A Reality TV Show That Exposes Deadbeat Dads?

Posted on October 21, 2016 by delaine Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Posted in 2009.

neglected boy, deadbeat dad, reality show to expose dads who don't pay child supportA reality show that exposes fathers who don’t pay child support — what do you think this premise?

This is what divorced dad and author Joel Schwartzberg strongly opined on in his article, “Is it Wrong to Slam Deadbeat Dads on TV?”  Apparently Lifetime TV has announced their intention of creating such a reality show. The name of it? Deadbeat Dads.  And ‘dads’ rights’ activists are in a tizzy.

Fathers & Families, a dad-advocacy group, says the problem is that a strong majority of divorced dads with shared custody pay child support regularly, so such a program paints an unrealistic and demeaning stereotype of divorced fathers.

An editorial in The Washington Times calls Deadbeat Dads a cheap shot that ignores “the damage the show can cause children, wives and other family members.” It also cites a study finding that 77 percent of non-custodial fathers are not able to spend court-ordered time with their children as a result of “visitation interference” by the custodial parent. Comparing apples to Apple Jacks, the piece concludes, “In short, lousy moms outnumber deadbeat dads 3-1.”

As a divorced father, Schwartzberg says he doesn’t feel maligned by a show vilifying deadbeat dads any more than he feels maligned by To Catch a Predator simply because he met an (appropriately-aged) girlfriend online.  He writes: “The subliminal association isn’t between “deadbeat dads” and “divorced dads” as much as it is between irresponsible and responsible behavior.”

Schwarberg continues:  “If you want to see some really “bad dad” influences, just watch Everybody Loves Raymond or any sitcom featuring a pudgy, buffoonish, sedentary man-childish father with a knockout wife. Better yet, let’s boycott the majority of Father’s Day cards that emphasize our laziness, our inattentiveness, our proximity to senility, and our love of all things nautical.”

Myself, coming at this issue through the eyes of a divorced mom of three, I think such a show can have merit – depending on how the ’slamming’ is done. I think a program that reveals the harsh repercussions of dads’ irresponsible behavior is eye-opening and much-needed for both children and adults. I know many men who rise up in every capacity as divorced dads but I also know several deadbeats; I don’t confuse the two groups. And there’s no denying the injustice and devastating effects deadbeats’ have on everyone’s lives. I think this truth needs to be exposed for what it is…though not necessarily ’slammed.’

What do YOU think?

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