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7 Small Tactics to Help Improve Your Self-Discipline

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Saturday, January 15, 2022

7 Small Tactics to Help Improve Your Self-Discipline

Trying to stick to a new goal? Adopt a new habit? This is the advice worth remembering.

By Steve Calechman from Fatherly


Jan 05 2022, 4:10 PM



The thought of achieving more self-discipline is always appealing. Who among us doesn’t want to be less bound to their temptations, to learn that new instrument or bang out that dream project? Putting things into in motion, however, gets a little thornier because that requires change and change often puts you on the path of most resistance, which is an easy deterrent. 

“Doing things the old way is easy, comfortable, and familiar,” says Jill A. Stoddard, licensed psychologist in San Diego, California and author of Be Mighty

That’s the first problem along the path of self-discipline. The second is the feeling of not measuring up since everyone else always seems like they have it together. But that’s the destructive myth, one that makes us believe that “the most disciplined people are always disciplined 24/7,” says Trevor Cote, a licensed clinical sports psychologist in Boston. “The truth falls in between.”

Self-discipline is hard and it does mean grinding some days out. It doesn’t, however, mean grinding out every day. While there are things that can help with sticking to whatever routine or habit you’re chasing, nothing will be effective if your initial target is off. So, before you buy or plan anything to help, you must decide what goal really matters to you. Then, it’s about making small changes to focus on that goal.

So what to do? Here, with help from Stoddard, Cote, and acclaimed author Harlan Coben, is how to improve your self-discipline.

1. Figure Out What Really Matters

Writing a book or cooking more might sound good, but if you’re doing anything for someone else or because it’s what you think you should do, you’ll start out strong and “hit a wall” in about a month,” Cote says. “The sustainability is not there.”

Whatever goal you set needs to tie into your values. It doesn’t mean it will be all-the-time fun, but it has to deeply resonate and be more than another item on a must-do list. 

“When you reframe it as a choice that matters to you, it can be easier to choose to be disciplined,” Stoddard says.

2. Study Your Environment

If you want to be in Tom Brady-like shape, you can certainly take inspiration from him and see the things you share. But people get tripped up when they don’t see the differences. Brady, for instance,  has coaches, chefs, equipment, and a life that supports all-out focus, something that you probably don’t, Cote notes.

You also have to weigh the consequences of devotion, because, “There’s always a cost,” Cotes adds. It could be money, physical or emotional pain, or time away from your family. Maybe you decide it’s not worth it, but it might mean reshaping what you do in order to be doable. That focus is key.

3. Give Yourself Reminders 

There’s always a YouTube clip that you find yourself drawn to. But, “Most distractions are self-created,” says Harlan Coben, acclaimed author of Win and 34 other books. What helps Coben is to remember that his life works best when there’s balance in all realms: relationships, exercise, sports, and work. “If I’m not writing at all,” says Coben. “I’m not in balance.” 

But it’s also like the gym, he says, where he knows that once he starts, it feels good and once it’s done, he always feels better. For him, there’s no fixed solution of: Do this and discipline will follow. “Most of it is reminders to myself of why I do what I do,” Coben says.

4. Chop It Down

You don’t always have the same energy, so you wait for it to come, and you end up waiting. “In reality, it’s often action that triggers motivation,” Stoddard says. When starting is hard, break up your routine into small steps. Write one paragraph or bike one hill. “There’s this feedback loop of seeing yourself do something,” Cote says. The result is, “That felt pretty good,” and you most likely have jumpstarted yourself to keep going. 

But there’s also a redefining element of what staying disciplined means. Maybe you realize you only have 40 percent energy. Rather than taking it easy or taking the day off, you shift your mindset and do the most you can. 

Says Cote, “Empty the tank for whatever you have.”

5. Create Visual Markers

Your eyes prime you for a challenge. Put a picture, an inspiring quote, a word, where it will be seen regularly. This isn’t about guilt, but as a reminder that, “This is what I want to do.” It alone won’t be the motivation, but it works in concert with all the other elements. “It’s a form of self-talk, but it’s external,” Cote says.

6. Bring Someone Else On Board

This is the literal or figurative workout buddy. But bringing someone on board is more than upping your accountability. It’s having another person there to share bits of your life with and building a connection. Time also moves quicker and is more enjoyable when you’re talking with another person rather than being alone with your runaway thoughts. “You’re outside yourself,” Cote says.



The Fatherly Guide To: Teaching Kids Healthy Financial Habits

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Saturday, January 15, 2022

The Fatherly  Guide To: Teaching Kids Healthy Financial Habits




Every parent’s dream is for their child to grow into a healthy, happy adult. As it turns out, an essential part of achieving outcomes is teaching them how to have a positive relationship with money—living within their means, saving a portion of what they make, and investing prudently.


Talking to Your Kids About Money

Money management is one of the most basic life skills that a child can learn, but kids are too often left feeling their way in the dark. In part, that’s because financial education is a subject that many schools gloss over or skip altogether.

Only nine states require at least one semester of financial education coursework at the high school level, according to the nonprofit Next Gen Personal Finance. So it’s not surprising that 76 percent of Gen Z respondents to a 2019 study said they wished their school would have offered a fin-ed class.

That puts an even bigger onus on parents to help kids learn the basics like the importance of creating a budget and borrowing responsibly. “I ask parents to think about all the money lessons they wish someone would have taught them when they were younger,” says financial education instructor Monica Eaton. “Chances are, their kids will not get those lessons in school.”

That leaves kids to be taught at home, but unfortunately, lots of parents don’t know how to start the conversation. A recent survey found that 41 percent of parents expressed a reluctance to discuss financial matters with their children. That curtain of silence only makes it harder for kids to develop the financial skills they’ll need once they go off to college or join the workforce.

Rather than skirting the issue, experts say parents can use ordinary experiences—a trip to the mall or the bank, for example—as opportunities to talk about concepts like saving and spending. As with other aspects of life, kids will pick up on what they see their parents doing, too. Explaining the decisions you’re making to secure your financial future, whether it’s budgeting or building an emergency fund, can have a lasting impact.

“When they see mom and dad having more success in their finances, they’ll learn through osmosis,” says Samir Ahmed, a lead planner with the virtual advisory Facet Wealth.

“If you don’t teach kids at a young age, you can’t expect them to grow up to be financially responsible.”

Neale Godfrey, founder of Children’s Financial Network

Separating Needs and Wants

As parents learn early on, kids have a tendency to think they need every item that catches their eye, whether it’s a giant playset or a lunch box advertising their favorite cartoon. But if you want your kids to avoid dangerous spending habits later in life, you have to teach them that they can’t have it all. As the 47 percent of Americans with credit card debt can attest, learning that lesson is easier said than done.

Eaton says that performing simple, hands-on activities when your kids are still young can help them learn the critical distinction between needs and wants.

“Explain that money pays for both needs and wants,” Eaton, the author of the children’s financial literacy book Money Plan says. “Because money is a limited resource, needs come first.”

Teaching Needs and Wants

Start with the Basics

Collect a variety of different items from around your home, from articles of clothing and toys to personal items. Have your child call out whether each item is a must-have or a wanna-have.


Have a Deeper Conversation

Ask your child whether food is a need or a want. Then ask them which category a particular fast food restaurant would fit into. Soon, you’re having a conversation about what’s an actual necessity and what’s a luxury, a distinction that’s key to healthy spending habits.


Put It into Practice

Make it clear that you will pay for things your child needs (e.g. clothing) but not everything they want (e.g. designer jeans). If your kids want to spend their money on wants, Godfrey says, “It’s perfectly okay for them to earn the money to buy that themselves.”


Learning the Value of a Dollar

When kids still cling to the fantasy that mom and dad have a limitless supply of cash, the concept of saying no to a purchase is utterly foreign. If your last name is Bezos, that’s probably not a big deal. For everybody else, teaching children the finite nature of money can help prepare them for adulthood—and potentially save you from a lot of nagging in the short run.

One of the best financial lessons you can give your child is a sense of how much things cost, both in terms of the price tag and how much work goes into acquiring those dollars. Again, Eaton recommends turning it into a game to get kids interested. Take them along with you to a grocery store and give them a list of different items to purchase, but make sure they stick to a budget of around $10. Pretty soon they’ll be paying more attention to the cost of various items and prioritizing what ends up in your cart.

As your kids get a little older, you can expand that exercise into other purchasing decisions, nudging them to become informed consumers. Whether you compensate them for chores or hand out a weekly allowance, the key is to make your son or daughter pay for “want” items using their own supply of funds.

By having to work within those guardrails, kids are learning what it means to have a budget and determine how much they truly value different items or experiences. When kids know that a new video game will drain their account, for example, they may end up deciding to stick with what they have or buy a less expensive, used version. “They have to figure out if it’s worth it or not,” says Godfrey.

Illuminating the Importance of Saving

The sudden Covid-induced recession last year was a reminder of how precarious the financial health of many adults truly is. According to a Federal Reserve study conducted last November, 45 percent of laid-off workers were unable to pay their monthly bills or wouldn’t have been able to if faced with an unexpected $400 expense. In other words, the crisis exposed just how serious America’s savings problem really is.

So how do you get kids to understand the concept of delayed gratification—to put aside some of what they make now so they’re able to handle future needs? Eaton’s preferred method is to create a savings goal with your child and keep them focused on it. Have them select a product or experience they’d really like and help them research how much it costs. You can even create a “goal poster” with a picture of the item, its price, and an indication of how much progress your kid has made toward purchasing it.

“Talk about ways your child can earn money by completing chores around the house,” suggests Eaton. “Each ‘payday’ lets your child choose the amount of money they would like to put towards the purchase of their goal item.”

Godfrey recommends a slightly different approach: automating their savings so a portion of everything they earn is untouchable in the short-term. It could be as simple as creating different jars for spending and savings, although separating funds is considerably easier if you’re paying your kids through a family-friendly app like Greenlight, a debit card for kids and teens that can also be a valuable teaching tool for parents.

For instance, Greenlight users can transfer a fixed percentage of the child’s allowance to their “Spend Anywhere” balance and another portion to their “General Savings.” Parents can even divert part of their payment to the “Give” category, teaching them to set aside a portion of their income for their favorite charity.



What Is Your Purpose as a Father?

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Tuesday, January 11, 2022

What Is Your Purpose as a Father?

New studies suggest that having a sense of purpose makes dads healthier, happier, and stronger in the face of challenges we're all facing.

BY JEREMY ADAM SMITH from the Greater Good | JUNE 18, 2020


Sooner or later, our kids will make us suffer. When they’re babies, their crying keeps us up at night. Later, their teenage shenanigans might rob us of more sleep. Some of us stay at jobs we hate so that our kids will never have to wonder where their next meal will come from. We can battle with our co-parents over issues like housework and discipline, testing love we might have once thought would last forever.

These stresses and sacrifices can be painful, but studies are finding one thing that can help us to weather them: a sense of purpose. That is to say, our long-term, meaningful goals as fathers.

A sense of purpose shapes day-to-day goals and behavior. Seeing a destination on the horizon helps us to lift our eyes over the dirty dishes and temper tantrums, to a future that is better than the present. Purpose makes that pile of dishes matter. It reminds us that we matter, if only to our kids. Purpose keeps us at home with them when we wish we were elsewhere.

While purposes can vary, recent studies suggest that just having one is good for you and your family. So, what does purpose look like in a father’s life? How can you find your purpose as a father? These are existential questions that every man must answer for himself. But research does provide some insights to help us understand ourselves better—and see the fathers we want to become.

The evolution of purpose

The chances are good that your purpose is different from the one held by your own father and grandfathers. Scholars say that fathers of previous generations saw their purpose as financially supporting their families and providing discipline to their children. Some saw themselves as leaders and role models for their families, especially when it came to religious instruction. Inherent in these missions is a sense of authority, which could sometimes become authoritarianism—“the enforcement of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom,” as the dictionary says.

As a group, today’s fathers see their role somewhat differently.

For more than a century, the number of women in the workforce has steadily increased. Today, there are roughly as many women as men working for pay—though men still tend to make considerably more money than their female coworkers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


What does this have to do with purpose? As women made more money, men’s participation at home started climbing. Today’s dads are spending much more time with their children than did their fathers. Moreover, the United States has become increasingly diverse. Immigrants have brought new conceptions of fatherhood to America. Fathers of color face challenges that are shaping their sense of purpose.

As a result of these developments, many fathers today add “nurturing” to their purpose, along with “providing.” In a discussion I hosted on my Facebook wall, a number of dads said their purpose was to be better than their fathers—and to raise kids who would be better than them. What they meant by this, more often than not, was to be physically and emotionally present in the lives of their children.

“I lost my dad a few months ago,” said Jason Avant, a dad in California. “Nowadays I find myself looking through the lens of my childhood, and I do my best to be everything he was, and everything he wasn’t.” San Francisco writer Andrew O. Dugas, one of those who defines his purpose as “to be a better father than mine was,” says: “My son turned out better than I did. Stronger. Tougher. Kinder. Smarter. Wiser.”

For many men, raising kids means that they need to make self-improvement and self-care part of their purpose. After the birth, “It was no longer acceptable for me to simply go through the motions,” said Blake Overbay, a sergeant with the Massachusetts Army National Guard. “I had to outwardly demonstrate that I was working to better myself. Like deliberate and exaggerated movements to warm-up before a workout.”

In fact, a new study links a strong sense of purpose to healthier behaviors. Boston College psychologist James R. Mahalik and his colleagues surveyed over 200 men (“mostly white, employed, heterosexual, and married”) about their sense of purpose and health behaviors like eating right or exercising, and then analyzed how those factors interacted.

“Our results suggest that when men who are fathers experience greater purpose, they lead healthier lives,” write the authors. “It would be logical to presume that they do so to promote outcomes such as improving their health to make a difference in their children’s lives.”

This finding adds to a rising number of studies that show that more purposeful people are happier, have better health and cognitive functioning, and live longer.

From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense that purpose might lengthen life—and that the purpose that comes with fatherhood might drive healthier behaviors that could be taken up by our kids. After all, evolution involves passing on our genes. Our offspring have a better chance of growing old enough to have their own children if we stick by their side to make sure they stay healthy and strong. A sense of purpose is a tool evolution put into the hands of fathers, to remind us to do that.

The strength of our purpose

In the Facebook discussion I hosted, many fathers mentioned how a sense of crisis—the pandemic, police brutality, and economic turmoil—is affecting or clarifying their sense of purpose.

Shawn Taylor and his daughter.

For Berkeley, California, writer Shawn Taylor and his daughter, “My primary purpose is to prepare her for the racist and sexist bullshit she’ll encounter, without robbing her of her sense of wonder and joy.”

As the author Ta-Nehisi Coates once told me, in an interview for my book, The Daddy Shift: “I just thought, it was the ultimate service to black people if I can be a great father. It was almost a nationalist, Afrocentric way of seeing it.” For San Francisco attorney David Pai, “watching younger generations rise up” has energized his sense of purpose:

Their inherent curiosity, empathy, and “general goodness” makes me believe that, while I may not see it in my lifetime, I can certainly help lay the foundation for my daughter’s generation to build a more sustainable and equitable world. So that means being very intentional and self-aware in my thoughts and actions (avoiding cynicism is my challenge), not just around her, but touching upon nearly everything I do. Or, in a nutshell, trying hard not to pass on negativity, even in the end times.

A sense of crisis hasn’t fundamentally changed the paternal purpose of Scott Behson, a professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University and author of The Working Dad’s Survival Guide. However, the #metoo and Black Lives Matter movements have led him to redouble his efforts “to make sure that he is a good man to women and a good ally to people of color.”

COVID-19 has powerfully affected how writer and Dads4Change founder Whit Honea sees his purpose. The global pandemic has provided “many more examples of right, wrong, empathy, kindness, ignorance, sacrifice, and all the isms. The lesson plan changes by the headline.” Right now, he said:

History isn’t only being told, but fought, lived, and written. It has made my boys realize that their previous, comfortable view of the world was framed in window treatments and could benefit from a brick or two. Granted, these are the lessons my wife and I have been teaching our boys all along, but the reality of the moment is that they are now paying more attention. They are finding their voice and amplifying others. Their masks can’t muffle the message and they don’t hide anything. We’ll yell again tomorrow.

John Anner has three grown daughters—and he has found that raising them has changed his sense of purpose in life. Today, he is the business development director for a nonprofit called Women for Women International.

I long ago landed on my two central values—generosity, and care for women. So, my purpose, as I age, is to focus intently on those two things, building off the things my daughters have taught me. Women in general, and Black women in particular, have labored for too long for no recognition and no pay. The world is built on their uncompensated and unacknowledged labor. So now is a great time for old white guys like me to do the work—for free—and make sure women get paid.


The Daddy Brain

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Wednesday, January 05, 2022

The Daddy Brain

Moms aren't the only ones whose bodies change after having a baby. Jeremy Adam Smith reveals the new science of fatherhood.

BY JEREMY ADAM SMITH for Greater Good Magazine | JUNE 1, 2009 

Gopal Dayaneni is a stay-at-home father in Oakland, California. He still recalls the first time he gave a bottle to his six-week-old daughter, Ila. “I sat down with her in a rocking chair,” he says. “She totally took the bottle, right up against my body, comfortable and warm. She looked up at me and I was so taken with her.”

This story has a punch line: “After that, she never took a bottle again,” says Gopal. “She screamed her head off every time I tried.”

As infants and toddlers, both of Gopal’s children cried when their mom, Martha, left for work as a teacher, cried when she came back, and talked about her all day in between. This made for some very difficult days.

The author and his son, Liko© Jackie Adams

“They just love their mother more,” says Gopal ruefully.

Famed anthropologist Margaret Mead would not have been surprised by Gopal’s situation. “Fathers are biological necessities, but social accidents,” she once said. Far from an eccentric view, Mead distilled a scientific consensus that prevailed for centuries and persists (as a matter of opinion) to this day: Men are natural conquerors—Lotharios and breadwinners—while women are natural nurturers. As a result, men want sex, women want babies, and babies want their mothers. According to this view, involved fathers are, at best, a happy accident.

For this reason, to many people Gopal’s reverse-traditional family might appear “unnatural,” a word that my desk dictionary defines as “contrary to the physical laws of nature” and my thesaurus says is synonymous with “abnormal,” “aberrant,” and “perverted.” When the children of a caregiving dad like Gopal cry out for their mother, many people would hold this up as evidence on behalf of what some call “the traditional family”—meaning, a breadwinning father and caregiving mother.

But the new science of fatherhood has started to cast Gopal’s dilemma in a new light. In researching my new book, The Daddy Shift, I read every word I could find in peer-reviewed scholarly journals about caregiving fathers, breadwinning moms, and the science of sexual difference. I also interviewed dozens of parents like Gopal and Martha.

Here’s what I discovered: Where once it was thought that the minds and bodies of men were hardly affected by fatherhood, today scientists are finding that fatherhood changes men down to the cellular level. For more than a century, it was assumed that mothers, not fathers, were solely responsible for the care, life chances, and happiness of children. In recent years, however, research has revealed that father involvement is essential to a child’s well being, and that dads provide unique kinds of care and play that mothers often do not.

As a result, scientists and parents alike are developing a radical new conception of fatherhood, one whose role is not limited to contributing sperm and making money. This should be a comfort to us all during a time of economic catastrophe, when 80 percent of people being laid off are men and tens of thousands of fathers are being thrown into new roles at home. Women have been supporting families for decades, taking on breadwinning roles that were once considered impossible. And after 30 years of research and growing male participation at home, we are now also beginning to understand that fathers can also take on roles as caregivers.

Brains of our fathers

In the past, says University of Oregon sociologist Scott Coltrane, researchers looked only at whether the father was present and married to the mother. They did not study how fathers interacted with their children or what impact fathers had on children’s development; no one studied how fatherhood might change a man’s brain and body.

But, says Coltrane, “in the late seventies researchers started saying, ‘Wait a minute, why don’t we measure what the fathers are actually doing? How do they parent?’”

In the decades since then, researchers have made a staggering number of discoveries about how critical father involvement is to child development, and how it can be cultivated. University of California, Riverside, psychologist Ross Parke is one of the pioneers of fatherhood studies. He and his colleagues developed a “systems view” that attempts to describe all the factors that influence a father’s involvement with his children:

  • His relationships with his own parents (did he have an involved father?) and in-laws (are they supportive of him?);
  • The mother’s attitude (does she welcome his participation?);
  • Timing of entry into the parental role (what pressures is he facing, especially at work?); and
  • Informal support systems such as playgroups and friendships (do other parents put social pressure on him to be involved, through example or comments?).

But biological and psychological research reveals another critical factor: getting involved early in the child’s life. Studies by biologist Katherine Wynne-Edwards and others show that pregnancy, childbirth, and fatherhood trigger a range of little hormonal shifts in the male body—but only if the father is in contact with the baby and the baby’s mother. When a child is born, Wynne-Edwards found, testosterone levels drop dramatically in men. Men also gain prolactin and oxytocin, hormones associated with lactation, as well as cortisol, the stress hormone that spikes in mothers after childbirth and helps them pay attention to the baby’s needs.

It’s not just hormones that change, but the very structure of the male brain. To understand the impact of fatherhood on the primate brain, a team of Princeton University researchers compared the brains of daddy marmoset monkeys to their child-free peers. Why marmosets? Because their males are the stay-at-home dads of the animal kingdom. It’s the male marmosets who carry babies 70 percent of the time, giving them to mothers only for nursing.

The researchers discovered that the marmoset fathers developed stronger neural connections in the prefrontal cortex, which is generally thicker in females’ brains. In 2008, the same group of researchers found that, among male mice, fatherhood generates new cells and connections in the hippocampus, the emotion-processing center of the brain that is also somewhat bigger in the average human female.

You can’t apply this directly to humans, of course: Marmosets are a different kind of primate, and mice have tails and whiskers. But the available evidence, plus common sense, suggests that early paternal involvement will lead to involvement throughout the child’s life. It seems that babies and fathers imprint on each other, biologically and emotionally, just as babies do with moms.

Why dads matter

But does father involvement matter to children? Once, researchers (and most people) would have said no. In the 1970s and ‘80s, however, psychologists discovered that fathers universally provide forms of play and stimulation that mothers do not do as much of, such as unpredictable, emotionally arousing, non-toy-mediated physical play, which is essential to a child’s development.

Today, evidence is mounting that father involvement makes a big difference for kids: A 2007 study tracking 19,000 children born in 2000 and 2001 in the United Kingdom, found emotional and behavioral problems were “more common by the time youngsters reached the age of three if their fathers had not taken time off work when they were born, or had not used flexible work schedules to have a more positive role in their upbringing.” In a recent series of studies of Latino families, Ross Parke and his colleagues found that father involvement leads to lifelong educational attainment and better social adjustment for adolescents.

Full-time, caregiving dads like Gopal are still too new a social phenomenon for social scientists to have studied their long-term impact on children, but some preliminary research exists. Numerous studies have found no significant developmental difference between children raised by single moms and those raised by single dads. This doesn’t mean that moms and dads are interchangeable; behavioral differences emerge as the domestic division of labor changes. For example, when child psychologist Robert Frank and colleagues directly compared traditional to reverse-traditional households in order to understand parent-child bonds, they found that domestic tasks and child care were more fairly distributed when the at-home parent was a male.

“The child of an at-home-dad family has both a strong father influence and a strong mother influence,” said Frank in a 2005 presentation to a meeting of the American Psychological Association. “Both parents play an important role in the child’s development. This is in contrast to the at-home-mother family, in which a child has a strong mother influence but little influence from the father.”

Closing the gap

Many of the parents I interviewed for The Daddy Shift, which is about the changing roles of mothers and fathers, would not be surprised by that conclusion.

“Family is more important to a woman than to a man,” says Gina Heise, a breadwinning mom in Kansas City, Missouri. “There’s more of a connection. Maybe it’s because of the fact that women carry a baby for nine months, and so they’re already into the deal as soon as the baby appears.”

Her husband Gus, a stay-at-home dad, agrees: “I think a guy wouldn’t necessarily feel the pull to have to get home from the office. Whereas she’s like, ‘It’s five o’clock. I gotta get home to my kids.’ “

This might sound like stereotypical thinking, but consider: Differences in the brains and minds of men and women might be small (an authoritative 2008 study found that sex accounts for no more than 1 to 5 percent of the variation between the brains of men and women), but as groups, we still play very different roles in reproduction, separate and unequal. Men don’t bear children and they don’t breastfeed. As Gopal Dayaneni discovered, we can’t argue with these facts. Those experiences are unique to females who become biological mothers. Men and women’s respective roles in reproduction can create an enormous gap between fathers and mothers, not to mention fathers and children—but, research suggests, only if the gap is permitted to grow.

To Gina, who embraces her breadwinning role, the persistence of the gap is an argument in favor of stay-at-home fatherhood. “The world would be a better place if more fathers stayed home and took care of their children,” she says. “I think they would have better relationships with their children. I think they would be more respectful toward mothers. There’s just more partnership when a man stays home.”

For the foreseeable future, most men will not become stay-at-home dads—stay-at-home moms outnumber the dads, 30 to one—but the experiences of Gina, Gus, and Gopal have implications that apply to all parents. So does the research. A father’s body changes (diminishing testosterone plus rising prolactin, oxytocin, and cortisol) only if he maintains a connection to the mother and newborn child. Feelings of attachment grow in environments that can either squash the attachment or allow it to flourish.

Aside from a strong argument in favor of paternity leave, findings like these suggest that Gina might have a point. The deep bond between mothers and children has been used to justify traditional gender roles, but that can be turned around: If biology does indeed create stronger attachment for biological mothers, it might make more sense for males to serve as caregivers (at least for a time) so that connections with their children can be reinforced. In this way, we are managing the environment to provide a counter-weight to the reproductive division of labor, and to maximize the entire family’s investment in a child’s welfare. Male caregiving is a solution embraced by cultures around the globe, from contemporary Sweden (where men take care of kids more than anywhere else in the developed world) to the Na people of southwestern China and the Aka pygmies of Central Africa.

Anthropologists argue about why cultures develop the way they do, even as we argue about the direction our culture should take. One thing is for certain: Biology might, in a sense, mark the frontiers of the country in which we must live, but we are not its prisoners. Within the ambit our bodies provide, we are confronted by a mazelike world of choices. “What magnifies small differences into major divisions of labor?” asks anthropologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy. “The simplest answer is that people do, by following the path of least resistance.”

As Hrdy describes, it is all too easy for the new father to tell himself that he does not want to intrude upon the special mother-child bond. And, truth be told, it is always easier for the exhausted mother to simply give a crying infant her breast instead of the father’s arms. Likewise, it’s easier for the father to bow to the power of the breast.


States Interest on Child Support Arrears

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Friday, November 19, 2021

Interest on Child Support Arrears


Many parents who owe child support miss payments and accrue some amount of debt or arrearage. States have the authority to charge interest on unpaid support at the rate set by state statute. The interest is generally determined in the same way as other civil judgments. States may look at interest on child support arrears as both an incentive to encourage timely payments as well as a penalty for those who do not make payments.

Thirty-four states, Guam and Puerto Rico, authorize interest charges for child support arrears. Many charge interest at set rates per year:

  • 12% per annum: Colorado, Kentucky, and Washington
  • 10% per annum: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Iowa, and Wyoming
  • 9% per annum: Illinois, New York, and Oregon
  • 6% per annum: Alaska, Guam, Maine, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin
  • 4% per annum: Minnesota and New Mexico
  • Dependent on Market Factors: Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, and Puerto Rico.
  • Other: Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and West Virginia.

The following table describes each State’s policy on charging interest.

Interest on Child Support Arrears


Interest on Arrears







Until Sept. 1, 2011: 12% interest on the unpaid principle balance at the end of each month.

After Sept. 1, 2011: 7.5% interest on the unpaid principle balance at the end of each month.  

Ala. Code § 8-8-10

(a) Judgments for the payment of money, other than costs, if based upon a contract action, bear interest from the day of the cause of action, at the same rate of interest as stated in the contract; all other judgments shall bear interest at the rate of 7.5 percent per annum, the provisions of Section 8-8-1 to the contrary notwithstanding; provided, that fees allowed a trustee, executor, administrator, or attorney and taxed as a part of the cost of the proceeding shall bear interest at a like rate from the day of entry.

(b) This section shall apply to all judgments entered on and after Sept. 1, 2011.



6% per annum, charged the end of the month the support was due and not paid.

Alaska Stat. § 25.27.025

The rate of interest imposed under AS 25.27.020(a)(2)(B) shall be six percent a year or a lesser rate that is the maximum rate of interest permitted to be imposed under federal law.




10% simple interest per annum

Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 25-510

E. In calculating support arrearages not reduced to a final written money judgment, interest accrues at the rate of 10% per annum beginning at the end of the month following the month in which the support payment is due, and interest accrues only on the principal and not on interest. A support arrearage reduced to a final written money judgment accrues interest at the rate of 10% per annum and accrues interest only on the principal and not on interest.



10% per annum


Ark. Code § 9-14-233

(a) All child support that becomes due and remains unpaid shall accrue interest at the rate of ten percent (10%) per annum unless the owner of the judgment or the owner’s counsel of record requests prior to the accrual of the interest that the judgment shall not accrue interest.



10% per annum. Interest accrues beginning the first day of the month following either the date the installment is due (if payable in installments), or from the date of entry of judgment.


Cal. Civ. Pro. § 685.010

(a) Interest accrues at the rate of 10% per annum on the principal amount of a money judgment remaining unsatisfied.

(b) The Legislature reserves the right to change the rate of interest provided in subdivision (a) at any time to a rate of less than 10% per annum, regardless of the date of entry of the judgment or the date any obligation upon which the judgment is based was incurred. A change in the rate of interest may be made applicable only to the interest that accrues after the operative date of the statute that changes the rate.



Prior to June 30, 1975: 6% simple interest

July 1, 1975, through June 30, 1979: 8% simple interest

July 1, 1979, through June 30, 1986: 8% compounded interest

July 1, 1986, through June 30, 2021: 12 percent compounded interest

July 1, 2021 through the present: 10% compounded interest.


Up to counties whether they want to charge interest at above amounts.

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 5-12-101. Legal rate of interest

If there is no agreement or provision of law for a different rate, the interest on money shall be at the rate of eight percent per annum, compounded annually.


Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-14-106

Interest per annum at four percent greater than the statutory rate set forth in section 5-12-101, C.R.S., on any arrearages and child support debt due and owing may be compounded monthly and may be collected by the judgment creditor; however, such interest may be waived by the judgment creditor, and such creditor shall not be required to maintain interest balance due accounts.









District of Columbia






The Clerk of Court calculates interest for final judgments only.


Interest rates are determined annually by the State’s Chief Financial Officer.


Fla. Stat. § 55.03

(1) On Dec. 1, March 1, June 1, and Sept. 1 of each year, the Chief Financial Officer shall set the rate of interest that shall be payable on judgments or decrees for the calendar quarter beginning Jan. 1 and adjust the rate quarterly on April 1, July 1, and Oct. 1 by averaging the discount rate of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for the preceding 12 months, then adding 400 basis points to the averaged federal discount rate. The Chief Financial Officer shall inform the clerk of the courts and chief judge for each judicial circuit of the rate that has been established for the upcoming quarter. The interest rate established by the Chief Financial Officer shall take effect on the first day of each following calendar quarter. Judgments obtained on or after Jan. 1, 1995, shall use the previous statutory rate for time periods before Jan. 1, 1995, for which interest is due and shall apply the rate set by the Chief Financial Officer for time periods after Jan. 1, 1995, for which interest is due. Nothing contained herein shall affect a rate of interest established by written contract or obligation.



Prior to Dec. 31, 2006: 12% per year.

Since Jan. 1, 2007: 7% per year

Ga. Code § 7-4-12.1

(a) All awards, court orders, decrees, or judgments rendered pursuant to Title 19 expressed in monetary amounts shall accrue interest at the rate of 7 percent per annum commencing 30 days from the date such award, court order, decree, or judgment is entered or an installment payment is due, as applicable. The court may modify the date on which interest shall begin to accrue. It shall not be necessary for the party to whom the child support is due to reduce any such award to judgment in order to recover such interest. The court shall have discretion in applying or waiving past due interest. In determining whether to apply, waive, or reduce the amount of interest owed, the court shall consider whether:

(1) Good cause existed for the nonpayment of the child support;

(2) Payment of the interest would result in substantial and unreasonable hardship for the parent owing the interest;

(3) Applying, waiving, or reducing the interest would enhance or detract from the parent’s current ability to pay child support, including the consideration of the regularity of payments made for current child support of those dependents for whom support is owed; and

(4) The waiver or reduction of interest would result in substantial and unreasonable hardship to the parent to whom interest is owed.



Prior to Jan. 1, 2008: 12% per annum

Since Jan. 1, 2008: 6% per annum












9% per annum.


Ill. Admin. Code tit. 89, § 160.89. (2020)

a) Interest Established and Enforced with the Assistance of the Department

1) Unadjudicated Interest

A) Unadjudicated interest is interest that has not been reduced to a judgment by a court for judicial cases or the Department for administrative cases.  A non-assistance custodial parent is an individual who completes an application for IV-D services (see Sections 160.5 and 160.10).

B) Effective January 1, 2021, the Department will provide a custodial parent, on a one-time basis, the opportunity to establish unadjudicated interest through the Department.  The Department will accept one-time written requests from a custodial parent for both judicial cases and administrative cases.  The Department will establish unadjudicated interest when the custodial parent makes a written request and meets all of the following criteria:

i) The emancipation of the youngest child on the case for which the custodial parent is requesting interest;

ii) The principal balance for current support is $0.00 on the case for which the custodial parent is requesting interest;

iii) The minimum amount of interest due to the custodial parent on that case is $500; and

iv) The written request must be received by the Department within one year after meeting the criteria of this subsection (a)(1)(B) or, if applying for IV-D services, after the emancipation of the child, within one year after applying for IV-D services, provided that they meet the required criteria.

C) Effective January 1, 2021, interest on cases meeting the criteria of subsection (a)(1)(B) shall be calculated prospectively from the last judgment entered and contained in the Department’s certified computer system or, if no judgment was entered, from the charges and payments, or balances, reflected and contained in the Department’s certified computer system.



Up to 1.5%

Ind. Admin. Code §§ 31-16-12-2 (2019)

If court adjudicates an accrued arrearage, interest may be awarded, if requested by a party and the court orders it. The court may order interest at up to 1.5% per month.



Generally, no. Statute allows interest to be charged at a rate of 10% but it is not commonly enforced.

Iowa Code § 252C.6

Interest accrues on support debts at the rate provided in section 535.3 for court judgments. The administrator may collect the accrued interest but is not required to maintain interest balance accounts. The department may waive payment of the interest if the waiver will facilitate the collection of the support debt.


Iowa Code § 535.3

1. a. Interest shall be allowed on all money due on judgments and decrees of courts at a rate calculated according to section 668.13.

b. Notwithstanding paragraph “a”, interest due pursuant to section 85.30 shall accrue from the date each compensation payment is due at an annual rate equal to the one-year treasury constant maturity published by the federal reserve in the most recent H15 report settled as of the date of injury, plus two percent.

2. Interest on periodic payments for child, spousal, or medical support shall not accrue until thirty days after the payment becomes due and owing and shall accrue at a rate of ten percent per annum thereafter. Additionally, interest on these payments shall not accrue on amounts being paid through income withholding pursuant to chapter 252D for the time these payments are unpaid solely because the date on which the payor of income withholds income based upon the payor’s regular pay cycle varies from the provisions of the support order.







Generally, no, but statute allows interest to be charged at the rate of 12% compounded annually from the date of a judgment.


Ky. Rev. Stat. § 360.040

(2) A judgment for unpaid child support payments shall bear twelve percent (12%) interest compounded annually from the date the judgment is entered.







6% per annum, although the State does not generally charge interest

Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 19-A, § 2354

Although the State does not charge interest, it is authorized by this statute. Interest of 6% per year on any support debt due or owing to the department under section 2301 may be collected by the commissioner.







Prior to July 1, 2010: 1% per month

Since July 1, 2010: 0.5% per month

Mass. Child Support Enforcement Division, Interest and penalties on past-due child support



Judicial discretion at 1% plus the average interest rate paid at auctions of five-year U.S. Treasure notes.


Mich. Comp. Laws § 552.603a

Michigan stopped surcharge effective Jan 1, 2010 and is charged by order of a Judge.

Sec. 3a. (1) Subject to subsection (6), for a friend of the court case, if the court determines that the payer has failed to pay support under a support order and the failure was willful, the court may order that on January 1 and July 1 of each year, a surcharge be added to support payments that are past due as of those dates. The surcharge shall be calculated at six-month intervals at an annual rate of interest equal to 1% plus the average interest rate paid at auctions of five-year United States treasury notes during the six months immediately preceding July 1 and Jan. 1, as certified by the state treasurer. The amount of the surcharge shall not compound. The amount shown as due and owing on the records of the friend of the court as of Jan. 1 and July 1 of each year shall be reduced by an amount equal to one month’s support for purposes of assessing the surcharge. Except as provided in subsection (5), a surcharge ordered by the court applies until abated by the court.



4% per annum.


Minn. Stat. § 549.09

(c)(1)(i) For a judgment or award of $50,000 or less or a judgment or award for or against the State or a political subdivision of the State, regardless of the amount, or a judgment or award in a family court action, regardless of the amount, the interest shall be computed as simple interest per annum. The rate of interest shall be based on the secondary market yield of one-year United States Treasury bills, calculated on a bank discount basis as provided in this section.


On or before the 20th day of December of each year the state court administrator shall determine the rate from the one-year constant maturity treasury yield for the most recent calendar month, reported on a monthly basis in the latest statistical release of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System. This yield, rounded to the nearest one percent, or four percent, whichever is greater, shall be the annual interest rate during the succeeding calendar year. The state court administrator shall communicate the interest rates to the court administrators and sheriffs for use in computing the interest on verdicts and shall make the interest rates available to arbitrators.


This item applies to any section that references section 549.09 by citation for the purposes of computing an interest rate on any amount owed to or by the State or a political subdivision of the State, regardless of the amount.







1% per month


Mo. Rev. Stat. § 454.520

1. All delinquent child support and maintenance payments which have accrued based upon judgments or orders of courts of this State entered prior to Sept. 29, 1979, shall draw interest at the rate of six percent per annum through Sept. 28, 1979; at the rate of 9% per annum from Sept. 29, 1979, through Aug. 31, 1982; and thereafter at the rate of one percent per month.







Fixed at a rate equivalent yield of the average accepted auction price for the last auction of one-year Treasury bills.


Neb. Rev. Stat. § 45-103

For decrees and judgments rendered before July 20, 2002, interest on decrees and judgments for the payment of money shall be fixed at a rate equal to one percentage point above the bond equivalent yield, as published by the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, of the average accepted auction price for the last auction of fifty-two-week United States Treasury bills in effect on the date of entry of the judgment. For decrees and judgments rendered on and after July 20, 2002, interest on decrees and judgments for the payment of money shall be fixed at a rate equal to two percentage points above the bond investment yield, as published by the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, of the average accepted auction price for the first auction of each annual quarter of the twenty-six-week United States Treasury bills in effect on the date of entry of the judgment. The State Court Administrator shall distribute notice of such rate and any changes to it to all Nebraska judges to be in effect two weeks after the date the auction price is published by the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. This interest rate shall not apply to:

(1) An action in which the interest rate is specifically provided by law; or

(2) An action founded upon an oral or written contract in which the parties have agreed to a rate of interest other than that specified in this section.



Interest is charged at the prime rate at the largest bank in Nevada plus two percent.


Nev. Rev. Stat. § 125B.140

(c) The court shall determine and include in its order:

(1) Interest upon the arrearages at a rate established pursuant to NRS 99.040, from the time each amount became due; and

(2) A reasonable attorney’s fee for the proceeding,


unless the court finds that the responsible parent would experience an undue hardship if required to pay such amounts. Interest continues to accrue on the amount ordered until it is paid, and additional attorney’s fees must be allowed if required for collection.


Nev. Rev. Stat. § 99.040

1. When there is no express contract in writing fixing a different rate of interest, interest must be allowed at a rate equal to the prime rate at the largest bank in Nevada, as ascertained by the Commissioner of Financial Institutions, on January 1 or July 1, as the case may be, immediately preceding the date of the transaction, plus 2 percent, upon all money from the time it becomes due, in the following cases:

(a) Upon contracts, express or implied, other than book accounts.

(b) Upon the settlement of book or store accounts from the day on which the balance is ascertained.

(c) Upon money received to the use and benefit of another and detained without his or her consent.

(d) Upon wages or salary, if it is unpaid when due, after demand therefor has been made.


The rate must be adjusted accordingly on each Jan. 1 and July 1 thereafter until the judgment is satisfied.

New Hampshire




New Jersey




New Mexico


Since May 19, 2004: 4%

June 18, 1993, to May 18, 2004: 8.75%;

June 17, 1983, to June 17, 1993: 15%


N.M. Stat. § 40-4-7.3

A. Interest shall accrue on delinquent child support at the rate of four percent and spousal support at the rate set forth in Section 56-8-4 NMSA 1978 in effect when the support payment becomes due and shall accrue from the date the support is delinquent until the date the support is paid.

New York


9% on arrearages reduced to a money judgment by court.


N.Y. Civ. Practice Law and Rules § 5004

Interest shall be at the rate of nine per centum per annum, except where otherwise provided by statute.

North Carolina




North Dakota


The interest rate is equal to the prime rate as published in the Wall Street Journal on the first Monday in December of each year plus three percentage points and rounded up to the next one-half percentage point.


For calendar year 2019, the interest rate is 8.5%.

N.D. Cent. Code § 28-20-34

Interest is payable on judgments entered in the courts of this State at the same rate as is provided in the original instrument upon which the action resulting in the judgment is based, which rate may not exceed the maximum rate provided in section 47-14-09. If such original instrument contains no provision as to an interest rate, or if the action resulting in the judgment was not based upon an instrument, interest is payable at the rate of 12% per annum through Dec. 31, 2005. Beginning Jan. 1, 2006, the interest is payable at a rate equal to the prime rate published in the Wall Street Journal on the first Monday in December of each year plus three percentage points rounded up to the next one-half percentage point and may not be compounded in any manner or form. On or before the 20th day of December each year, the state court administrator shall determine the rate and shall transmit notice of that rate to all clerks of court and to the state bar association of North Dakota. As established, the rate shall be in effect beginning the first day of the following January through the last day of December in each year. Except as otherwise provided in this section, interest on all judgments entered in the courts of this State before Jan. 1, 2006, must remain at the rate per annum which was legally prescribed at the time the judgments were entered, and such interest may not be compounded in any manner or form. Interest on unpaid child support obligations must be calculated under section 14-09-25 according to the rate currently in effect under this section regardless of the date the obligations first became due and unpaid.



The court shall assess interest on the amount of support an obligor failed to pay if the court determines the failure to be willful and the arrears accrued after July 15, 1992.

Ohio Rev. Code § 3123.171

When a court renders a money judgment for child support, pursuant to a motion for a lump sum judgment filed by an obligee, interest shall accrue on that arrearage unless the court finds that it would be inequitable to assess interest. The interest shall accrue from the date the judgment is rendered to a date certain set for payment of the judgment at a rate specified in section 1343.03 of the Revised Code at the time the judgment is rendered. A court may assess interest on a child support arrearage prior to judgment pursuant to section 3123.17 of the Revised Code. The court shall enter the amount due, including interest, in the journal. If interest is not assessed, the court shall enter the reasons for not assessing interest in the journal.


Ohio Rev. Code § 1343.03

(A) In cases other than those provided for in sections 1343.01 and 1343.02 of the Revised Code, when money becomes due and payable upon any bond, bill, note, or other instrument of writing, upon any book account, upon any settlement between parties, upon all verbal contracts entered into, and upon all judgments, decrees, and orders of any judicial tribunal for the payment of money arising out of tortious conduct or a contract or other transaction, the creditor is entitled to interest at the rate per annum determined pursuant to section 5703.47 of the Revised Code, unless a written contract provides a different rate of interest in relation to the money that becomes due and payable, in which case the creditor is entitled to interest at the rate provided in that contract.

(B) Except as provided in divisions (C) and (D) of this section and subject to section 2325.18 of the Revised Code, interest on a judgment, decree, or order for the payment of money rendered in a civil action based on tortious conduct or a contract or other transaction, including, but not limited to a civil action based on tortious conduct or a contract or other transaction that has been settled by agreement of the parties, shall be computed from the date the judgment, decree, or order is rendered to the date on which the money is paid and shall be at the rate determined pursuant to section 5703.47 of the Revised Code that is in effect on the date the judgment, decree, or order is rendered. That rate shall remain in effect until the judgment, decree, or order is satisfied.


Ohio Rev. Code § 5703.47

(A) As used in this section, “federal short-term rate” means the rate of the average market yield on outstanding marketable obligations of the United States with remaining periods to maturity of three years or less, as determined under section 1274 of the “Internal Revenue Code of 1986,” 100 Stat. 2085, 26 U.S.C.A. 1274, for July of the current year.

(B) On the fifteenth day of October of each year, the tax commissioner shall determine the federal short-term rate. For purposes of any section of the Revised Code requiring interest to be computed at the rate per annum required by this section, the rate determined by the commissioner under this section, rounded to the nearest whole number percent, plus 3%, shall be the interest rate per annum used in making the computation for interest that accrues during the following calendar year. For the purposes of sections 5719.041 and 5731.23 of the Revised Code, references to the “federal short-term rate” are references to the federal short-term rate as determined by the tax commissioner under this section rounded to the nearest whole number percent.

(C) Within 10 days after the interest rate per annum is determined under this section, the tax commissioner shall notify the auditor of each county of that rate of interest.



Since Nov. 1, 2016: 2% per year

Prior to Nov. 1, 2016: 10% per year


Okla. Stat. tit. 43, § 114

Court-ordered past-due child support payments, court-ordered payments of suit monies and judgments for support pursuant to Section 83 of Title 10 of the Oklahoma Statutes and Sections 238.1 and 238.6B of Title 56 of the Oklahoma Statutes shall draw interest at the rate of 2% per year. Past-due child support payments accruing after the establishment of the current support order shall draw interest from the date they become delinquent. Lump-sum judgments pursuant to Titles 10 and 56 of the Oklahoma Statutes for support owed prior to the establishment of current support shall draw interest from the first day of the month after the lump-sum judgment is entered. The interest shall be collected in the same manner as the payments upon which the interest accrues.



9% simple interest rate for judgments


Or. Rev. Stat. § 82.010

(2) Except as provided in this subsection, the rate of interest on judgments for the payment of money is nine percent per annum. The following apply as described:

(a) Interest on a judgment under this subsection accrues from the date of the entry of the judgment unless the judgment specifies another date.

(b) Interest on a judgment under this subsection is simple interest, unless otherwise provided by contract.

(c) Interest accruing from the date of the entry of a judgment shall also accrue on interest that accrued before the date of entry of a judgment.

(d) Interest under this subsection shall also accrue on attorney fees and costs entered as part of the judgment.

(e) A judgment on a contract bearing more than nine percent interest shall bear interest at the same rate provided in the contract as of the date of entry of the judgment.

(f) The rate of interest on a judgment rendered in favor of a plaintiff in a civil action to recover damages for injuries resulting from the professional negligence of a person licensed by the Oregon Medical Board under ORS chapter 677 or the Oregon State Board of Nursing under ORS 678.010 to 678.410 is the lesser of five percent per annum or three percent in excess of the discount rate in effect at the Federal Reserve Bank in the Federal Reserve district where the injuries occurred.





Puerto Rico


Interest rate determined by the Financial Institutions Commissioner.


Rhode Island


1% per month on unpaid principle balance


R.I. Gen. Laws § 15-5-16.5

Interest at the rate of twelve percent (12%) per annum on any support debt due or owing, child or spousal support, shall be assessed unless the responsible party shall, for good cause shown, be relieved of the obligation to pay interest by the family court.

South Carolina




South Dakota


South Dakota Division of Child Support (DCS) does not compute interest. However, the obligee can initiate a court action to obtain a judgment for interest. The court has the discretion as to whether or not to grant the interest judgment.


Interest is computed at 1% per month


S.D. Codified Laws § 25-7A-14

The Department of Social Services or any support obligee may collect interest on the unpaid principal balance of a support debt or judgment for support at the Category D rate of interest as established in § 54-3-16.


S.D. Codified Laws § 54-3-16

The official state interest rates, as referenced throughout the South Dakota Codified Laws, are as follows:

(4) Category D rate of interest is one percent per month or fraction thereof;



12% per year


Interest shall no longer accrue on or after April 17, 2017, unless the court makes a written finding that interest shall continue to accrue.


In making such finding, the court shall set the rate at which interest shall accrue after consideration of any factors the court deems relevant; provided, that the interest rate shall be no more than 6% per year.

Tenn. Code § 36-5-101

(f)(1)(A) Any order for child support shall be a judgment entitled to be enforced as any other judgment of a court of this State and shall be entitled to full faith and credit in this State and in any other state. Except as provided in subdivision (f)(6), such judgment shall not be subject to modification as to any time period or any amounts due prior to the date that an action for modification is filed and notice of the action has been mailed to the last known address of the opposing parties. If the full amount of child support is not paid by the date when the ordered support is due, the unpaid amount that is in arrears, shall become a judgment for the unpaid amounts, and shall accrue interest pursuant to subdivision (f)(1)(B). All interest that accumulates on arrearages shall be considered child support. Computation of interest shall not be the responsibility of the clerk.

(B)(i) Interest on unpaid child support that is in arrears shall accrue from the date of the arrearage at the rate of twelve percent (12%) per year; provided, that interest shall no longer accrue on or after April 17, 2017, unless the court makes a written finding that interest shall continue to accrue. In making such finding, the court shall set the rate at which interest shall accrue after consideration of any factors the court deems relevant; provided, that the interest rate shall be no more than 4% per year.

(ii) On or after July 1, 2018, interest on arrearages in non-Title IV-D cases shall accrue at the rate of six percent (6%) per year; provided, however, that the court, in its discretion, may reduce the rate of interest to a lower interest rate, including no interest, as deemed appropriate under the circumstances. In making its determination, the court may consider any factors the court deems relevant.

(iii) On or after July 1, 2018, interest shall not accrue on arrearages in Title IV-D cases unless the court makes a written finding that interest shall continue to accrue. In making such finding, the court shall set the rate at which interest shall accrue after consideration of any factors the court deems relevant; provided, that the interest rate shall be no more than six percent (6%) per year.



6% simple interest per year


Tex. Fam. Code § 157.265

(a) Interest accrues on the portion of delinquent child support that is greater than the amount of the monthly periodic support obligation at the rate of six percent simple interest per year from the date the support is delinquent until the date the support is paid or the arrearages are confirmed and reduced to money judgment.

(b) Interest accrues on child support arrearages that have been confirmed and reduced to money judgment as provided in this subchapter at the rate of six percent simple interest per year from the date the order is rendered until the date the judgment is paid.

(c) Interest accrues on a money judgment for retroactive or lump-sum child support at the annual rate of 6% simple interest from the date the order is rendered until the judgment is paid.

(d) Subsection (a) applies to a child support payment that becomes due on or after Jan. 1, 2002.

(e) Child support arrearages in existence on Jan. 1, 2002, that were not confirmed and reduced to a money judgment on or before that date accrue interest as follows:

(1) Before Jan. 1, 2002, the arrearages are subject to the interest rate that applied to the arrearages before that date; and

(2) On and after Jan. 1, 2002, the cumulative total of arrearages and interest accumulated on those arrearages described by Subdivision (1) is subject to Subsection (a).

(f) Subsections (b) and (c) apply to a money judgment for child support rendered on or after Jan. 1, 2002. A money judgment for child support rendered before that date is governed by the law in effect on the date the judgment was rendered, and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.







Since Jan. 1, 2012: 6% simple interest per annum


Vt. Stat. tit. 15, § 606

(d)(1) In lieu of interest on unpaid child support which has accrued under a child support order, a child support surcharge shall be imposed on past-due child support. Beginning July 1, 2004, the surcharge shall be computed and assessed monthly at a rate of one percent or an annual rate of 12% and shall not be compounded. Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, the surcharges shall be computed and assessed monthly at a rate of .5% or an annual rate of 6% and shall not be compounded. All surcharges shall be deemed principal and not interest. Payments received for child support obligations shall be allocated and distributed as follows:

(A) First to current support obligations;

(B) Second to arrearages; and

(C) Third to surcharge arrears.



6% per annum

Va. Code § 63.2-1951

The Department shall pay interest to the payee as provided in this section on certain spousal or child support payments it collects which have been ordered by a court or established by administrative order to be paid to or through the Department to the payee and for which the Department has an assignment of rights or has been given an authorization to seek or enforce a support obligation as those terms are defined in §§ 63.2-100 and 63.2-1900. Such interest shall accrue, at the legal rate as established by § 6.2-301, on all support payments collected by the Department and paid to the payee more than thirty days following the end of the month in which the payment was received by the Department in nonpublic assistance cases. Interest shall be charged to the Department on such payments if the Department has an established case and if the obligor or payor provides identifying information including the Department case number or the noncustodial parent’s name and correct social security number.


Va. Code § 6.2-301

A. The legal rate of interest shall be an annual rate of 6%.

Virgin Islands






12% on judgments

Wash. Rev. Stat. § 4.56.110

(2) All judgments for unpaid child support that have accrued under a superior court order or an order entered under the administrative procedure act shall bear interest at the rate of 12%.

West Virginia


Since Jul. 1, 2008: 5% per annum simple interest

Jul. 1, 1995, through June 30, 2008: 10% per annum simple interest

W.Va. Code § 48-1-302

(a) Notwithstanding any other provisions of the code, if an obligation to pay interest arises under this chapter, the rate of interest is 5% per annum and proportionate thereto for a greater or lesser sum, or for a longer or shorter time. Interest awarded shall only be simple interest and nothing in this section may be construed to permit awarding of compound interest. Interest accrues only upon the outstanding principal of such obligation.



0.5% per month (6% per year)

Wis. Stat. § 767.511

(6) Interest on arrearage. Subject to sub. (6m), a party ordered to pay child support under this section shall pay simple interest at the rate of 1 percent per month on any amount in arrears that is equal to or greater than the amount of child support due in one month. Subject to sub. (6m), if the party no longer has a current obligation to pay child support, interest at the rate of 1% per month shall accrue on the total amount of child support in arrears, if any. Interest under this subsection is in lieu of interest computed under s. 807.01(4), 814.04(4), or 815.05(8) and is paid to the department or its designee under s. 767.57. Except as provided in s. 767.57(1m) and except as required under federal statutes or regulations, the department or its designee shall apply all payments received for child support as follows:

(a) First, to payment of child support due within the calendar month during which the payment is received.

(b) Second, to payment of unpaid child support due before the payment is received.

(c) Third, to payment of interest accruing on unpaid child support.



10% interest may be charged on amount reduced to judgment.


Wyo. Stat. 1-16-103

(a) As used in this section “judgment by operation of law” means a periodic payment or installment for child support or maintenance which is unpaid on the date due and which has become a judgment by operation of law pursuant to W.S. 14-2-204.

(b) Any judgment by operation of law which is not paid within 32 calendar days from the date the judgment by operation of law arises is subject to an automatic late payment penalty in an amount equal to 10% of the amount of the judgment by operation of law.

(c) In order to recover penalties assessed under subsection (b) of this section, the obligee shall file with the clerk of court a sworn affidavit setting forth the payment history resulting in assessment of any penalty and a computation of all penalties claimed to be due and owing. It shall not be the responsibility of the clerk to compute the amount of the penalties due and owing. If the obligor disputes the payment history or penalty computation as stated in the obligee’s sworn affidavit, the obligor shall file with the clerk of court a written request for a hearing within 10 days after seizure of his property under execution.

(d) This section shall apply only to judgments by operation of law arising on or after July 1, 1990.

Note – (*) states where interest on arrears can be assessed and charged but maybe at the discretion of the court and not automatically charged.


  • Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, Intergovernmental Reference Guide, Questions F2 & F2.1
  • NCSL research using WestLaw


PLEASE NOTE: The National Conference of State Legislatures is an organization serving state legislators and their staff. We cannot offer legal advice or assistance with individual cases.


What Parents Need To Know About Permissive Parenting

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Tuesday, November 16, 2021

What Parents Need to Know About Permissive Parenting

Permissive habits are grounded in virtuous characteristics, but they need some structure

Aug 27 2021, 9:35 AM

Most people would feel like they’d know a permissive parent if they saw one. According to the definition from American Psychological Association these are the moms and dads that are warm but lax. Their failure to set firm limits, monitor children’s activities closely, or require appropriately mature behavior, cultivates kids who tend to be impulsive, rebellious, aimless, domineering, and aggressive. In other words, kids that don’t respond to punishment or praise and who lack respect. 


But is permissive parenting so terrible? It turns out the answer is nuanced, and there are good ways to turn permissive parenting into something far more healthy for everyone. 

The Origins of Permissive Parenting

Unlike pop-culture parenting “styles” (see: helicopter, tiger, lawn mower), permissive parenting is grounded in the research of University of California at Berkeley psychologist Diana Baumrind. In her work in the 1960s, she categorized parenting into three different types: authoritarian, permissive, and authoritative based on the amount of demand and care a parent shows their child.  

Authoritative parenting hits all the right notes: High expectations accompany their consideration of each child’s individual needs. Authoritarian parents demand a great deal from their kids, but don’t consider their child’s needs and often pair expectations with the threat of punishment. And permissive parents? They cater to their child’s needs (they’re highly responsive) but demand very little. 


Dr. Leela R. Magavi, a child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist, and Regional Medical Director for Community Psychiatry + MindPath Care Centers, explains that permissive parenting can reorient the parent/child relationship to look more like peer interaction. “ Children may perceive permissive parents as friends and may be more likely to confide in them,” she explains. “I have witnessed parents becoming much more permissive during the pandemic as they are afraid that their children are devoid of normalcy and will become depressed.”

It should be noted that while Baumrind’s work was grounded in academic research, her insights came almost exclusively from observations of white parents connected to Berkley. Later in her career, she would expand her studies into more diverse communities, and researchers who built on her work could continue and expand on that practice. Nevertheless, academics generally agree that her psychological styles do remain reasonably consistent in terms of outcomes.

Positive Traits of the Permissive Parent

While permissive parenting is unlikely to cultivate the most desirable traits in kids, it doesn’t mean that a permissive parent’s heart is in the wrong place. On the contrary, Magavi points out that permissive parents have some positive underlying traits. 

“Permissive parents tend to be empathetic and compassionate,” she says. “They identify their child’s emotional state and attempt to address their needs. Permissive parents tend to validate their child’s feelings and are more likely to listen to their children and address their needs actively.”

Those are traits that any parent should strive to embody, and they provide a solid foundation for permissive parents who want to add structure to their relationship with their children. Focusing on what parents do well and how those things can benefit their child can help them stay positive as they navigate the ups and downs of adapting to a new parenting style. 

“I advise parents to practice daily self-compassion and remind themselves that perfectionistic parenting could cause their children to perceive every shortcoming as a failure, which may lead to longstanding self-esteem concerns,” Magavi says.  

She also notes that parents may find it helpful to limit their time on social media to strengthen their self-compassion. “On social media, everyone looks like a perfect parent. Reframing thinking and identifying the good and bad in each individual and behavior helps decrease catastrophizing and rumination.”

How Can a Permissive Parent Add Structure to Their Parenting?

Adding the structure is a big adjustment for everyone. It can take time for a child to realize that these changes are intended to keep them safe and healthy. They may perceive more rules and structure as a raw assertion of power and respond negatively. 


This is where the permissive parent’s strengths of empathy, compassion, and active listening come in to play. Magavi suggests utilizing opportunities for verbal support. “Providing love and support and encouraging open conversation while simultaneously maintaining house rules and safety protocols is of utmost importance,” she says. “I advise parents to create family rules and expectations and incorporate frequent validation and positive reinforcement.”

And, of course, getting on the same page with a partner or co-parent helps. Considering changes and making a coordinated effort gives a better chance for success and makes things easier on kids. “I recommend both parents share changes to rules and regulations to align their parenting, so children have some consistency and do not begin to perceive one parent as the ‘good cop’ or ‘bad cop,’” Magavi says. 

Helping Kids Adjust to Changes

A move away from permissive parenting is good in the long run, but it can be a tough adjustment for kids. They’re used to having things pretty good. So they will feel annoyed and maybe even abandoned when parents start expecting them to do something for themselves.

Magavi encourages parents to explain the benefits of following some rules and regulations. “This allows children to reframe their thinking and identify the benefits of rules. Subsequently, it is helpful to discuss family rules and the reason behind each one,” she says. “Similarly, it is important to explain the consequences of breaking the rules. Parents who were formerly permissive may find that their children are not taking them seriously, and it may take time for their children to conceptualize and follow through on rules and routines.”

The Early Childhood Interim Scholarship Program is expanding and is now open to everyone!

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Friday, November 12, 2021

The Early Childhood Interim Scholarship Program is expanding and is now open to everyone!


The Delaware Department of Education/Office of Early Learning (OEL) is pleased to announce that any person wanting to pursue an early childhood credential or degree is eligible under the expansion program. This interim program is being administered by Children & Families First (CFF) and is open to all professionals seeking educational opportunities. 


This is an interim program and will run from November 2021 through June 2022. The scholarship program covers coursework and assessment fees for CDA candidates, and tuition and other fees for candidates attending an approved college/university. 

Candidates can apply to begin working toward any of the following:

  • Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential
  • Associate Degree in early childhood education
  • Bachelor’s Degree in early childhood education 


For more details regarding the program, please refer to the following website for more information. https://www.cffde.org/cc-scholarships [cffde.org].


Complete the attached Early Childhood Scholarship Form FY22 to apply. 


Questions should be directed to the CFF counselors at scholarships@cffde.org or by phone at 302-734-2388.

Ensuring Noncustodial Parent, Father-Inclusive Lenses Are Applied to Decision-Making

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Thursday, October 28, 2021



Anchored in racial equity and informed by families’ lived experience, 2Gen approaches build upon the power of education, early care and learning, health, and employment systems to ensure equitable access

to resources and opportunities for entire family units. Policymakers and practitioners at city, county, and state levels continue to embrace the 2Gen approach, and the field is encouraged by ongoing bipartisan

commitment at the federal level. The Two-Generation Economic Empowerment Act and the Pathways to Health Careers Act are two positive and concrete steps toward ensuring that prosperity passes from one

generation to the next.

But too often — at all levels — leaders fall short of ensuring that custodial and noncustodial, resident and nonresident, father-inclusive lenses are applied to their decision-making. Regardless of intent, this results in

harmful consequences that undermine the economic security, health, and well-being of children and the adults in their lives. 

We saw this at the onset of the pandemic with Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act guidelines for exempting cash assistance from federal tax offsets. While offsets to pay taxes, educational loans,

and other government debts were granted exemptions to ensure cash flowed to families, the act did not exempt direct cash payments from offsets to pay child support arrears. This meant that across the country, as

many as 2.1 million noncustodial parents — most of whom are fathers — in the child support program did not receive full cash assistance because they owe child support arrears assigned not to families but to states to pay

back Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance received by families. If — as is the case in this example — the intention is to ensure that children and families have access to

resources to meet their basic needs, we must intentionally, explicitly, and consistently apply noncustodial parent, father-inclusive lenses to decision-making.


As leaders at all levels, in public and private sectors, plan and execute immediate and long-term efforts to ensure families bounce back stronger, now is the time to embed father-inclusive, noncustodial parent lenses

into platforms and processes.

Opportunities to do so include:

„ Incorporating a gender analysis into decision-making processes

„ Disaggregating data around race, gender, and parental status

„ Explicitly identifying noncustodial caregivers and fathers as target populations within family-supportive policies and programs

„ Revisiting eligibility requirements based on residential status (i.e., whether or not caregivers live in the same household as their children)

„ Training staff on implicit bias

„ Operationalizing father-friendly principles and practices


Strengthening Families for Success Act Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Representative Danny Davis (D-IL) have introduced legislation to improve federal programs designed to promote healthy co-parenting and financial stability for families with low incomes. To ensure that families receiving TANF benefits get as much of the money collected through child support payments as possible and help caregivers maintain healthy co-parenting relationships, the legislation would:

„ Modernize child support by eliminating cost recovery for TANF, Title IV-E foster care maintenance payments, and Medicaid birth costs by fiscal year 2026 while providing bridge funding to help states implement these changes.

„ Reauthorize the Healthy Marriage Promotion and Responsible Fatherhood grant program through fiscal year 2025, establish infrastructure for grantees to measure outcomes and receive technical assistance, and ensure continuity of services during a public health emergency.

„ Address the COVID-19 public health emergency’s impact on the child support program and families by providing emergency flexibility during the pandemic and exempting 2020 Economic Income Payments from the CARES Act from reduction or offset.

Download Report Below:


NEW REPORT! CDF's The State of America's Children 2021

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Thursday, October 28, 2021

 NEW REPORT! CDF's The State of America's Children 2021

Since the Children's Defense Fund last published our annual State of America's Children report in February 2020, our children have experienced a year of unprecedented upheaval due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a racial reckoning year in the making. These shifts have impacted every aspect of children's lives more quickly than data can track; even the most recent available data sets do not fully encompass how this past year has shaped our lives. This, of course, includes our 2021 State of America's Children report. Because, as one element of the report makes clear, "Our Children are Not Immune."


A year marked by such dramatic change and drastic negative impact on children's lives must be followed by one of healing and restoration, coupled with bold action.  We hope this report will serve as a call-to-action to join us as we take the proactive steps necessary to fulfill our vision of a nation where marginalized children flourish, leaders prioritize their well-being, and communities wield the power to ensure they thrive


The report includes KEY FINDINGS BY POLICY AREA 

• Child Population 

• Child Poverty 

• Income and Wealth Inequality 

• Housing and Homelessness 

• Child Hunger and Nutrition 

• Child Health 

• Early Childhood 

• Education 

• Child Welfare 

• Youth Justice 

• Gun Violence 

• Immigrant Children


What All Dads Need to Recognize About Modern Fatherhood

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Wednesday, October 27, 2021

What All Dads Need to Recognize About Modern Fatherhood

An excerpt from Fatherly's parenting book, Fatherhood, is available now for pre-order.

Oct 01 2021, 5:07 PM


The following is an excerpt from Fatherhood: A Comprehensive Guide to Birth, Budgeting, Finding Flow, and Becoming a Happy Parent, Fatherly’s first parenting book from Harper Horizon’s, an imprint of Harper-Collins.

Your father knew nothing. Well, next to nothing — at least, next to nothing when it came to the likely effect he would have on you or your life. At most, when you were born, he had an inkling of what his presence and participation could offer. You inherited that same inkling. You’re considering it now, an undistinguished mass like an uncut diamond. Your sense is that you can make something priceless of it, but even the first cut requires a decision you might not be ready for. After all, you don’t know the first thing about diamond cutting.

Maybe your father loved you, maybe he didn’t. Whether he was present or absent, understanding, or harsh, “good” or “bad” in your estimation, he was most likely unaware of what he held — because there was nobody to teach him to shape it.

Like others before him, he progressed through the experience of fatherhood, trying to refine the raw white stone, and trying to make it shine. Someone just needed to help him find the correct angles.

Since 1950, the U.S. government has spent roughly $600 billion on NASA programs, nearly $10 billion collecting data on mothers, and the $15 million in change it found between the couch cushions went to research related to fatherhood. But the bulk of that research has been conducted in just the last decade. Which is all to say that humanity knows more about Alpha Centauri than we know about whether your old man messed you up.

Want to know what will happen to you in the moment that your child is born? Not much. As birth releases an oxytocin flood to your wife’s brain, overwhelming her with feelings of love so profound she ugly cries into low-thread-count hospital sheets, you may very well be tempted to check the Browns score (spoiler: they’re losing). You may feel this runs counter to the favored sentimental and celebrity narrative — “The first time I saw that face, my whole world changed!” — but birth experiences are as unique and varied as the men that have them. Instant love may be the story but it’s not necessarily the norm.

So, when does Mom pass Dad the oxytocin? When she passes the baby. Men only receive the biological benefits of dad-status when they start taking care of their kids. Odd as it may sound, those initial dirty diapers become a gateway drug to care. You’ll want more. But only if you keep doing it. And it goes on like that forever; kid and Dad passing the good feelings back and forth like a joint until, if all goes well, the former delivers the latter a heartfelt eulogy. But Dad must start, because the kid’s hands are too small to roll one and because that’s the one thing that we absolutely know for sure, peer-review and all: whatever seriously good vibes are going to be, must start with you.

While your father might have known nothing, he was particularly in the dark about the things he did know — which was a lot. He was pretty much parenting all the time. And surprise, surprise, most of the time, he was probably doing fine. Roughhousing was parenting; watching television with you was parenting; talking to your mother at the dinner table was parenting. Fatherhood is only a state of being in that it’s the act of being who you are. Because the fact is that the person you are before you have a kid will not be appreciably different than the person you are after you have a kid. And that person is the template your kid will use to learn how to live in the world. So becoming a good father is about knowing yourself, and leveraging all that’s good in you towards raising someone who knows better than you. That’s love.

About DFFC

The Delaware Fatherhood & Family Coalition is an extension of the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program and the Responsible Fatherhood Initiative created specifically to give a voice to fathers and the importance of their involvement for the well-being of their children.

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