Where Presidential Candidates Stand on Supporting Families
With the focus during this presidential race on Obamacare, immigration reform, terrorism, and the economy, it’s not surprising that the leading Republican and Democratic candidates have had little to say about what they would do to support strong families. Moreover, the media haven’t been particularly interested in what the candidates would do once elected to build and maintain what is arguably the most important institution in American culture.
Given my role as president of National Fatherhood Initiative, you might not be surprised that I’m concerned by this lack of attention. I became further concerned as I watched the results roll in during the Iowa caucus. That’s because Ted Cruz‘ win on the Republican side was helped greatly by Iowa Republicans’ desire to vote for a candidate who shares their values. There’s no doubt that Iowans — Republicans and Democrats — have long-shared the value of promoting strong families. The issue — which was certainly more prominent in the last election cycle — has been lost on pretty much everyone except, of course, the people who matter most — voters.
To be fair, I’m convinced that each of the leading candidates believes in the importance of supporting families. But the proof is in the pudding, as they say. And I have no doubt they’d go about supporting families a bit differently. So I decided to conduct a review of the five leading candidates’ stands on promoting strong families and, most importantly, how they would help build and maintain strong families if elected. I not only wanted to know for myself where they stand. I wanted to help you and others who care about this issue to be better informed when deciding who will get your vote.
To conduct my review, I went straight to today’s political version of the horse’s mouth — the candidates’ “for president” websites. While acknowledging that some positions each of the candidates has articulated might indirectly strengthen families — such as policies to get more Americans working — I looked for policy positions that directly address strengthening families.
- Ted Cruz seeks to “restore a culture of life, marriage, and family.” Unfortunately, Mr. Cruz offers nothing substantive on how he would restore that culture. His website simply touts his record on family planning (primarily his efforts to defund Planned Parenthood), anti-abortion legislation, and strengthening marriage.
- Donald Trump says absolutely nothing about strengthening families. Period.
- Marco Rubio offers the most substantive, detailed position on strengthening families among the leading Republicans. Mr. Rubio would seek to reform the tax code to treat parents fairly with, for example, a new $2,500 per child tax credit. He would seek to increase the availability of 4 to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for new parents upon the birth of a child, to care for ailing parents, for seriously ill employees, and for military families. He would pay for this leave through tax incentives for businesses that offer such leave rather than through legislative mandate. And he would promote marriage by allowing states to use federal anti-poverty funding for programs that use marriage as a means to lift families out of poverty.
- Hilary Clinton‘s efforts to strengthen families would rest on guaranteeing paid family and medical leave. Specifically, Ms. Clinton would like to see up to 12 weeks of paid family leave under most of the same conditions as Mr. Rubio — leave for new parents, for those caring for elderly parents, and for seriously ill employees. She would pay for the cost with increased taxes on the wealthy to avoid burdening businesses with the cost.
- Bernie Sanders‘ position also rests on guaranteeing up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for the same reasons as Ms. Clinton. In contrast to Ms. Clinton and Mr. Rubio, he would pay for it through an insurance-style program that would be funded by a deduction from workers’ paychecks. Given that he likens it to Social Security, I assume workers would not be able to opt out of this deduction.
Depending on whether you tend to look at the proverbial glass as half full or half empty, you might be encouraged that three of the leading candidates would seek to implement reforms that would directly strengthen families. On the other hand, you might be discouraged that two of them have chosen not to address this important institution with specific reforms. Either way, I hope this post has given you a little more information to chew on as you decide which candidate to support. And maybe, just maybe, the candidates will have more to say on this issue as the campaign moves on to New Hampshire and beyond.
This post originally appeared on The Huffington Post.
Christopher A. Brown discusses the presidential candidates and where they stand on supporting families in his latest post.
Emotional burnout is a consistent concern for parents, but the added pressures of a hectic holiday season can make things worse. With a new year beginning, it’s a perfect time for fathers to regroup and remember to take care of yourselves, so you can be the best possible parent for your children.
As we wind down another NFL season and get ready to celebrate the golden anniversary of the Super Bowl, there’s a vital lesson for efforts to implement fatherhood programs. The lesson comes from an unlikely source: the link between the salaries made by NFL players and their play time. Does that link seem odd? Stay with me for a moment.
Father absence has many negative consequences for children, which is why we, at NFI, often often talk aboutThe Father Absence Crisis in America. But, what about the benefits of an involved dad? Well, we definitely focus on that, too.
Time and again, practitioners have told us that they would like a tool they can share with their clients (both moms and dads) that focuses on the benefits of an involved father. In this post, I’ll show you eight ways an involved father helps his child, and get you up close and personal with our newest brochure entitled The Importance of an Involved Father. Side note: We think every leader reading this post should have this brochure in their office to help fathers and families!
In my almost four years of working at National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI), I’ve learned that every dad struggles with being a great dad. Often, us dads make connecting with our children too complicated. We think we have to plan some major vacation or spend a fortune. We’re lying to ourselves. What if we could simply change our fathering habits? This tool can help.
We love blogging. Apparently, you love us blogging. We had a lot of traffic, shares, and comments on our posts this year. We pulled our top five blog posts of 2015 and think you will enjoy going down memory lane with us. It’s been a fun year. Thanks for reading, sharing, and commenting on our content.
Here are our top-performing posts of 2015…
One of my goals for 2015 was to read one book per month. In working toward my goal, I fell in love with reading again. I read over 20 books this year. I haven’t read that much since seminary. My top five books include a mix of business, marketing, and fatherhood. Basically, they all fit under leadership. Here we go…
Involving fathers in child welfare cases is a matter of ethics for child welfare workers, so say researchers who recently completed a study of fathers involved with the child welfare system in the San Francisco Bay area. National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) can help workers meet this ethical challenge.
The study involved focus groups with 37 fathers that concluded child welfare workers had difficulty connecting with fathers because of the different cultural backgrounds of workers and fathers. The study also concluded that female workers in particular had difficulty relating to fathers because of their different gender and fathers’ socioeconomic status (i.e. fathers’ disenfranchised status).
I’ve been been married over 12 years. I get it. It takes two people, working their butts off, to make this parenting thing work. The end-goal has to be the child’s best interest. But sometimes, that’s easier said than done. Especially if mom and dad aren’t married…or even “together”.
You, the fatherhood leader, know this all too well. If mom isn’t on board with dad being involved, his hands seem to be tied. The most well-meaning dad can only do so much if mom isn’t willing to come half-way.
So, the biggest questions become: How do I convince a mother to allow the father to be more involved? How can I talk about dad being involved when mom seems so angry at dad? How do I talk with a mom who can’t seem to say one nice thing about the father of their children?
To help answer these questions, we’ve created a new resource for practitioners working with families to discuss 14 critical issues with moms around involving dads. It’s a tool that helps practitioners feel equipped and confident to talk with moms about the tough issues of relationships and parenting. Let’s talk about it…
Being a parent is a huge undertaking that requires sacrifice, time management, and an incredible amount of responsibility.
It goes without saying that parenting is a challenging and, on more than one occasion, overwhelming job.
With so many resources available to parents, it’s difficult to know where to look or what advice to believe or adhere to.
This post originally appeared on The Huffington Post.
The discussion today around parenting often centers on “helicopter parents,” those parents who hover over every aspect of their children’s lives to such an extent that they organize and monitor every minute of their children’s lives. As a result, their children have little or no space to explore the world on their own and learn how to effectively navigate life’s challenges from one of life’s great teachers — learning from failure.
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