frequently by Oprah and Barbara, and by Larry King and the late Peter Jennings.
He has been featured repeatedly on 20/20 and in The New York Times, in People
and Parade, on CBS Sunday Morning and NBC Nightly News, in Forbes and The
Wall Street Journal, and on the Today Show, the Tomorrow Show, and even
To Tell The Truth. He's never appeared on Desperate Housewives.
Warren Farrell’s understanding of both sexes is symbolized by his
being, on the one hand, on the boards of four national men’s organizations,
and on the other hand, being the only man in the US to be elected three
times to the Board of Directors of the National Organization for Women in
New York City. Similarly, he has started over 600 men's and women's groups,
and over 200,000 women and men have attended his workshops worldwide. He
is the only person chosen to speak at both of former California Governor
Wilson’s 1995 conferences – his Conference on Men and his Conference
President Johnson chose Dr. Warren Farrell as one of the outstanding young
educators in the United States. (The man's been around for awhile!) He has
taught political science, psychology, women’s studies and sociology,
and most recently taught at the School of Medicine at the University of
California at San Diego. Dr. Farrell has been chosen by the International
Biographic Centre of London as one of the World’s 2000 Outstanding
Scholars of the 20th Century and, in quite a different take, chosen by The
Financial Times as one of the worlds top 100 Thought Leaders.