Charita Goshay: Court wise to offer parenting classes for unmarried couples

Charita Goshay

Family Court in Stark County, Ohio, recently introduced parenting classes for unwed couples. This is a forward-thinking program. But what a shame such a thing is even necessary.

Clearly the court administrators understand that too often, children are used as bargaining chips for everything from money to marriage, or to “punish” an offending parent.

But children are not blunt instruments. When parents set out to hurt one another, the person who suffers the most is the one who’s least able to do anything about it.

Anyone who works for a family court will tell you that the cases involving child custody and visitation are some of the most volatile and emotional.

Heartbreak and anger appear on the docket daily. In turn, newsrooms frequently receive impassioned calls from desperate noncustodial parents who feel “cheated” by the system. It’s no coincidence that most media outlets won’t come within 10 feet of such cases unless they’re connected to some highly unusual circumstance. There simply are too many.

The ideal

In a perfect world, all children would be born because they are planned and wanted, but we know that people have children for all sorts of reasons, the worst being “it just happened.”

Currently, 40 percent of all American children are born out of wedlock. For minorities, it tops 70 percent. This should bother even the most liberal among us, given that children in single-parent homes are more likely to live in poverty, suffer behavioral problems and struggle in school.

This is not to say that every two-parent household is perfect or that it cranks out perfect kids — we know better than that — but it remains the ideal. It is a scenario that everyone who’s considering having a child should want for their child.

Everyone knows plenty of single parents who have done extremely well by their children. Parents sometimes become single not by choice but by circumstance. But when a child purposely born of a single parent becomes old enough to understand that it takes two people to make a baby, that not everyone lives like he or she does, it triggers a sense of incompleteness.

Standing down when you think you’re right is not easy. Here’s hoping the court’s parenting classes help to reduce the warfare that catches so many kids in the crossfire.

Audacity of dopes

There would be no greater insult to the 600 people in the Ohio communities of Minerva, Malvern and Salem who just lost their jobs at Colfor Manufacturing than if General Motors is permitted to import Chinese-made vehicles to the United States.

Sometimes you read a thing, and it sounds so thoroughly insane that you wonder if you haven’t lost your mind.

For months, GM buttonholed taxpayers before carting away $15.4 billion in loans. The people helping to float these loans include those who worked at Colfor and other auto-parts suppliers across this country. And now they’re supposed to buy cars made in China — by a company that wants to use public dollars to import them?

Meanwhile, as Chrysler shutters 800 dealerships, some executives are being reclassified as Fiat employees to skirt the government’s limits on their compensation.

President Obama, take note: This is not the kind of audacity Americans were hoping for.