Ideas from the Fathering Forum 2006
Ideas from the Fathering Forum 2006
[Authors name not included, due to possible privacy issues.]
This document was salient in 2006.
In the years that have gone by, I believe that it is just as salient today. I guess some progress has been made in some areas, but nothing like what should have been. In particular, Family Caught has developed surprisingly little in that time, if it has moved forward at all?
This list of issues still provide a good overview, to address and prioritise these problems 11 years later.
What are the problems fathers face?
• Lack of own fathering
• Lack of skills
• Expectations- Known and Unknown
• Work. Long work hours and not enough time off
• Some mothers are controlling and possessive
• Negative father stories in the community
• Isolation from each other
• Lack of recognition of male essence and culture
• Lack of self esteem, self worth, self affirmation
• Lack of celebration
• Providing. Lack of money at a critical time.
• Lack of positive assertion of their role
• Dependency on partner
• Constraints around showing emotions
• Confusion around sexuality and intimacy
• Sex needed as a physical affirmation of love
• Fear of reaching out – and then having their kids taken from them.
• Exposing themselves to emotional risk
• Lack of support from other men
• Lack of support for role change from women
• Extended family supporting traditional stereotypes
• Being excluded as a parent by health and education professionals
• Not enough time to think and process
• Fear of failing
• Judgmental attitude of others
• Being isolated from peers who are non-fathers
• Breaking intergenerational violence cycles
• Stress of change
• Lower education and earning than mothers
• Fear of being accused of sexual abuse
• Father-unfriendly workplaces
• Lack of sense of mature self
• Lack of powerful father role models
• Society’s attitude that fathering is not as important as mothering
• Lack of experience of themselves as nurturers
• Being available for appointment times
• Perceived expectations that others have – that they won’t (can’t) measure up
How can we make our agencies father-friendly?
• Convenient hours of engagement
• Focus on men’s needs and specific issues
• Use man-friendly processes
• Include fathers as essential parents
• Have an activity to address an issue– doing rather than talking
• Employ fathers/males in the agencies
• Employ staff who have male-friendly attitudes
• Free service – or with a contribution
• Don’t assume that they have enough money
• Make your service a safe place
• Be non-judgemental
• Have male groups
• Women- don’t mother men
• Be flexible about different arrangements and behaviour other than ‘normal’
• Have a fire place
• Have male reading material in the waiting room
• Have male/father images and promo material about
• Give equal recognition to fathers
• Have visible male role-models
• Suggest internet sites
• Have open spaces/outside area
• Acknowledge place of fathers within agency policy
• Have places for fathers on forms and use them
• Integrate fathers into the programmes
• Know places to refer fathers to
• Believe in the ability of men to meet the challenges
• Train staff on gender differences
• Listen and learn
• Consider going into a workplace
• Accept men where they are at
• Make food available, use BBQ’s, check diets
• Respect that fathers parent differently
• Allocate equal funding
How can we build/create fathers who don’t abuse others and don’t abuse themselves?
• Support for men by men
• Build a strong sense of consequence
• Build men’s sense of self worth
• Work with them to clean up old issues
• More male mentors
• Understand men’s needs better
• Reduce ‘macho’ and ‘stupid/clown’ images on TV
• Get them to deliver and hold their newborn child
• Broaden our notion and experience of the masculine
• Men stop brutalising men in wars
• Have less emphasis on aggressive sports
• Encourage more men to become primary and early childhood teachers
• Stop denying women’s abuse of children and men Listen to their own stories of being abused
• Promote kindness amongst men
• Help men find their male identity not their ‘feminine side’
• Affirm, include, value and encourage positive fathering
• Make sure you are in positive relationship with their story
• Surround them with men who DON’T abuse
• Engage fathers in the care of children and babies
• Develop father-friendly antenatal classes and post-care inclusion
• Include fathers in conversations with health and education professionals
• Reduce T.V., movie and video game violence by taxing them
• Have courses and services for men
• Challenge media, policy and attitudes that say men are unsafe
• Protect men from false allegation
• Build awareness of God/spiritual realm
• Give them better child knowledge
• Men-to-male messages to stop violence
• Mentor men
• Work on a Family/Whanau basis
• Brainstorm with the father about how he can live better
• Use fatherhood as a motivation for change
• Get boys involved with babies and the elderly
• Acknowledge fathers when they get it right
• Acknowledge the role and importance of fathers
• Build a morals/values base
• Lead by example and model
• Hear men’s stories with an open mind
• Challenge drug issues
• Heal by mind shifts
• Use laughter and humour
• Use action methods
• Give information on the consequences of abuse to others
• Challenge directly and kindly
• Create a vision of how it could be
• Keep men connected to relationships and family
• Have them tell success stories to other men
• Build boundaries and consequences
Where do we go from here as a community?
• Contribute to a community fathering report
• Convince others of the importance of fathering
• Set up training days for staff
• Evaluate our community services
• Have council sponsor a fathering dinner
• Create a father-friendly employer’s policy
• More Community forums,
• Complete the SKIP training
• Develop a father-friendly agency policy
• Develop a father-friendly strategy for the city
• Check the Australian model for the Family Court [they haven’t moved forward either!]
• Encourage midwifery and neonatal information
• Get fathering posters throughout the city
• Get father displays at Parenting shows and toddlers day outs
• Challenge government agencies to think about relationships
• Get funding to employ a fathering co-ordinator
• Get the Citizen’s Advice informed on fathers
• Get publications and information material for Dads
• Develop a media plan
• Set up a mentoring programme for boys with no significant adult male
This [old] document still gives a good strategic focus.
Those who forget history, are doomed to keep repeating it.
WHY FATHERS ARE IMPORTANT
• They give experience of everything that is masculine
• Children and others put importance on ‘real’, ‘blood’ or genetic fathers.
• Fathers are responsible for building positive self esteem in sons and daughters that originates from a man.
• For sons affirmation by father is critical for a solid positive male identity.
• Fathers need to touch children in affirming and nonsexual ways.
• The father may develop a sense of adventure and confidence in the non domestic world.
• The father appears to have an important connection with the outdoors and wild places.
• The father’s positive presence and guidance imparts a sense of internal structure, discipline and rigor.
• Fathers often have a more rigid and literal sense of boundary
• For daughters it is important in teen years to learn how to relate to a man in a safe, confident, affirming and boundary-setting manner.
• Fathers teach daughters to deal strongly with men’s sexuality
• For a son a trusted and affirming father prevents dependence on women
• For both boys and girls, love and dependency become confused without a father.
• Fathers represent greater safety from an adverse world
• Fathers tend to promote a sense of risk-taking and excitement in children.
• Fathers play and explore physical space.
• Fathers teach things about the world, especially in the realm of the rational and in spatial relationships.
• Fathers have a powerful opportunity to demonstrate a respectful, loving and equal relationship with a woman.
• Fathers back up, show respect and model support of mothers.
• Fathers and mothers give two parents to interact with and model partner relationship
• Father interrupts that intensity between the mother and the child
• Fathers teach that it is manly to feel
• Fathers teach respect for males and men
• Fathers teach love from a man in a world that objectifies men as work, protection and power objects.
• Fathers show how to compartmentalise, separate from the surrounding world, and think abstractly
• Children want to be loved by their fathers.
• Sons particularly need the guidance and the strength of the father to direct their own strength.
• Fathers protect the family
• Fathers bring a physical strength, rigour and discipline.
• Fathers give confidence that things can be fixed.
• Fathers affirm endeavour and physical achievement.
• Fathers hold aspiration for their children and so give a sense of future.
• Fathers , cross-culturally assume a role as a primary provider for the resourcing of their family.
• Kids treat fathers different.
• What ever a father does – it is important that a child experiences a man doing it.
• Fathers, as an influential model and half the child’s parenting, have the opportunity to change the world
Things that may happen when fathers are absent:
• Children may feel unprotected.
• Boys lack the clear more black and white boundaries that men tend to hold.
• Boys have more trouble with the police and law and anti-social behaviour. 90% of West Auckland ‘police-engaged’ youth are fatherless.
• Boys are more inclined to suicide and have poor mental health. Fatherless males are 5x more likely to suicide. 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.
• Boys will be more dependent on mothers.
• Boys are likely to transfer that dependency to a woman partner.
• Under-fathered men are more likely to be violent to their partners
• Under-fathered girls are more likely to become pregnant (2.5x)
• The under-fathered child is more likely to use drugs. Fatherless boys are 10 more likely to abuse chemicals.
• Fatherless boys feel angry and cheated
• Male authority figures may receive a lot of the anger felt for the absent dad.
• Fatherless boys are 14 times more likely to rape.
• Fatherless boys are 20x more likely to end up in prison
• Boys will feel the duty to be ‘the man’ and may become adultified children.
• Truancy may increase. Fatherless boys are 9 times more likely to drop out of high school. They are 71% of high school drop outs (US).
• Poverty is more common. Single parent families are probably about 3x more likely to experience poverty than a 2 parent home.
• Educational achievements are reduced. 90% of referrals to Resource Teachers of Learning and Behaviour are boys.(NZ)
• 90% of all homeless and runaway children come from fatherless homes (US).
• There is difficulty feeling confident with males in later life for both boys and girls.
• Physical health tends to be reduced
Why has fathering declined?
• Men have been poorly fathered themselves and have lost the imprint
• The distant work place
• The lack of reintegration after the war
• The scrutiny of feminism
Ways of Overcoming Fatherlessness
• Train dads to do fathering
• Train all men to do fathering
• Tell men that Fathers are important
• Giving Fathers permission to show initiative in fathering
• Treat Fathers as equal parents
• Treat Fathers as a different gender of parent
• Integrate/weave fathers into parenting. Give instruction and even orders to them.
• Join a Mentoring project
• Share a dad
• Male teachers
• Male coaches
• Bring in the uncles
• Build relationship with grandfathers
• Coach the new boyfriend to befriend and not compete.
• Fostering fathers
• Ask where the father is
• Keep father addresses/contact and include in communication
• Reconnect fathers who have become distant
• Assume a father is a good father despite other things being wrong
• Personal and agency
• Deal with your own issues about men and fathers
• Check the attitude to fathers in your agency
• Check that your training is balanced
• Get training to increase father-friendliness
• Make the environment father-friendly
• Reconnections between fathers and child:
• Allow them to have a fight, express anger at lost attention
• Give some of the presents (love symbols) which have been forgotten
• Share a pet
• Manage apologies and ensure that change is committed
• Validate both parents story
• Help child to untangle the dominant parent’s story and find their own
• Validate the child’s own story
• Address any put-downs of the ‘other’ parent by a hurt separated parent
Problems men have
• Difficult to ask for help
• Lack of atunement their body
• Women who manage them
• Lack of male friends who support
• Lack of male consciousness to speak from
Ways to make your service more father-friendly
• Are you treating men and women equally
• Are you treating fathers differently, due to their gender differences
• Identify male life patterns
• Identify male problems
• Toilets: separate and signed
• Male friendly changing/parenting facilities
• Regulations about men?
• Positive engagement
• Addressing both parents equally
• Ensure that forms and notifications include fathers
• What are your attitudes?
• How did you get on with your father?
• Have you had a relationship break up that left you hurt by a man?
• Are you referred an out-of-proportion amount of negativity about fathers?
• Do you have regular supervision?
• Does your agency have regular supervision reviews about the mental health and attitude of the agency?
Ideas for the 2018 Feminist Classic Society
Mother of the DPB Child Support extracked from an absent father
Two parents both working using their 4 weeks holidays to look after the children during school breaks.
Loving life and can’t see what anyone else’s problem is while continuing to defile men.
Good comments Murray and Evan. Murray, you won’t read any of this on mainstream media but is is so true. We do hear Piano Legs Clinton at times tell us that it takes a village to raise a child. Well I’ve seen the village. No Thanks!
Several years back, Warwick Pudney and Elaine gave a seminar about Fathering Issues. At first I thought it was making a molehill out of a small issue, that was “obvious” anyway.
But within 6 months, I realised that this is a seriously misunderstood topic, in much of society.
Sure, it is taken for granted (until for some reason it has been lost!).
As the years went by, I saw so many examples of fatherhood opportunities being vandalised by the ignorant/stupid and the loss was suffered by the young.
The breadth and depth of research in these areas is growing fast.
Curiously, most of the researchers seem to be women. (University politics rears its ugly head…)
Dad power: The surprising new science of fatherhood
Sorry that the article is behind a paywall. If you don’t have a subscription, look it up at the local library.
This article is basically a teaser for a book being published in June 2018 entitled The Life of Dad
Oh yeah, we really need a woman to tell us about ‘The Making of a Modern Father’. However, as they say, you can’t judge a book by the cover.
Dear MoMA, I don’t understand what appears to be your sarcasm?
Surely the issues that matter are the quality and balance of the research?
I am not familiar with her research, but she seems to have a very good reputation.
I wasn’t complaining about Dr. Anna Machin being female, I was commenting that research on modern fathering and also on family separation impacts on developing children, are from a population of researchers, where men are significantly under-represented.
I know that in some areas, a gender imbalance can lead to an influence on the balance of outputs. An unfortunate example of that, is the development of DV policy and legislation in NZ. That disaster is ongoing and there are no signs yet of it being influenced in a more balanced way by the bulk of DV research that has been produced. This situation is a textbook example of poor policy development.
I don’t see much value in “blaming the women involved”, or even the few “men involved”, I see the problem as being largely contributed to by the men who didn’t take part. That is a lesson that most of the men in the men’s movement have yet to learn. In essence, a democracy failure by lazily taking the status quo for granted.
I appreciate that MoMA are not taking things for granted, but showing initiative. I hope that is an example that more men will do similar things.
Someone said that freedom must be fought for, to keep it. Now I know why that is true.
Thanks for the reference, young Old Timer. I have pre-ordered a copy.
Yes Murray @ 7, quite right and we apologize for the intolerance shown. Our response was based on bigotry as well as ignorance of what was in the book. Tentatively, pending the actual contents, we echo your appreciation to Old Timer for linking us to the book.
Our response however was also based on (i) a strong tendency for our media and authorities to ignore writing by men about men and gender issues (unless it’s femaleist men toeing the male-bashing line) but readily making celebrities of women who profess wisdom about men (e.g. Celia Lashlie); (ii) a history of patronizing, offensive publications by women about men, and (iii) the fact that feminists would show offence and ridicule regarding any man who dared to comment on women (unless it was male-bashing comment and even then he would be subjected to suspicion and disrespect).
But that’s not to justify similar bigotry on our part.
It is getting pretty old now but the Michael Lamb “The role of the father in child development” is a pretty solid bit of writing and over half the contributors were women. I think fathers have a great deal to credit Lamb and Kelly (Joan) for in holding back the views of women psychologists like Jennifer McIntosh et al.