Are Father's Necessary?
Another Father's day passed us by this weekend, with the traditional giving of socks, mugs and coasters saying "World's Best Dad". However, there are children out there that may never get the chance
to do so.
Absent fathers are becoming an increasing problem
here in the UK, leaving people to ask the question: "Are father's necessary?"
Absent Fathers Lead to Serious Consequences
The Centre for Social Justice warned us last year about the increasing number of "man deserts"
that are appearing up and down the UK with a potential 1 million children growing up without a father
. The research painted a damning picture of teenage crime, under achievement and a proven link between absent fathers in one generation passing on the tradition to the next.
For these reasons alone, it's easy to see why a child would need both their mother and father in their lives. Both mothers and fathers parent in different complimentary ways, giving children a well-rounded parenting experience
. Data from the Prison Reform Trust showed that over a 6-month period in 2008, 76% of those children imprisoned had an absent father.
Families Need Fathers
For both boys and girls, the need for a father in their lives is essential. Some parents who are dealing with the absenteeism of the father of their child may have had an absent father themselves. They would argue that "they turned out fine."
We only need to look at society to see what kinds of experiences your child will be missing if you prevent or make it difficult for your child's father to stay in contact
A mother who is prevented from seeing her children will not be able to give them the benefit of her nurturing abilities. No one would deny that it is important for a child, especially a daughter to have a real connection with their mother. Mothers and daughters will often become best friends
in later life because of the consistent relationship they had previously.
Equally, fathers who are present in their child's life can bring a sense of security and stability
, especially if that child is a boy and they need help and guidance to develop into a well-rounded individual in society.
Get It in Writing
Ultimately, the decision to let your child's father play an active role in their life boils down to the fact that they are the only other person in the world that knows your child the way you do.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
explicitly states the importance of having both parents in a child's life – unfortunately, this is not part of our law in the UK but the point still remains. For your child to have a balanced childhood, both mom and dad need to be in the picture.
In a society where it was previously easy for a father to shirk his responsibilities, the law has changed so it is presumed both parents are accountable
. Fathers no longer have to feel like they are proving their worth.
For mothers who are questioning whether their child needs a father, there are a number of resources you can use
to help him build a gradual relationship with your child. Contact centres are a great start, with visits either being supervised or unsupervised. With most fathers, all they need is a chance. Getting all the information down in a legal document makes sure that you and the father of your child know where you stand
and shows you are both equally committed to your child's future.