photo credit: John Schmitt

Scientists stepped out of their offices and labs to make a statement. On Saturday, April 22, the March for Science took place in Washington, D.C. along with over 600 satellite marches. With funding and facts under threat by the new administration, scientists from a wide range of disciplines and supporters of science filled the streets to advocate for the importance of scientific research and evidence. To get a better understanding of the significance of the March for Science and the threat of the current administration’s proposed policies, we spoke to Dr. Philip Cohen who marched in D.C. on Saturday. Cohen is a professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland and a senior scholar at Council on Contemporary Families. What did we learn? The March for Science is positive, but there is more to be done.

Q: What kind of impact (if any) do you think the March for Science could have on policy and public opinion?

PNC: We are at an amazing moment when the forces against science and reason and the public appreciation of science both seem to be peaking, which implies a heightened state of conflict. Like the Women’s March and the protests against Trump’s immigration and tax policies, I hope the March for Science helps to coalesce the movement against Trumpism and build solidarity for the long difficult times to come. Whether it will yield tangible policy results in the short run I have no idea.

Q: The American Sociology Association and other social science groups endorsed the March for Science. What do you think such groups are hoping to gain from their participation in the march? What would you like to see as a result of the March?

PNC: In addition to ASA, I was glad to see the Population Association of America, to which I also belong, sign on to the March. We have immediate concerns, especially around support for social science research through NSF, NIH, and other agencies — and also the federal data collection agencies, principally the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Center for Health Statistics, National Center for Education Statistics, and others. Even without aggressive manipulation of their work, or opposition to their specific projects, just the budget slashing they’re talking about could be extremely bad. On the plus side, those agencies employ a lot of people, and their work has direct applications in all Congressional districts and for a lot of important constituencies, so I’m optimistic that mobilizing support for government data might yield positive results at the federal level. And the professional associations, including ASA and PAA, can play an important role in that. But it’s too early to tell.

Q: The new administration has shown that science programs are not a priority for them. More specific to social sciences, the National Endowment for the Humanities is on the chopping block in the administration’s proposed budget. What effect does this have on your research and others like you, and what would you recommend those who oppose such cuts do after the March for Science?

PNC: For social scientists, NSF and NIH are the most important agencies. Other research is funded by smaller agencies like NEH, and also by research divisions in other agencies, such as the Department of Defense, Environmental Protection Agency, and so on. Anyone whose research is federally funded right now has to be very concerned and thinking about alternative avenues for funding. Some philanthropic agencies will step in, but they can’t replace the big federal budgets.

One key area I’ve been very involved in, which is directly relevant here, is the open scholarship movement. This was already important, but with the assault on science and reason, and the potential slashing of research budgets, it’s even more vital to make our research more efficient, to reach more people more quickly, to maximize the potential for collaboration and information sharing — all the outcomes we hope to achieve through open scholarship. That’s why I’ve been involved in the SocArXiv project, which seeks to drive social science toward openness. American academia wastes billions of dollars propping up an exclusionary publishing system that is slow, inefficient, and deleterious to the cause of science and knowledge creation. We can do better with less, and now is the time to make that happen. I hope social scientists, in particular, will take the simple steps necessary to make their research freely available, which can be an important piece of building public support and trust in our efforts.

Megan Peterson is a senior sociology major at Framingham State University and a Council on Contemporary Families Public Affairs and Social Media Intern.

photo credit: Steve Buissinne via pixabay

The opioid epidemic may be about to get worse. Under the new Republican administration, the Affordable Care Act and other policies to support families are under fire. To understand the impact Republican policy changes could have on the opioid epidemic we sought to learn more from someone who has studied it. Eliza Schultz is a Research Assistant for the Poverty to Prosperity program at the Center for American Progress. One of Eliza’s most recent reports (with Katherine Gallagher Robbins) is How Republican Budget Cuts Would Make the Opioid Epidemic Even Worse. The report takes a more inclusive perspective on the impact of the opioid epidemic by addressing how it affects families and communities. When I spoke with Eliza she expanded on the opioid epidemics connection to family and community, what policymakers should be doing, and the threats to well-being that these Republican policies create.

Q: I know that you do policy research. So how did opioid addiction come up as a topi­­c––and how did you recognize it as a family and community issue (as opposed to a personal one)?

ES: Opioid use has escalated into a full-blown crisis in the United States—more than 30,000 people died from overdoses in 2015, and, in some pockets of the country, particularly rural ones, it’s ushered in mass trauma—so it’s hard to ignore. It’s been covered so widely in the media and on the campaign trail, but what makes this coverage noteworthy is that, for the first time, the consensus is that the epidemic has been spurred by factors outside the control of people struggling with addiction, like economic insecurity.

Historically, drug use has been framed as a personal failure. Take, for example, the crack-cocaine epidemic of the 1980s. The reaction was to incarcerate people, which, of course, decimated families and communities, compounding whatever havoc the drugs themselves wreaked. It’s fair to say racism played a huge role in these different responses because now that the face of a drug epidemic is white, the country is more sympathetic. This moment presents an opportunity to understand drug addiction in general—not just the opioid epidemic, and no matter who is most affected—not as a personal failure but as a symptom of larger issues, like the lack of good jobs, and address those root causes.

To me, it’s hard not to recognize substance abuse as an issue that impacts families and communities. A phenomenon like opioid use does not happen in isolation to individuals—it inevitably affects the people around them. Adequate solutions to drug epidemics need to acknowledge and support those families and communities. Mass incarceration did precisely the opposite.

Q: What should policymakers do to address issues raised in your study?

ES: Well, the first key step is to do no harm. Under the American Health Care Act, health care costs will jump to the tune of $1,400 on average, but Americans who face the biggest cost increase—about $5,000 annually—are those ages 55 to 64, the same cohort that has seen the biggest rise in fatal opioid overdoses. We also know that rural communities—which, again, are disproportionately impacted by the opioid epidemic—face severe unmet needs for medical care, with more than 30 million people in counties that have not one licensed provider of medication-assisted drug treatment. The Affordable Care Act has helped to address that gap in services, in part because it incentivizes providers to serve rural counties. Under the current replacement plan, the existence of those 1,300 community health centers—many in rural areas—is threatened. Similarly, we can’t afford to roll back Medicaid expansion, or institute per capita caps, as the replacement bill proposes. All that will do is leave low-income people without insurance, or with significantly worse coverage.

As for a proactive agenda to address opioid addiction, a robust safety net is essential. Dr. Anna Lembke, chief of addiction medicine at Stanford School of Medicine, attributed part of this epidemic to the fact that, in the absence of adequate economic supports, painkillers have become a stop-gap for people with not only physical problems, but also psychological and economic ones.

Q: There’s serious potential for repeal of ACA and elimination of supports for families faced with opioid addiction. What can be done for the foster care system that, as you report, is heavily impacted by opioid addiction?

ES: By way of background, substance abuse now accounts for why about one in three children end up in foster care, and that figure is on the rise, in large part because of the opioid epidemic. State foster care systems have not been able to keep up with the increased demand, forcing states to turn to outside organizations for assistance. While it’s great that a lot of non-profits and religious institutions have stepped up in some parts of the country, reliance on volunteer organizations to plug holes like those in state foster care systems is so far from an adequate long-term solution. These systems need more financial support, but, unfortunately, the primary revenue sources for foster care are under attack. It’s hard to wrap my mind around how an administration can vow to support a population and then threaten to make budget cuts that really just exacerbate the problem at hand.

Megan Peterson is a senior sociology major at Framingham State University and a Council on Contemporary Families Public Affairs and Social Media Intern.

Photo by krzys16 via pixabay

This week I interviewed Debra Umberson, author of Death of family members as an overlooked source of racial disadvantage in the United States. She is a professor of Sociology and Director of the Population Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin, and last week we featured her study on this page. The study examined the grief and loss in Black families and linked them to racial differences in US life expectancy. We hear frequent news accounts of Black people dying due to police shootings along with other sources of untimely deaths. The reality of these multiplied deaths affect the Black community as a whole. Looking at movements such as Black Lives Matter and how conflicts surrounding race recently can no longer be swept under the rug, I wanted to learn more about research suggesting that Black Americans die at much higher rates than White Americans due to historical racial inequalities.

Q: Your study discusses the extreme racial disparities in exposure to the death of family members in non-Hispanic Blacks compared to whites. What brought you to investigate this topic?

DU: Several things came together to lead me to this topic. First, several years ago, I conducted in-depth interviews with Black and White respondents to learn more about how early family relationships influence health habits throughout the life course. Although it wasn’t a focus of the project, the interviews with Black respondents were filled with stories of grief and loss, starting when they were children. This was especially striking in that the Black and White respondents were very similar in education and income and the stories of White respondents rarely included stories of family member loss. Around the same time, more and more stories were surfacing in the media about premature and violent deaths of young Black men in the U.S. and their devastated parents were often featured in those reports. I started thinking about the significant Black-White race gap in U.S. life expectancy and realizing how much more pervasive loss must be in Black families.

Q: Although you hypothesized that the death of family members would be more common among Black Americans than among White Americans, did you find anything that surprised you?

DU: The extent of the race gap in loss was striking. I was somewhat surprised by how big the gap was in the risk of losing a child.  Blacks are about two and half times more likely than Whites to lose a child by age 30. Between the ages of 50 and 70, Blacks are 3 times more likely than Whites to lose a child. For most family member deaths, the race gap begins to close in later life as Whites begin to more family members but that’s not the case for death of a child. Whites are much more likely than Blacks to never lose a child in their lifetime.

Q: In the context of current events such as deaths by the police, a rise in the Black Lives Matter movement, and police brutality, what is next on your research agenda?

DU: Our next step is to consider how exposure to family member deaths may contribute to racial disparities in wide-ranging life outcomes including mental health, physical health, and mortality risk. We will also consider how these effects differ for men and women across the life course. Since we know that even one family member death – whether a spouse, a child, or a parent — has significant adverse effects on health and well-being, we expect that more frequent and earlier family member losses contribute to racial disparities in health.

Bereavement rates, health & racial inequality, and criminal victimization mentioned in this research all illustrate a tragic point of view for Black Americans in the United States. With Black Americans in the news constantly this creates a sense of strain, “collective loss, and personal vulnerability” within the Black community.  If Black Americans have family members—whether that be a spouse, a child, or a sibling—dying earlier in their lives, these losses only create a lifelong ripple effect for generations and reoccurring disadvantages. Whatever can help: policies, interventions, or a simple acknowledgment of bereavement and loss in these populations must be taken into effect—and fast.

Tasia Clemons is a Junior sociology major at Framingham State University, a Resident Assistant, and a CCF Public Affairs Intern.


Photo by gadgetgirl via flickr CC.
Photo by gadgetgirl via flickr CC.

Originally published July 19, 2016

Family and work scholar Sarah Damaske, author of For the Family? How Class and Gender Shape Women’s Work, is Assistant Professor of Labor & Employment Relations and Sociology at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research responds to policy puzzles about the relationship between family, work, and inequality. That’s why I wanted to learn her response this week, when conservative (and anti-Trump) columnist George Will wrote the latest piece looking wistfully back at the 50-year old arguments of Daniel Patrick Moynihan – in this case in praise of family structure as the explanation for educational failures.

Will’s piece, linking the work on education from sociologist James Coleman to Moynihan’s contemporaneous claims about the “tangle of family pathologies” in the 1960s, looks like more “neomoynihanism.” What’s that? As a little background, in a summer 2015 review Stephanie Coontz titled this whole return to the past “The Moynihan Family Circus.” Coontz explains, “When it comes to social thinking about families, there is such a thing as ‘American exceptionalism.’ Other Western countries tend to view people’s life trajectories in light of their place in the class structure. But ever since the late-nineteenth century, Americans have typically attributed people’s successes or failures to their family structures and values. This is, of course, a convenient way to reconcile our faith in individual achievement with the reality of racial and economic inequality.”

What did Sarah have to say about the sociological record on all of this?

VR: What do you think of Will’s argument that “social science offers sobering evidence that family structure accounts for poor school performance”?

SD: One of the fundamental pieces of the picture that Will leaves out of this analysis is how we fund our public schools in the United States. This is important because funding structures—not family structures—are key to understanding ways to address and reduce inequality. But we fund schools using local tax dollars, which means that schools in areas where parents make a lot of money are usually quite wealthy, while schools in areas where parents make little are usually quite poor. Thus, how we choose to fund our schools has a profound impact on the quality of education that children have available to them.

That being said, it is incorrect to say that education has no impact on children’s lives—there is simply no evidence to suggest that this is true. Many children gain higher levels of education than their parents had and achieve social mobility. Still, those with parents without college degrees do face different challenges in high school and college and there is less economic intergenerational mobility in the United States than there is in other countries.

VR: So, what are the main challenges facing single parent families in the United States?

SD: My current research with colleagues, Jenifer Bratter of Rice University and Adrianne Frech of the University of Akron, suggests that the biggest problem single-mother households face is finding work that will lift their families out of poverty. We find that single-mother households were at greater risk of poverty in 2010 than they were in 2000, and we can link this risk directly to the fact that even full-time work is now often not enough to keep a family out of poverty. Moreover, as sociologist Philip Cohen has pointed out, married Black families are almost two and a half times more likely to live in poverty than are white families, which leads him to ask, “explain to me again how marriage is the problem here?”

The idea that single parent families are themselves “the problem” seems to me to be a smokescreen that masks the real challenges families face and stigmatizes a particular family form. In my opinion, based on considerable sociological evidence, the main problem facing families is low wages and, as my own research suggests, a lack of affordable childcare to make continued workforce participation possible for women to help them raise their wages and support their families.

Moreover, qualitative interviews done both with white and black women living in poverty (by Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas) and with working-class men and women (by Jennifer Silva) find that marriage remains a strong social value. But young people today believe that they can’t marry because they can’t find stable jobs to support themselves, never mind a family. Again, this makes the case that wages (as well as growing job instability) are at the heart of these challenges, and increasing wages and decreasing job uncertainty are likely the best ways to make marriage possible for those who want it and make those who don’t want it more economically secure.

VR: Will argues that liberals only care about social science “when it validates policies congenial to the interests of favored factions.” Want to respond?

SD: In his conclusion, Will scolds liberals for ignoring social science, but he, himself, ignores decades of sociological work that challenges the Moynihan report, just a fraction of which I have sketched above! The Moynihan report is, in fact, one of the most controversial sociological findings of the 20th century, but there is no acknowledgement of that controversy in the column. There is, indeed, research to suggest that there are benefits to being married—this makes some common sense, as people can combine incomes, save on household costs, and pool their time use. But there is also significant cause for concern here, as we also know that trying to stay together can increase domestic violence rates, can be worse for children’s emotional well-being when parents fight a lot, and can be bad for the mental health of the unhappily married. Will appears to want to turn back time, but that is one of the few things that we can all agree upon—there are no time machines, we must move forward. Moreover, we may not truly want to go back, because when we look closely at that time capsule to the 1950s, we see, as Stephanie Coontz explains, many women felt oppressed in their homes, most families of color were left out of the economic largess of that time period, and LGBTQ families had no rights at all.

Policies that would truly benefit single mothers and have been validated by some of the best social science include three that are currently on the hill. The Healthy Families Act would allow workers in companies with at least 15 employees to earn up to seven paid sick days a year. Close to 40 percent of Americans do not have ONE sick day—to care for themselves, for their children, for their family members. Localities that have adopted similar plans have found real benefits for families and employers. The FAMILY Act would provide workers with up to twelve weeks of partial income replacement when they need to take leave to take care of their own serious health problem, a pregnancy and post-partum recovery, a serious health problem of a family member, the birth or adoption of a child, or a serious military medical leave condition. Many single mothers cannot use our current Family and Medical Leave Act, because they cannot afford to take unpaid time off from work. This act would address this. Finally, the Schedules that Work Act would address the problem of unpredictable schedules that face so many Americans today. Slightly over 40 percent of young adult workers do not know their schedule more than one week ahead of time. This causes many challenges for single mother households in particular, as their incomes and their need for childcare vary on a weekly basis, as experts Susan Lambert and Julia Henley have repeatedly demonstrated in their work. In conclusion, there is clear sociological evidence and clear solutions to the problems facing families today. We just need the will to act.

For more information on these topics or to find out how you can support the three policies described above, you can visit:

The National Partnership for Women and Children

The Washington Center for Equitable Growth

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research

Pallavi BanerjeePallavi Banerjee is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, and a Council on Contemporary Families expert. Her research focus includes international immigration, immigration policies, transnationalism, minority families, and gender. Banerjee’s most current project is Constructing Dependence:Visa Regimes and Gendered Migration in Families of Indian Professional Workers. With the different perspectives on immigration, Pallavi Banerjee’s work is very important: The recent election made us even more eager to hear about her research.

Q: What influenced you to study migration and gender in Indian professional families? For that matter, what puts a family under the category of a “professional family”?

PB: I learned about the dependent visas back in 1997 when I was still living in India as a freshman in college and was quite horrified by the implications of the visa policy for the kind of constraint it put on families. The dependent visa disallows spouses of “high-skilled temporary workers to work for pay until the lead immigrant worker has gained permanent residency in the U.S., a process that can take anywhere from six to 15 years.

When I came to the U.S to do my Ph.D. in 2005, I was taken aback to realize that these policies were still well and alive. I kept meeting Indian families and highly-qualified women who were forced to stay home and assume the role of the homemaker and caregiver due to the visas. But no one knew these families existed and the challenges they are facing. So, as an Indian immigrant woman who lived in the United States on many different kinds visas and had close personal associations with people whose lives were constrained by what I call the visa regime, my project is inspired by the merging of my personal and academic investment in understanding how immigration and visa laws affect immigrant “professional families” and how gendered patterns of migration further complicates their experiences.

I use the term “professional families” for the families in my study primarily for two reasons. One, under legal language people who migrate on H1-B (high-skilled) visas are labeled “high-skilled” visa holders because these workers mainly populate the high-tech and other “specialty occupations” like health care, finance, medicine, engineering, which are considered professional occupations. I deliberately rejected the “high-skilled” label because, as a sociologist, I do not see some occupations to be more skilled or more valuable than others. I would argue that a person migrating as a caregiver for children or elderly is as skilled in the job as a high-tech worker, and so it is misleading to categorize this occupation under low-skilled work. My second reason for calling these families “professional families” is that in most families in my study the spouse on the dependent visa was also highly-qualified and held a professional degree and even though they were not allowed to work in the U.S., they worked in professional occupations prior to migration.

Q: What have you discovered about international immigration policies affecting families that could be improved?

PB: My research shows that visa regimes that are predicated on state imposed dependence creates multiple dependence structures. Dependent spousal visas create within immigrant families a lifestyle that looks like a 1950 nuclear family where dad goes off to work and mom stays home to take care of the family. The skilled migration of workers and their families, as it stands now, creates a structure where the paid labor of the main migrant hinges on the unpaid labor of the dependent spouse – work that is devalued and has consequences for family stability and personhood of the visa holders. The migration trajectory is set up in a way that ensures that this system of dependence reproduces itself by charting the course of skilled migration to the U.S. and how we formulate our immigration policies based on this visa regime. Beyond my research, I think what needs to stop immediately is senseless and arbitrary deportation of undocumented families and family members that are ripping families apart. I argue that we dismantle the archaic and illogical laws like the dependent visa policy or mass deportation of families that creates enduring inequalities both within immigrant families and in the American society at large.

Q: There are often claims in American media that link immigration into the United States to threats such as ISIS. What are some ways to change the conversation about terrorism and immigration?

PB: Linking immigration in the United States to threats such as ISIS is extremely problematic and prejudicial. This rhetoric is not only used by the media but was used recently by President-elect Trump to fuel racism through the lowest form of fear-mongering. It is therefore very important to challenge this egregious discourse. Linking ISIS with immigration is anti-immigration and anti-Muslim. It supports public display of racist, Islamophobic, and xenophobic sentiments.

There are several ways to counter this rhetoric. You can explain the fact that immigrants boost the American economy is a well-researched finding. You can highlight the fact that getting into the U.S as an immigrant has become increasingly hard since 9/11 because the visa granting process in the United States involves detailed counter-terrorism screening by multiple law-enforcement and government security agencies for all kinds of visas granted. This shows that to assume that the U.S. is letting in ISIS when letting in immigrants is ignorant and foolhardy.

The fact is that, of all the terrorist attacks in America since 9/11, most were carried out by American-born lone wolves, most of whom had no links with ISIS at all. You can get across that the rhetoric that links immigrants to ISIS creates more divisions in our society in the ways that ISIS wants: They have made it quite clear that it’s their strategy to eliminate the “grayzone” where Muslims and non–Muslims live in peace so that all Muslims are forced to turn to them as they continue to feel unsafe.

Most importantly, I would say that the only way to change the conversation is every time such discourse is used we need to stand up and call it out for what it is – racist.

Eunice Owusu is a Council on Contemporary Families Public Affairs Intern and a sociology major at Framingham State University.

This Chair RocksAshton Applewhite is a Council on Contemporary Families expert and has been recognized by the New York Times, National Public Radio, and the American Society on Aging as an expert on ageism. Her new book, “This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism,” was just published in April 2016. She blogs at “This Chair Rocks,” where you can follow her ongoing insights, speaks widely, and is the voice of “Yo, is this ageist?” Ashton’s work is a call to wake up to the ageism in and around us, embrace a more accurate and positive view of growing older, and push back. She agreed to answer a few questions for us:

Q: First, a challenge: what’s one single thing you “know” with certainty, after years of research into modern families?

AA: One of the biggest obstacles to the well-being of modern families is the all-American myth of self-reliance—that people can and should “go it alone”—and we don’t call it out enough. That myth, which equates needing help with physical frailty and weakness of character, serves none of us well—least of all caregivers, people with disabilities, and older people (increasingly overlapping circles on the Venn diagram of life). more...

cohen-philipTSP readers likely appreciate Philip Cohen for his provocative blog, Family Inequality, which—based on a look at who retweets him—regularly has material valued by undergraduates, senior scholars, data nerds, policy wonks, and journalists alike. Cohen is a Council on Contemporary Families senior scholar and a professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland. His research focuses on the sociology of families, social demography, and social inequality. His family textbook, The Family: Diversity, Inequality, and Social Change, was published in 2014. Cohen gave me these useful answers to my “3q”:

Q: First, a challenge: What’s one single thing you “know” with certainty, after years of research into modern families?

PC: Family inequality is remarkably resilient, but when it changes it does so under the influence of external forces. When women’s opportunities increase (or men’s decrease), when public investment in education increases, when the legal environment changes when technology permits reductions in household labor, when policies lighten (or compensate) the load of caring labor — that’s when inequality within families shifts. There is a dialectic here, and micro-level interactions within families matter, but these external forces are in the historical driver’s seat.

Q: Give us the “Twitter” version of your current research—in 140 characters (give or take), what are you working on now?

PC: This is what I’m working on today, in 140 characters: The culture wars over family politics always return to gender difference itself; it’s what’s at stake when left & right fight over families.

Q: How would you encourage a scholar of family life to work to get their research into public life, affecting policy and challenging assumptions about “average families”?

PC: The public loves to argue about families. There are lots of opportunities to get your work out there and make it relevant. Unlike some areas of sociological research, if you’re working on families, almost everything has a potential angle — in fact, one of the challenges is to not oversell the implications of our research. There is also a lot of translational work to do — interpreting and explaining new data and research as it comes out, helping people figure out what to make of the latest findings in the context of what we already know rather than participating in the whipsaw advice machine that thrives on contradicting conventional wisdom. I recommend that junior scholars get involved with the Council on Contemporary Families, which helps organize and transmit new research responsibly and effectively, and to look for opportunities to publish popular pieces in online venues that encourage well-reasoned and empirically-grounding discussion and debate.

Molly McNulty is a CCF Public Affairs intern at Framingham State University. She is a joint Sociology and Education major.

Linda NielsenLinda Nielsen is a Council on Contemporary Families Expert, as well as a professor of Educational and Adolescent Psychology at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. Most of Nielsen’s research centers around the relationship between fathers and daughters. Nielsen’s research gained national attention when Pantene—the shampoo brand—reached out to her in hopes of creating a Super Bowl ad that was inspired by her research and centered around the importance of father-daughter relationships. Nielsen answered a few questions for us about her research, her own family, and any advice that she has:

Q: First, a challenge: what’s one single thing you “know” with certainty, after years of research into modern families?

LN: After writing books and articles about fathers and daughters for nearly three decades, the one single thing I know about father-daughter relationships is that most fathers and daughters would both like to have a more communicative, more comfortable, more personal relationship with one another. Both would like to spend more one on one time together without other family members involved – especially during the daughter’s teenage years when society generally discourages anything more than dad being involved in his daughters’ athletic or academic life – or being her banking machine.

Q: What does your family–both family-of-origin and family-of-choice–look like, and how does that fit with what you know about American families today? Are there points of dissonance? more...