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Sat 18th June 2005

Fathers want to be left holding the baby

Filed under: General — JohnPotter @ 12:18 pm

By Alexandra Frean, Times Online

A HUGE shift in attitudes towards fatherhood has occurred, with the present generation of fathers considerably more willing than their fathers were to stay at home to change nappies and warm bottles.

A survey by the Equal Opportunities Commission of 1,200 fathers of 3 to 15-month-old children disclosed that almost 8 in 10 would be happy to stay at home and look after their baby. Nine in ten said that they felt as confident as their partner when caring for their child.

In a bold attempt to move the debate on parental leave on to a more challenging level, the commission said that if men were expected to take a more active part in bringing up their children, they should be able to become fully involved from the moment of birth.

Jenny Watson, the acting chairwoman of the commission, said that the findings showed just how much men’s attitudes had shifted within the space of a generation.

“All the evidence shows that fathers today are different from their own fathers and grandfathers. Policymakers need to keep up. Dads no longer see themselves solely as the breadwinner. They want to spend more time at home, actively sharing the responsibility of caring for their baby,” she said.

Duncan Fisher, the chief executive of the charity Fathers Direct, said that it was vital for long-term child welfare that new fathers be closely involved with their newborns.

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