March 25th, 2014
There is about a six week to six month period right after a child is born where forming a bond with your child is quite significant. This period of time will help the child with setting a certain healthy routine, getting the house set for the child, and adjusting to the new life in the household. The value of having both parents by the child’s side can make a difference in how the child is raised or even how the child may perceive their own life. There has been occurrences where people feel worthless without one parent in their life. The bond that you create with your family in those six weeks or so is important to uphold and will make for stronger families. Those children that have been through divorces or not even knowing who one parent is in the first place may be pressed with difficulties in their life. In “Leave Practices of Parents after the Birth or Adoption of Young Children” it is explained, “Children whose mothers did not report taking any leave (10% of the total) were more likely to be from a lone-parent family.” I was raised by a single mother and when I was born my mother did not take any leave from work or school. She had me on the weekend and was back on a Tuesday. I was raised mostly by my grandmother at the beginning of my life. Growing up without a father has always been a difficult obstacle for me to overcome. When I was younger I could never understand why it seemed like everyone else had something I could never have. There have been men who come into my life and try to fill the role of a father to me, but there is always still a void. There is not a day in my life that I don’t think about my father: who he is, how he looks, or if I have brothers and sisters. Many people that I have come by in my life have a bond with their father that seems unrealistic to me because it is unattainable. Even though I do not have a father, I can tell that bond is extremely important. Paid paternity leave is an exceptional way to promote a healthy family and be able to form that very special bond.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary paternity leave is, “a short period of authorized absence from employment granted to a father after or shortly before the birth of his child.” Paternity leave is very close in definition to maternity leave but it is the leave taken by the father instead of just the mother. I believe that the father should always be able to take his six weeks and have it be paid for so that the he can still help support the family. Another term that is very pertinent to my argument is explained on the United States Department of Labor website. The term is the Family and Medical Leave Act which discloses, “The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.” The website also discloses that employees will get twelve work weeks of unpaid leave within a twelve month period. Even though this act is beneficial to working parents, it does not entitle parents to any sort of paid leave. Even though there isn’t much evidence of the impact of men at home, the bond created between the parents and the child is not replaceable by any means. In the article “Fathers, Parental Leave Policies, and Infant Quality of Life: International Perspectives and Policy Impact” the author Margaret O’Brien states, “. . . parental leave has the potential to boosts fathers’ emotional investment and connection with infants as well as the support of their mothers.” There is a couple I know personally where the father was only given a total of three days after his son was born. He has already taken all of his vacation days for work and could not call off even if he wanted to. Those vacation days were not even paid for and sometimes it caused their family to have to struggle to...
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