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Child support perceptions and progress

There is no question that popular culture and media coverage both play significant roles in the ways that Americans perceive any number of issues. For example, the ways in which the media covers the issue of child support and the ways in which this parenting contribution is played out in popular culture have helped to shape how Americans perceive this reality.

To some, child support is a necessary evil. It is the price one must pay for being biologically bound to a child that one otherwise does not wish to parent. To others, child support is grossly unfair. It is the price one pays for having a child with a former romantic partner one now loathes. In reality, neither of these perceptions of child support is well-grounded. In reality, child support is most often a loving expression of parental support provided by a parent who either makes more money than his or her child’s other parent and/or by a parent who does not spend quite as much parenting time with his or her child as the child’s other parent.

It is important to dismantle myths about child support so that perceptions of this issue begin to better match its realities. When perceptions of the child support process better match its realities, it may begin to receive the respect it deserves. Some parents cannot physically be there for their children as fully as they would like to be, but they can provide financial support for those children. Far from a necessary evil or a grossly unfair obligation, this support is a loving act and is one that can help children to thrive.

There is no one “right” way to parent a child. For many, providing financial support represents the “right” way for them to parent their children. As media coverage and popular culture continue to evolve, hopefully these societal influences will strive to portray child support for what it truly is, at least most of the time.

Source: Deseret News, “The disconnect between how we view child support laws and how they actually work,” Mandy Morgan, June 2, 2015

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