Money PREP, Arkansas Covenant, Colorado Div bill, Women's work
cmfce at his.com
Tue Feb 27 18:26:18 EST 2001
subject: Money PREP, Arkansas Covenant, Colorado Div bill, Women's work
from: Smart Marriages
The Governor's office in Arkansas has placed into consideration a Covenant
Marriage Bill. I have been asked to testify before the committee
considering the bill - the statistics of divorce, research on divorce and
I'll send you a copy of the legislation and also a copy of the newspaper
piece on the course on marriage preparation we do in our College
(Agriculture). We teach students both Couple's Communication and PREP during
the semester and conclude with a one day PREP workshop where the students
act as mentors to the couples attending.
Dr. William Bailey
University of Arkansas
Note: Dr Bailey will present "Money PREP" at the Orlando Smart Marriages
conference - how couples can use the PREP course skills in dealing with
Saturday February 24 4:03 PM ET Colo. Measure Wants
> By STEVEN K. PAULSON, Associated Press Writer
> DENVER (AP) - When Georgine left her husband of 10 years, she was 29 and
> bruised and battered from nine years of abuse.
> Georgine, who asked that her last name not be used, is one of hundreds of
> domestic abuse victims alarmed by a proposed bill before the Colorado
> Legislature that would require them to undergo a year's worth of marriage
> counseling before a divorce would be granted.
> Although the measure would exempt victims of physical or serious psychological
> abuse, that would not have applied in Georgine's case because there was no
> police record of abuse. She said many women share her plight because they are
> afraid to come forward and confront their attacker.
> ``Why should I have to wait a year to get a divorce? I don't want the state
> telling me I have to stay in a relationship another year,'' she said.
> The sponsor of the bill, state Rep. Dave Schultheis, said the mandatory
> counseling would help parents realize the impact of divorce on children.
> The bill, which is up for hearings this year before a House committee, is
> considered likely to pass the Republican House but to have trouble in the
> Democrat-controlled Senate.
> Several other states have divorce legislation pending, but those bills would
> require counseling before marriage.
> ``The problem today is that couples can get out of marriage quicker than they
> can get out of a Tupperware contract,'' Schultheis said. ``The government has
> been involved in this issue for years. The state has a compelling interest in
> saving marriages.''
> When marriages fail and children are involved, the state ends up paying the
> bills for delinquency, teen pregnancy and welfare, he said.
> House Minority Leader Dan Grossman does not believe the state has the
> authority to interfere in the personal lives of people in divorce.
> ``I'm not convinced it's helpful for the children if they are exposed to
> parents who hate each other and no longer want to live together,'' Grossman
Friday February 23 1:33 PM ET Stepfamilies Need Advice, Support
By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Burdened with the legacy of wicked fairy-tale stepmothers
and the too-cute-to-be-true Brady Bunch, America's stepfamilies are in need
of wiser advice and stronger support from clergy, therapists, lawyers and
That was the core message Friday at a national conference - billed as the
first of its kind - drawing together experts from a wide range of
professions to consider the complexities of stepfamily life.
``Most of our laws and policies are based on first families,'' Margorie
Engel, president of the Stepfamily Association of America, told the opening
session. ``It creates pretty bizarre results when you apply these to all the
stepfamilies around the country.''
Engel's association, chief sponsor of the two-day National Conference on
Stepfamilies, estimates that half of all Americans will be involved in a
stepfamily relationship of some sort.
Yet three decades after no-fault divorce began softening the stigma of
broken marriages, Engel said, many stepfamilies feel misunderstood and often
are frustrated by the advice they get from professionals.
``A lot of these people don't have a clue how to deal with stepfamilies,''
said Engel, citing problems with therapists, lawyers and financial advisers.
The conference was designed to promote attitudes and public policies that
better reflect stepfamilies' needs. Speakers from a variety of fields
suggested steps to accomplish this.
The Rev. Ron Deal discussed a stepfamily ministry that he has developed at
the Southwest Church of Christ in Jonesboro, Ark., and urged clergy
nationwide to be more attentive to stepfamilies.
``Despite the prevalence of stepfamilies in the U.S., the church keeps
acting as if the two-parent-biological home is the only thing out there,''
he told a conference workshop. ``Divorce is not the unforgivable sin. We
have a message of redemption that stepfamilies need to hear.''
One common problem, Deal said, is that many stepfamilies don't want to think
of themselves as different, and strive to be ``an instant biological
family'' comparable to the Brady Bunch.
Deal's essential message to such stepfamilies: ``Your family is different
and complex - not dysfunctional, not bad, not unholy.''
Another major topic at the conference was the legal and financial problems
facing stepfamilies. Speakers noted that most stepparents are - in the legal
sense - strangers to their stepchildren, and thus need to take extra
steps to ensure that the stepchildren are included in wills or health
Other problems cited by speakers include school counselors and military
officials unfamiliar with stepfamily dynamics, therapists wedded to ``first
family'' models, and doctors unsure how much authority a stepparent has to
approve major medical treatment for a stepchild.
``Some really bad advice is going out,'' Engel said. ``The husband and wife
are not getting the information they need.''
Kay Pasley, a professor of family studies at the University of North
Carolina-Greensboro, said debate on stepfamily policy is complicated by the
lack of accurate national statistics. She estimated that nearly 30 percent
of America's children are in stepfamilies, but said the Census Bureau (news
- web sites) does not compile the kind of data that would nail down a
Another elusive statistic is the national divorce rate, which is generally
estimated at between 40 percent and 50 percent. Pasley said remarriages,
often because of the strains of stepfamily life, end in divorce about 60
percent of the time.
James Bray, a professor at the Baylor College of Medicine, said his research
suggests that stepchildren are no more prone to drinking and drug abuse than
other children, but have roughly double the rate of other behavioral and
William Doherty, director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at the
University of Minnesota, is among the growing ranks of academics who study
stepfamilies - and find them fascinating.
``Stepfamilies make us face the unpleasant truth that the core goals of
adults and children, and of husbands and wives, often diverge,'' he wrote
recently. ``When stepfamilies nevertheless succeed in creating a nurturing
life together, as many ultimately do, it is a striking human achievement.''
STUDY CALCULATES COSTS OF BALANCING WORK-FAMILY ROLES
February 27, 2001
`Dual career parents somehow manage to juggle their work and domestic lives
every day--but at what cost?" asked Linda Waite, co-director of the Alfred
P. Sloan Center on Parents, Children and Work at the University of Chicago.
Waite, who has a doctorate in sociology, is a nationally recognized expert
on family issues, and she and the center's co-director, Barbara Schneider,
plan to find the answer through their research of 500 families nationwide.
In the study are dual career families with either a teenager or
kindergartner or both. And they were thoroughly studied: "In addition to
separate, intensive interviews, we did individual electronic monitoring of
every family member for one week," said Waite, author of "The Case for
Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier and Better Off
"Their beeper watches went off eight times a day and they were asked to fill
out a log about how they spend their time. That way, we got the perspectives
of everyone involved," she added.
Though final results are not yet available, Waite says there are some
preliminary--and very thought-provoking--findings of "costs."
"In families where the wife works more than 40 hours a week, there is early
evidence that the husband's health suffers," said the sociologist. Women
typically take care of their husbands' well-being, "but when a woman works
super hours, her role as family caretaker suffers--and no one steps into the
Another early finding is that teenagers whose mothers work show higher
levels of depressive symptoms than youngsters whose mothers don't. "They're
not depressed, but some have trouble sleeping, are lonely and feel sad,"
And indications are there's someone else in the family who clearly pays the
cost. "Mothers who work full time have higher levels of stress than those
who don't," the sociologist said. "Families do tend to be coping, but women
still do the lion's share of work around the house--at least twice as much
housework as men--and when they're at home, they're more likely to be doing
two things at once."
Waite adds that "teenagers aren't doing a lot of housework, though they
think they are--but not when you look at the beeper data." And that means
Mom does it.
Do these early results mean women should stop working? "Not at all," Waite
said. "We need to figure out ways to ease the burden on women, many of whom
want to be the ones who make their families more comfortable, but not that
they should return home. That won't happen--the economy would grind to a
standstill. Companies are discovering that if they want to keep talented
women, they might have to make them a different deal."
Jeanne Ulatowski, vice president and manager of work-life services at
Northern Trust Corp. in Chicago, recognizes the costs of her job both
professionally and personally. "The continual balancing act that I, my
friends and my colleagues go through is tremendous--I just can't go home and
sit, even though my husband is truly helpful," Ulatowski said.
She and her husband, George, a maintenance and engineering manager, have a
daughter, Caitlin, 13. "The cost comes out in emotional and physical
exhaustion, or stress, whatever you want to call it, because women still are
the primary caregivers."
Companies, she agrees, need to step in. "Northern is tuned into this
problem," Ulatowski said. "I couldn't do what I do every day at work and at
home if Northern didn't have a family resource program with a broad array of
services, such as financial and legal advice, on-site child care, elder care
and flexible hours. We want to keep the employees we have."
And there's also a bottom line reason the bank is so supportive about
reducing stress: "You can't be the best you can be if you're fragmented all
over the place," said the executive.
That would be another "cost."
Copyright © 2001 CMFCE. All rights reserved.
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