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How Does Society View Fatherhood?

Filed under: General — Scrap_The_CSA @ 12:51 pm Wed 7th January 2009

Two different articles that speak volumes about how  society views Fatherhood.

Helping boys turn into good men (Dompost)

Every Saturday, Allan Johnson and Nathan meet up and do guy stuff: they build steps, drive go-karts, go fishing. And they talk.

Who Impregnated the justice chief? 

(B3 The Dominion Post, Wed, Jan, 7,2009) It’s all France wants to know, writes , Ben Macintyre

Note : This article was orignally published in  The Times with the following Headline and Intro. :

Rachida Dati: Who’s le papa?

All of France is agog, gripped by speculation over who fathered the Justice Minister’s child.


  1. I have left the following comment on the DomPost website in regard to the first story:
    “I am a father who has successfully raised four children, two boys and two girls, who are now all grown up I looked into the “Buddy” scheme in Auckland, and decided NOT to participate. I would advise any man considering participating in such a scheme to think very hard.
    You will be put under the microscope, police checked, no problem you would think. What of the boys mothers? what would you know about them? Maybe they could be like my ex- who resorts to false allegations when she sees gain in doing so.
    Any man taking on such a mentoring role exposes himself to a significant risk of false allegations from mothers with all manner of motives. At the very least, you need to know what happened to the childrens real father, and to get the father’s side of the story.”

    Comment by John Brett — Sun 11th January 2009 @ 12:18 pm

  2. The DomPost website is not yet showing my contribution- perhaps they think I am spoiling their sweet story.

    Comment by John Brett — Mon 12th January 2009 @ 8:45 am

  3. John, I hear what you are thinking around false rape charges or other false abuse charges but I just want you to know how hard it is to be a part of the buddy system for the mothers.

    You can’t have a buddy if there is a father who can be contacted. In fact the program has a good reputation in bringing the father into the picture.

    You can only have a buddy for your son if the father is dead or there is some other similar circumstance.

    The buddy program is not designed to replace fathers. And it refuses to do so.

    The men who work the buddy program are well aware of what is happening in NZ around feminism. Don’t worry about that. They are doing the best they can under sad/bad circumstances politically to move a men’s movement into the light.

    Comment by julie — Mon 12th January 2009 @ 6:43 pm

  4. Poster # 3 (Julie), if what you say is correct then that’s very reassuring. The general message underlying this programme is also positive; that children benefit from father-figures and that men have crucial roles to play in rearing children.

    Comment by Hans Laven — Tue 13th January 2009 @ 11:50 am

  5. Hi Julie-
    We are talking about the same scheme.
    This is the scheme that I pulled out of, because of my concerns that there are no safeguards for the ‘Big Buddy’.
    It may well be hard for the mother, but it is a tad harder to face charges of molesting children, or charges of upsetting the mother.
    I know this because I have been there. A Lawyer is likely to advise you to plead guilty, because even he has no way of defending a man against such allegations, when the system is “guilty on allegation”..
    The buddy scheme makes a great show of protecting the nice children against nasty men- but does not consider that the nice men might need protection against either the nasty children, or the nasty mother.
    In my opinion, they need to carry out the same background checks on the mothers and on the children, for the protection of the ‘big buddy’

    Comment by John Brett — Tue 13th January 2009 @ 5:35 pm

  6. Hans- I agree that it is positive recognition that men have crucial roles to play in rearing children. I question this ‘Father figure’ concept though- would we accept as a ‘mother figure’ say dad’s latest girlfriend?
    Dads are at least as important for girls as for boys- but what man would be brave enough or stupid enough to act as ‘big buddy’ to a young girl?
    A girl bases her ideas on men, boys, and future partners on her dad. She needs that big strong dad who can give her hugs like a little girl, encourage and show her how to do the tomboy stuff, and be a mirror to her sexuality- “hey you look stunning- look out boys here she comes” etc.
    This needs DAD, not a father figure.
    You should know that girls go looking for partners like their dads.

    Comment by John Brett — Wed 14th January 2009 @ 5:22 pm

  7. Quite right John (post #6). The idea that any man as a “father figure” can replace a real father is a dangerous one. I guess I was seeing that fathers and men get so little good press these days, at least the buddy scheme emphasizes that fathers are important and that if a father is absent some adult male input will be a lot better than nothing. I agree also with your call for the mothers, and indeed the children who utilize scheme to be checked for any background, for example, of fraud offending or making allegations against men.

    Comment by Hans Laven — Wed 14th January 2009 @ 7:45 pm

  8. The reason why the media belittles father is to divert people from support any COLLECTIVE societal support of children. The system wants to keep the burden of supporting children ATOMIZED rather than collectivize. Should people demand COLLECTIVE support then you will have a humane society. Understand that the powerful does not want the people to have a collective and sharing and caring society.

    Comment by DismantleChildSupport — Sun 18th January 2009 @ 9:58 am

  9. So Dismantle,

    Whats the solution (Plain english please).



    Comment by Scrap_The_CSA — Sun 18th January 2009 @ 12:24 pm

  10. Simple and you probably won’t like it. The answer lies in the tax system. Rather than atomize people on the notion of “child support” as a punitive measure for having children the tax system must be made more progressive to provide the needs of ALL citizens. The current system is a punitive system that is NOT based on a parents ability to pay and it does nothing to help poor families. In fact poor families are liable to face in some counties — prison. This clearly doesn’t help support children.

    However a system that make provision for ALL her citizens is a system of not only child support but HUMAN support. Such a system then allow adults to be in a position to take better care of their children and provide opportunities for the next generation. Some would like to call this kind of society “socialism”. Some would like to call it “the Welfare State”. I call it damn common sense.

    You see once people basics are being met is drive DOWN the demand for a punitive child support (parental pecuniary) system. If a woman know she can exit a relationship and her needs are met than she will have less incentive to hurt her former partner. The inverse is also true. Such a society will reduce the likelihood of “golddigging” as well.

    You see reforming the system means that no one can find a good solution and men and women will forever be at war with everyone being the victim except the courts system and the lawyers. Now who do you want to see thrive the lawyers or workers.

    Comment by DismantleChildSupport — Mon 19th January 2009 @ 3:58 pm

  11. I’d like to clarify the position of Big Buddy on fathers and to respond to criticisms we do not protect our Big Buddies from false allegations.

    1 Our policy is very clear we do not replace birth fathers who are involved in their children’s lives or want to be.

    The vast majority of the boys we work have no father at all, ie he died or was never on the scene or is unknown. In cases where the birth father is know we go to a lot of effort to track birth fathers down, we ask for their contact details and will go to some lengths to talk to them. We have had many cases where we find the birth father still wants contact or often our call triggers him to make contact with his son, in all these cases we gracefully withdraw.

    We have many examples of men reengaging with their kids after our contact.

    We also say no to many many caregivers who approach us effectively seeking a replacement father figure for their boys and we have taken some flack for this stand.

    2 In reply to John’s comments.

    We do background checks on caregivers approaching us, home interviews etc. There can be no guarantees in this business but we have a good nose for someone covering up the truth and for caregivers with an axe to grind.

    We also stay in regular contact with the caregiver and mentor and can track any issues that may arise later. I am proud to say we have never had a mentor falsely accused or anything remotely like it, in the 12 years we have been running. The likelihood of this happening is extremely remote because to my knowledge false allegations usually arise in the context of a difficult separation between father and mother.

    Our core value that drives us is that boys need the involvement of men in the growing lives, ie they need fathering. We are pro fathering in our work in the community and have taken a good deal of flack for this. Internally most of us are fathers and we have a very father friendly workplace policy.

    Richard Aston CEO Big Buddy

    Comment by Richard Aston — Mon 2nd February 2009 @ 12:06 pm

  12. I commend Richard Aston for being prepared to answer the challenges that have arisen here. And I commend the Big Buddy programme for the efforts they go to in avoiding any replacement of biological fathers willing to be involved with their children. While any initiative will carry risks, the Big Buddy programme generally promotes the idea that fathers are fundamentally important to children’s development, and some attempt to provide an adult male role is worthwhile when father cannot be involved. I believe further questions and vigilance are appropriate for any such programme.

    It must be disheartening for the programme to be criticized from both sides of the gender political fence! Such work will always be in a minefield. Many men and women feel emotionally wounded and angry. When will the genders find a way of respecting each other and working together?

    I do have some further questions: Does the Big Buddy programme work with children whose fathers are in prison, and if so how is the imprisoned father involved? Is permission required from the imprisoned father for the “buddy” to spend time with his children? And what of other fathers who cannot be involved, e.g. living overseas; is their permission sought for “buddies” to be involved with their children? And on what basis are decisions made if the absent but living father refuses permission?

    Comment by Hans Laven — Tue 3rd February 2009 @ 10:08 am

  13. Thanks for your affirmation Hans.
    To answer your questions
    1 We do not work with boys who’s fathers are in prison. In our early history , well before my time we did that once, the mentor went inside Pari to meet the father and the two men did a deal that worked for everyone. Nowadays we would not entertain that idea. You might want to check out Pillars an organization that mentors children of prisoners.
    2 Father not involved, over seas etc. This is an area we are very careful with and it has happened on odd occasions. If we thought the boy was in real need and had no contact with his father for years we would talk to the father overseas to find our what the story was. We would be totally transparent with the father. If that father said he wanted a mentor for his boy ie he gave his blessing and if we were sure he understood fully what big buddy is then we would consider finding a mentor for that boy. In these rarer cases my rule is any doubt or uncertainty – then we don’t go there. If the father does not give his blessing we of course do not engage further with the boy or his caregiver.
    Hope that’s clear

    Richard Aston

    Comment by Richard Aston — Tue 3rd February 2009 @ 12:05 pm

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    Comment by Ivory — Tue 19th March 2013 @ 8:48 am

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