Legal Law

Tea "baby mama syndrome": Book Review

Robert Doyel is concerned about babies born to single mothers, so concerned, in fact, that he has written a book about the problem. His perspective is unusual: He spent 16 years as a Florida judge, primarily in family court, where he was involved in more than 15,000 restraining order cases, as well as thousands of dependency, custody and paternity cases.

What worries him so much, he says, is that “there is no concerted effort anywhere, not even to report on the issue, let alone try to do anything about it.” His concern with “the prevalence of unwed births and the identification of the problems they cause” led him to write baby mommy syndrome (Lake Canyon Press).

This eye-opening book explores the problem of these “fragile families” from multiple angles, including issues of abuse, neglect, and violence. Social workers, teachers, doctors, nurses, and other professionals who care for these children and their parents will be interested in the magnitude of the problem (1.6 million babies each year) and the demographics of this book.

Doyel points out that the teen birth rate has been declining for several years, but the numbers are still staggering: In 2014, just over a quarter of a million babies were born to girls under the age of 19. There were 2,771 births to girls under the age of 15, and most of these young mothers were unmarried.

Despite the widely held assumption that the majority of these single mothers are black, statistics show that single white mothers have the largest number of babies, followed by Hispanics and then black.

Her thoughtful and well-researched book makes an important contribution to the national discussion about these babies, their mothers, and what happens as the children grow older and, all too often, repeat the syndrome. Three features of the book are especially impressive.

case studies

This book offers many case studies grouped into patterns: female rivals, fathers married to another woman, mothers married to another man, lesbian couples, and more, to name a few. There are also triangles, rectangles and troublemakers in series. One chapter deals with a complex pattern that Doyel calls “Baby Mama and Boyfriend vs. Baby Daddy and Husband.”

Reading the permutations and complications creates a picture of the problem that mere data cannot provide, and also opens a window into the causes. The “baby mamas” threaten and attack rival women who have had multiple babies by the same “baby daddy.” Married women and “baby moms” fight over a “baby daddy” who has fathered their children.

Readers gradually become familiar with the reasons these women keep having babies from men who don’t marry or support them: jealousy, poor impulse control, rampant sexuality, and an inability to control their lives and futures. The real victims, of course, are their children.

legal matters

Doyel’s second contribution to the “baby mom” discussion is her perspective as a judge. Laymen often think it’s easy to pass judgment in cases of violence and abuse: to issue a restraining order. Put him (or her, or everyone involved) in jail.

Writing from years of experience on the bench, he exposes some of the legal complexities a judge must deal with. “As far as the law is concerned,” she writes, “violence between two baby mommies or between two baby daddies is no different than violence between two strangers in a bar fight. That needs to change.”

Restraining orders have their own complexities. According to Doyel, “too many times, when there is mutual aggression, one of the aggressors seeks a court order and then uses it as a sword, not a shield.”

Mutual restraining orders appear to be required, but they’re banned in Florida (where he served as a judge) because of another potential problem: Judges might be tempted to use them as a way to avoid having to pass judgment in a complicated violence case. domestic. Result: a puzzle for a judge facing rival “baby moms” fighting over the man who fathered his children.

One feature of these “baby mom” hearings is especially poignant: In her experience, Doyel says, parents rarely show up for the hearings. Staying away from court, he says, keeps women focused on each other rather than their baby’s betrayal of both of them.

And then there are the petitions, the temporary ex parte injunctions and other legal complexities, and the thought processes judges use to render decisions in these “baby mom” cases. Doyel’s jargon-free explanations of various legal topics make this book especially valuable for professionals who intervene in crises involving “baby moms” and their children.


The subtitle of Doyel’s book makes it clear that mother-baby syndrome affects all the world: “Single parents, intimate partners, romantic rivals, and the rest of us.” Taxpayers pay for the medical bills, court costs and other expenses of baby moms and their children.

The most important victims, of course, are children, who can be subjected to neglect, abuse and violence. Even when there are no physical dangers, many of these children witness violent behavior among adults who are supposed to serve as role models.

“Cut the money” is the battle cry of taxpayers who want single parents to take responsibility for the choices they have made. But the chapters in Doyel’s book argue that the problem is not so easily solved.

In “Generations”, he talks about what happens when children from “fragile families” grow up. “It’s well documented,” she says, “that children of parents who commit acts of domestic violence are likely to be abusers as well.” But the syndrome does not stop there. Studies show that child abuse, neglect, and rivalries between moms and babies also pass from generation to generation.

In his final chapter, “Baby Mama Syndrome and the Rest of Us,” Doyel discusses remedies, including prevention, sex education, and contraception. He has promised two more books that will expand on these topics. Book two will focus on violence, and book three will discuss the fate of the children who grow up in these “fragile families.”

Tea baby mama syndrome It is an entertaining and stimulating book. It will be especially useful for professionals dealing with these “fragile families”.

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