State of New York Archives: on Families & Children

Jeb Bush: Shame fathers who walk away from paternal obligations

Jeb Bush defended a passage in a 1995 book he co-authored calling for the restoration of shame as a way to curb out-of-wedlock births. Single parenthood, he said, "hurts the prospects, limits the possibilities of young people being able to live lives of purpose and meaning."

In the book, "Profiles in Character," it said that "one of the reasons more young women are giving birth out of wedlock and more young men are walking away from their paternal obligations is that there is no longer a stigma attached to this behavior, no reason to feel shame. Shame is one of the great regulators of conduct."

Asked about the passage, Bush said his stances have evolved since 1995 but that "my views about the importance of dads being involved in the lives of their children haven't changed at all."

The problem, said Bush, has grown worse, not better. Bush said the original passage he wrote referred primarily to shaming fathers, though that is not clear from the wording in the book.

Source: N. Y. Times coverage of "Profiles in Character," by Jeb Bush Jun 11, 2015

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