The following article is all the more remarkable because it appeared in a main newspaper of one of the most liberal, feministic societies in the world:
"BETTER CONTACT. Children who grow up with a single father have better contact with all the grandparents and with mother than those who live alone with their mother. Fathers are less stressed and seldom hit their children
"FURIOUS DEBATE: Parents who are appreciated at work have more time and energy for their children. The Danish investigation of 3-5 year old children's growing up needs has aroused a furious debate in Denmark.
"FATHER IS BEST: A list of other analyses support the contention that children are best served by living with their father, according to senior researcher Morgens Nygård Christoffersen at the Danish Social Research Institute in Copenhagen.
"Children who live with father do not generally lose contact with their mother. Contact with all four grandparents is more likely for children who live with their father. Single fathers are usually less pressed for time and have fewer psychosoamtic reactions to stress than mothers. Fathers resist using smacking as a method of punishment on their children than mothers.
"Thus the investigation, 'Being Raised by Father -- a Comparison of the Raising 3 - 5 Year-Old Children by Fathers and Mothers", conducted by senior researcher Mogens Nygård Christoffersen at the Danish Social Research Institute in Copenhagen. The investigation, which was financed by the Danish Social Ministry and Equal Rights Commission, was submitted on 18 December 1996. 478 fathers and 532 mothers with children in the age group 3 to 5, from a representative selection of the Danish people, were interviewed by telephone or by visits to the home. The response was 89%. Whereas 6% of children from broken homes live with their fathers, 94% live with their mothers. A third of the fathers in the investigation had become single parents because their wife died, or because they were not in a position to take careof their children.
"The research provoked a violent emotion-charged debate which lasted 3 to 4 months in Denmark.
"'It was regarded as a personal opinion in the debate on where children should live after a family breaks up, and they didn't care about the results. The main criticism against me was that I had conducted a number of the interviews over the telephone, because it's easier to lie that way. But experience shows that it is easier to talk about intimate relationships on the telephone. The only objection to my results is that they go against the stereotyped sexual rôle which is encouraged in our culture,' he said.
Nygård Christoffersen presented the results of his research in Norway at the conference, 'Family Changes -- Fatherhood and Children' organised by the Norwegian Research Council on 19-20 September. In August he presented his work to the University of Essex in London.
"The investigation reveals that fathers get divorced from mothers in order to have fewer draining relationships such as poor domestic finances, not being appreciated at work, and not getting positive feedback from the people around them.
"'At first one should think that the parent's devotion at work could mean that they feel divided between work and their care for the child. But the research instead confirms that the parents who go to work feel more appreciated and have more surpluss energy for their children than parents who don't feel appreciated at work, or don't have work at all. The reasearch shows that parents who feel appreciated at work find it easier to avoid conflicts that evolve into using different kinds of punnishments. There were about 40% more of parents who lack appreciation at work who suffered from psycho-somatic stress symptoms than those who felt appreciated at work. Nygård Christophersen points out that the child's welfare is closely conected to what psycho-social pressure their parents are under.
"How do you explain the results of this research?
"When men and women get married or move together, the men go through a selection. Women prefer men who do well at work. Women are not chosen by the same criteria. When one becomes alone with the children, work occupies a very important place. It makes up an important net, and is often a main factor for how one does socially and finacially. If one is not appreciated at work, the resourses one uses to handle problems at home are drained, he says.
"How do you explain that mothers more often resort to physical punnishment of their child?
"That is connected to the psycho-social pressure that single women are exposed to, some of them have psychological problems, and many of them are out of work. Such problems affect the children. If the society wants to protect these children, it should help these mothers, says Christophersen."
"Mothers who do not live together with their children are better at maintaining contact with them, Mother is mother for life.
"According to the Vice-President on the Single Parent Union, Eli Filseth, mothers of children who live with their fathers, and better at maintaining contact with their children.
"'Mothers are better at maintaining contact with their children,' she says.
"'A number of fathers don't bother to maintain contact with their children, once the children are living with mother. Fathers would rather start again with a new family -- new wife and new children.'
"She points out that mother is, to a greater degree, a mother for life, even if she doesn't actually live together with her children.
"'A father who has the daily care of children, receives alot of suppport from other women. A typical example is that neighbours readily wash the stairs [in blocks of flats/apartments] for single parents, whilst single mothers doesn't even get a nod from the same neighbour, because she hasn't washed the stairs. This shows that a single father is looked upon as clever just because he is alone with the children,' she says.
"'That the man often earnes better than a women is because there is less pressure on the man,' she says.
"She notes also that a resourceful woman often finds a man who is resourcefully weak man.
"'It is by no means certain that a resourcefully weak man is more compassionate than a resourcefully weak woman,' she says.
"'Often it is mother breaks the contact between children and father. This happens because she lives her life through her children.'
Rune Rækken, president of the Two parent Union, is not surprised by results of the Danish research.
"'When the single parent breaks contact between the other partner, it is generally because the parents cannot distinguish between the partner [marriage] conflict and parenting. Many believe it only affects the partners, but in reality it also affects the children,' says Rækken. He points out that it is often mother who breaks contact between children and father. This happens because mothers to a large extent live through their children.
"'It is more socially acceptable that a woman lives through her children than a man. Some women look upon children as their own property. The man lives lives more in his profession and business life,' says Rækken.
"'Men are more absorbed in supporting themselves and their children. The man often has a network at work which means that they don't need to relaise themselves through their children. Single mothers who are at home with their children, and receive state support, are often in need a network outside their local environment, and therefore support themselves more through their children.'
"He insists that he is not out to start a gender war but that he wants to underline the importance of children having two parents."
These articles very much speak for themselves and confirm what Christians have always taught -- divorce is deporable not only for the couples but most especially for children. They also reveal the importance of self-worth -- mutual appreciation of spouses and positive re- enforcement of worth both at home and at work. Finally, the work of Nygård Christoffersen dispells the myth that mothers are by default always better parents than fathers. Mother and father are a team and children need them both. They have different dispositions which children need exposure to. Mothers often live their lives through their children and as a result often unwittingly bind their children down spiritually, treating them as possessions and thus making them prisoners of their own perceived egotistical needs. That many mothers do this is understandable, especially if they remain single, because God has built within them the need to live for SOMETHING. When a husband has gone, through death, divorce, or whatever, children often become substitutes on which they lavish extra affection, unconsciously trying to bind them as if those children were their lost husbands.
Western liberal democracy has paid a terrible price with its permissive views on marriage, divorce and child-raising. Never, since the erosion of nuclear family values in the 1960s, have people been so inwardly fragmented. Deprived of the wholesome atmosphere of a strong and healthy family life, these fragmented individuals have been released into the world in which they seek for substitutes -- drugs, rock music, alcohol, and sex -- and end up destroying themselves.
The children of the 1960s are now in positions of leadership in our society. What was for them rebellion against the perceived strictures of Christian morality has now become the norm, because they have institutionalised their rebellion and are teaching it not only to their children but to ours in school, in the media, in games, entertainment, etc..
Half of all marriages fail today. And people wonder why.
Translation from Norwegian by Christopher C. Warren and Jannicke Larsen; Commentary by Christopher C. Warren