Monday, January 4, 2010

What makes a fit parent?

Public Radio International's The Takeaway had a piece  this morning about a quadriplegic mother who risks losing her child to the child's father (her ex-boyfriend) who is arguing that she is incapable of caring for the child because of her disability.

There's an interesting bit near the end of the piece when the conversation takes a turn toward what makes a fit parent. And Lisa Belkin, the Motherlode blogger who talks about families every Monday on The Takeaway, observes that some working mothers are losing custody of their children because the father spends more time with the children.

As I noted in a different case in my previous post, this seems unfair on the surface. Just because mothers work to support their children--a good thing, we might argue--they stand to lose custody in a break-up?

If it's unfair, it's been unfair to millions of fathers for decades--fathers who lost custody on precisely those grounds.

If we're going to change the rules to be fair to working parents, let's make sure we make them equally fair to mothers and fathers.

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