Posts filed under ‘Parenthood’

Danny Glover Interview with Jeffery Leving – part 1

Part 1 of 2 –

JML: Can you tell us about your father, your family and how you grew up?

If I’m a good father, it’s because I try to be half the father as my father was. I had a father who I thought was a prince. Even though at times we disappointed him in terms of what we did as teenagers, as kids with all that energy. But for the most part, I just thought when I sit down and analyze what he gave me – the sense of comfort, the sense of safety that he gave me.

I knew that he wasn’t a big man, I’m a foot taller than my father but the sense of presence, and the way he took on his responsibilities of caring for the family – all those things I was able to take into fatherhood. And hopefully, even though some things I think I could have done differently, hopefully those had some sort of impact on my daughter.  And our relationship is a testimony that it’s had an impact on her.

That’s only because my father was there in the household and my mother was there. We had a unit as a family with 5 children and mother and father and we did things as a family. We traveled on vacation as a family. There was the concept that the family took precedence over me the individual. So we all had and took on responsibility whether it was the upkeep of the house or whether it’s the cooking of the meals and all the other kind of things and I think what it did was give me another sensibility.

So since there were 4 boys and 1 girl, there was no gender preference given to the boys in terms of responsibility. The boys washed dishes, the boys ironed clothes, the boys cooked – every one of them knew how to do all of that. I think those were important because in a sense that’s the images I saw in my parents. My father cooked, he washed clothes, he ironed, he did all those things – he took on that. My mother was a Cub Scout Mother. When we lived in the projects when I was a little boy, my father was my youngest brother’s Boy Scout Den Father when we lived in a house. So I applaud them in creating the sense of normalcy and the consistency in which they maintained that.

You’re fortunate because you grew up in a stable family where your parents were together and they raised you as a teen and you had a great dad. You had an excellent father.

I had a great mom and a great dad and I think they made each other the best that they could be. I had one of those mothers who had the most glorious smile that you ever want to see and yet she was a woman of magnitude. She was the president of the local chapter of the National Council of Negro Women, she knew Dr. Dorothy Hite well, she was the first in her family in rural Georgia to graduate from college. So she was a woman going somewhere. And she happened to pick one of the most gentle men, one of the most beautiful men I ever met in my life – my dad.

I mean that’s great, as a divorce lawyer and as a fathers’ rights attorney, I’m a big supporter of children having two parents. And when we were growing up, a lot of children had two parents.

Absolutely, absolutely.

Unfortunately it’s changed a lot and a lot of fathers get kicked to the curb and children suffer. And I’ve represented a lot of good dads struggling to be there for their children and the system kicks them out. But fortunately for us we grew up in a different time.

Yeah!  I’m 62 years old so I grew up in a time when it meant something to get in the car and the family go on a Sunday drive down the coast – I grew up in San Francisco – so we’d go an hour down the coast as a family and stop by a little, local hamburger/French fry place – that’s a cravat right there, there was the real thing about that. We’d have some hamburgers and French fries as a family and I loved that and I remember that so vividly in my mind, you know, with my parents. And it could be a way in which they were saying, “Okay, let’s as a family do something.”

We don’t have a lot of money; we weren’t blessed with a lot of money. My parents went from paycheck to paycheck all their entire time that I lived with them. And after I moved out of the house. But there was this sense of doing something that felt so and remarkably wonderful as a family. And I lost a sister, lost a brother to rheumatory arthritis, colon cancer to my sister. But I tell you – my younger brothers that are much younger that I am and I are very very close.

Oh, that’s great. I wrote this book, Fathers’ Rights and in it on pages 46 and 47, I listed a lot of statistics on how father absence effects in children and the most reliable predictor of crime in America is father absence. It says right here, 72% of all teenage murderers grew up without fathers. The absence of a biological father increases by 900% a daughter’s vulnerability to rape and sexual abuse. And these assaults are not often committed by the dads, it’s committed by boyfriends of the custodial parents. These are the statistics that are somewhat new to our society.

I agree with you to some extent, but there are other factors that happen within a family, within the communal structure than just those particular statistics which apply to the individual. What are the social conditions? What is the stress level of the mother? What other kind of support mechanism does she have around? Where are the uncles around there to help raise those children? Where are the aunts around to help raise those girls? A lot of other factors that go into that. To say that the numbers, of course, when we take the fact that 2 million men and women incarcerated in this country. Those numbers who suggest that, but I think that there are a lot of other dynamics around the maintenance of a family. The laws and regulations and communities are family-friendly that create the kind of atmosphere as well in support.
The fact is they say that if you can’t love the one you want, love the one you’re with. We found that in most cases, when those single boys – and I’ve been in those situations – and those boys in those relationships where there’s someone who cares, where there’s someone there. He may be a father figure; he may be a father himself. But there’s someone who cares. And those girls are with people who care about them and care about who they are. Amazing things happening.

And sometimes in the 21st century, given all the kinds of dynamics that happen. In the last part of the 20th century, people were very mobile. They moved from place to place. They went from job to job as opposed to the first part of the 20th century. The last part of the 20th century, people become mobile and that has an impact on whatever the social dynamics among the family and the community itself. And also, the structures that employ us, remember – you take a place like Detroit. Detroit was one of the first places in this country as black people after the invention of the cotton picking machine in 1944 – black people were free from the land. 100% of the cotton was picked by hand in 1944, within 25 years 100% of the cotton was picked my machine. So black people moved, migrated. 5 million black people moved out of the South, to the North. All kinds of family disruptions. So almost a quarter of the black population moved in transit to find work.

They came to places like Detroit, got jobs – good jobs. Low skill jobs, good paying jobs. They built homes, raised families all over the country. Then those cities became de-industrialized. Those jobs went over seas to cheaper labor. Continued, we see it today. They went to some other place, for cheaper labor. Therefore are many losses: tax based. They lost a sense of self. They lost their sense of identity. Upon losing that sense of identity you have what you have now. Those are the kind of ideas that we cannot simply; we must incorporate any analysis of those things that have happened. That’s real history. That’s real history that’s right in front of my eyes.

My dad had a job, he retired from a job after 31 years. My mother when she passed away was still working. They had a job and everything else. They were able to build a family. We moved from the projects, I lived in the projects, the housing projects until I was 11 years old. We moved from there, we bought a home.

Every one of us got into problems; yes we did things as kids. But I remember when my dad came down into that police station and said after I had done something and came in and picked me up and said, “Son, I am disappointed in you.”

I’m towering over him now, I’m 6’2”, I am towering over him. “Son, I am so disappointed in you.”

That has meaning to me. That had meaning to me because of their life. That had meaning to me because of all the things that have happened. And that was the last time I had been involved in anything like that. I’ve been arrested for doing other things like for protesting something or sitting in or something like that. But it’s the last thing. Those are the kind of things I think of enforcedly. I know that now. I got a 5 year old grandson whose father is not there. I know that I have to tell him everyday that he is the most important person in my life. I have to tell him every day that I love him. I have to tell him that everyday, the best job that I have, the best job in the world for me is to being your grandfather – and everything else. Your dad may not be here, but you know what, I’m here. That kind of infrastructure, that kind of support will give him a shot! Give him a chance, you know. Somebody loves me. And maybe it’s nice that I love myself as well.

I see.


May 1, 2009 at 7:17 pm 1 comment

Interview with President Barack Obama – on Responsible Fatherhood


Interview with President Barack Obama

Then Senator Barack Obama appeared as a guest on the Jeffery Leving Fathers’ Rights Legal Show on SOUL 106.3 FM – Chicago/Indiana.  Here is a transcript of the interview where they discuss the importance of responsible fatherhood:

Jeffery M. Leving
Senator Barack Obama

President Obama: Yes, sir!

JML: How are you doing? It’s an honor to talk to you. I actually met you at an NAACP event Vera Davis put on in Chicago years ago.

President Obama: Well it’s wonderful to talk to you again.

JML: This is Jeffery Leving with the Jeffery Leving Fathers’ Rights Legal Show today. And today we are honored to have as our guest Presidential Candidate Senator Barack Obama.

Senator, I was reading your website, and I was reading about Strengthening Fatherhood and Families and in your website, you talk about fatherless children and how they are more likely to end up in poverty and drop out of school and I also read your Responsible Fatherhood & Healthy Families Act.

And I think that’s tremendous and it can help a lot of children and families. What motivated you to re-introduce the Responsible Fatherhood & Healthy Families Act?

President Obama: Well, Jeffery as you know my father left me when I was 2. I remember watching my mom struggle as a single parent, trying to go to school and work and raise 2 kids at the same time – and fortunately she has support from my grandparents but a lot of single moms don’t have that.

And unfortunately although many of them do heroic jobs – it is true that statistically; children without fathers involved their lives are more likely to experience poverty, more likely their girls to get pregnant as teenagers, they’re more likely to have problems at school and so I really believe that it’s important for us in all communities but especially the African American Community – which has seen such as problem with lack of men and male involvement in family life that we really put an emphasize on this.

And this is something that the government can help to make sure that we don’t have a dis-incentive for fathers to be involved; make sure that our welfare programs for example are designed in such a way that they don’t penalize fathers participating.

I think we got to do a real good job trying to reintroduce males who’ve been involved in the criminal justice system as ex-offenders – giving them the opportunity so that they are able to support their families, find work, get on the right path – but ultimately there’s a lot of personal responsibility that’s involved in this. And one of the things I want to do as president is to use the bully pulpit to say to men, “You’ve to get involved in your child’s life. It will make a difference not only in their lives but in yours.”

JML: I agree with you 100%. We need to support and involve fatherhood. I also believe, to do this, we have to change the way the world views dads – and fathers are an untapped resource and I believe by involving fathers in positive relationships with their children, that will reduce youth violence which is affecting our country terribly, especially in Chicago where we’re from.

So we need to do this and justice shouldn’t be a luxury and many fathers don’t have the resources to seek legal counsel, to involve themselves in their children’s lives and they don’t have even basic knowledge – so your bill is excellent.

I’m a big supporter of it because I think the bill will help many many children throughout our country – because millions of children are father-absent in the United States and because of that, they are living in poverty and they can escape poverty by this bill coming law.

How do we keep crime down in the United States? We know that involving fathers and positive relationships with their children is one solution. But what are other solutions to keeping crime down and fighting youth violence?

We also have to have after school and summer school to give positive alternatives to our youth. And if we invest in early childhood education, studies show that every dollar we invest there we see improvements in reading scores reduced dropout rates, and reduced delinquencies. So giving young people positive things to do and investing in more police on the street the better off we are going to be.

Alright Jeffery, thank you so much for having me.

JML: Thank you for being on my show, I appreciate your time.

President Obama: Thank you so much – take care.

To listen to the archived interview, please visit:

March 12, 2009 at 5:23 pm 1 comment

It’s 2009 – Do You Know Where Your Kids Are?


Today’s teenagers are speeding down the information superhighway with no seatbelt, and many concerned parents don’t know which way to steer the wheel.  Every generation of parents have to worry what their children are up to.  Parents seek to discover what their children are trying to communicate and more importantly who is communicating with them.  With teenagers especially, this task becomes even more difficult because they are not very cooperative.  In today’s culture, children are not looking for trouble on the streets late at night, they are doing it from the privacy of their own bedrooms.  The problem with this is sexual predators are doing the same thing.  Predators have found a very comfortable and seemingly safe environment to devise easily executed scams to meet, mingle, manipulate, and seduce kids.

One of today’s fastest growing websites for teenagers is  You may have never heard of MySpace but I can guarantee your children probable have.  MySpace describes itself as “a place for friends”.  Kids chat, mingle, maintain online journals known as “blogs,” and post information about themselves and their friends.  On the surface this seems like an innocent concept and it can be if children take safety precautions.  It can also become a great intelligence source for predators who want to hurt children.  When a typical teenager is walking down the street late at night they have their guard up.  They are ready for anything that seems dangerous and have a plan of action.  When many of these same kids are on the internet late at night they let their guard down.  This is exactly what predators are waiting for.  MySpace is not alone; Xanga, LiveJournal, and Yspy are some other online internet blog sites, which act as late night social hubs for teenagers.

Exactly how big is the problem of predators soliciting children on MySpace? “The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has received at least 288 MySpace-related complaints, according to U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan in Pittsburgh.”

The good news for parents is that MySpace and the National Center For Missing & Exploited Children have recently teamed up and will be working together to make MySpace a safer environment for kids by setting age limits for users and policing the site on a more regular basis.  With 69 million members, these two groups will have their hands full and will need help from parents.

What can parents do to protect their children?  The most important thing is education and observation.  However, you can consider the appropriateness of the following:

1. Don’t allow your kids to have a personal computer in their bedroom.  Keep the computer in an area where there is less privacy, such as the family room.

2. Look at your children’s internet profile for sites such as MySpace and set up an account and get familiar with the site.

3. Make your children “lock down” their profiles.  This allows only their friends to see personally identifiable information.

4. Look at their “buddy” lists.

5. Look at the instant messenger history on the computers they use.

Instant messenger history can give parents a sense of what their children are communicating online, but only if parents can decipher what is being communicated.
To make a parent’s job even more difficult, kids are using codes when communicating by instant messenger, or text messaging between cell phone users.  As with any form of such communications it can be used for good or bad.  They can be used to communicate between your child and a long time friend or an online predator.

The following example illustrates how some kids communicate in ways parents may not understand.  Dialogue that seems innocuous and benign may in fact be very serious and require attention.  Parents cannot be expected to see the warning signs if the signs are in a different language.

Terry:   Hi Katie!
Katie:   DIKU?
Terry:   Terry!
Terry:   From school.
Katie:   MorF?
Terry:   MOTOS! NIFOC!
Katie:   TMI!!
Terry:   PANB?
Katie:   No, working.
Terry:   Lookin’ for LTR?
Katie:   LTS!
Terry:   WTGP?
Katie:   Sure, W/E.
Terry:   O.K.
Katie:   P911, G2G!
Terry:   CUL.

Now let’s look at the same chat after it has been deciphered:

Terry:   Hi Katie!
Katie:   Do I know you?
Terry:   Terry!
Terry:   From school.
Katie:   Male or Female?
Terry:   Member of the opposite sex.
Katie:   Too much information!!!
Terry:   Parents are nearby?
Katie:   No, working.
Terry:   Looking for long term relationship?
Katie:   Laughing to myself!
Terry:   Want to go private?
Katie:   Sure, whatever.
Terry:   O.K.
Katie:   Parent alert! Got to go!
Terry:   See you later.

It is crucial for parents to know not only with whom their children are communicating with but also what is being communicating.  For more information on online chat abbreviations log onto

So what can parents do when all else fails? There are several commercially available monitoring programs available such as Child Protector Internet Filter, Parental Controls 2.0.5, KidsBrowser 3.1.1, and Safe Eyes 2006 2.0.  For a small cost these programs can tell you exactly what your children are doing and help you steer the wheel.

Some other valuable resources for parents are: ,, and

Detective Wayne Halick is a Licensed Private Detective and the agency director of Millennium Investigations, Inc.

You can e-mail Detective Halick at His agency is located at 358 W. Army Trail Road, Unit 140-355, Bloomingdale, Illinois 60108. Their telephone number is 630-543-5500.

March 4, 2009 at 4:45 pm Leave a comment

Divorced Dads – DO’S & DON’TS

By Beth Neuman
When a dad’s relationship with his children’s mother ends, there are only two ways for him to (legally) ensure that he will remain an active, involved parent: a negotiated custody settlement or successful litigation. In either situation, the father must be prepared to demonstrate his competence, character and commitment as a responsible parent. No court will approve a sole or joint custody agreement, unless the custodial parent provides a clean, safe home and effective and attentive child care. So, despite the emotional chaos and legal wrangling that surrounds him, divorcing dads must find the time and energy to maintain or strengthen their relationships with their children.

For many fathers, the advice to become more involved in child-rearing is unnecessary. These dads have been significantly involved in every aspect of their children’s growth and development. Unfortunately, economic forces, misplaced priorities, or outdated notions of fatherhood have kept some dads from proving they can be effective parents.

There is no official checklist or magic formula for fathers seeking to prove they can be responsible caregivers, but there are some basic do’s and don’ts for any newly single father:


  1. Spend time with your children and get involved in their after-school activities, such as athletics, music, dance, etc. 

  2. Take an active role in the children’s academic development by helping them with their homework and meeting with their teachers regularly.

  3. Foster positive moral development and encourage attendance at church, synagogue or mosque.
  4. Assist in helping solve your children’s problems, whether they be large or small.
  1. Lose your temper in front of your kids. Despite the stress of divorce, you must try to control your emotions.

  2. Try to be your children’s buddy. Impose and enforce (but not with corporal punishment) reasonable rules of behavior.

  3. Interfere with the children’s relationship with their mother.
  The bottom line is: get involved. If you have been hovering at the edges of your children’s lives, it’s time to get down on the floor or out in the park with them. Meet their friends and their friends’ parents. Take the kids biking, to the zoo, ballgames, to plays. Read to them, play games, fly a kite, go sledding. Reinforce a sense of belonging together. To the extent possible, share your hobbies with the kids and become involved in activities that interest them. Adjust your schedule to spend more time with your children. Talk, and listen to them.

Prepare for single fatherhood right now, even if you are still living with the children’s mother. Improve (or develop) your performance of child-care chores, such as cooking, laundry, housework, and grocery and clothes shopping. Learn by doing, or enroll in one of the numerous parenting classes at a community college or an adult education center.

The work and responsibilities of solo parenthood sometimes can cause a father to lose heart and doubt his parenting skills. These anxieties can lead to fathers accepting the role of a secondary parent with limited involvement in their children’s lives. But research shows that fathers need not worry. Several studies comparing the child-rearing skills of single fathers with those of single mothers found no difference between the two groups. If you think you can’t be an effective parent because you are a man, think again!

Many divorcing fathers will find that the transition from married dad to single dad can be accomplished with only a minor increase in effort and commitment. For others, a major realignment of priorities and lifestyle. In either case, when compared to the value of fatherhood to children, to fathers, and to society, the price is small.

March 3, 2009 at 6:39 pm Leave a comment