Both Parents Matter

A report by ParentlinePlus (re-launched as Family Lives in 2011) highlights the role of fathers & the way in which they access advice and support

The report included a number of recommendations and called for more support for fathers. 

“Always remember that your children are a mirror of your own image and are worth the patience, the determination, the hardships, the sadness, the pain, the stress and the sense of loss that I believe must be endured by most. They rely and depend on you and in doing the right things, by never giving up on them and accepting that sometimes things just happen, you are showing them what love really is, so be strong, be patient, never give up, learn to forgive for their sakes and above all, my biggest frailty, be able to accept help if and when offered, like me stubborn pride can and will get in the way of an easy transition, I’m still learning that part, the thing is I am willing to learn and not for myself.

The importance of fathers to their children and to family life is becoming better understood. At the same time, there is increased recognition that real barriers exist which prevent men from accessing services, and that the risks to men’s health, in particular their emotional health are significantly higher than for women because of these barriers.

  • Reach out to fathers at the time of divorce and separation
    Children need their fathers as well as their mothers. And they need them to be in good emotional health. At the time of divorce or separation fathers and mothers struggle with their emotions. Our research shows that men are much more likely to seek help at this time, but find it extraordinarily difficult to get the help that they need, because most services fail to meet their needs, albeit unintentionally.
  • Require services to work with fathers
    The Children Act 1989 requires that fathers as well as mothers should be provided with a support service to ensure that they can fulfil a positive parenting role when children are vulnerable at times of stress. This includes children who are distressed when their parents are in conflict following divorce or separation. However this requirement is treated in most areas as low priority and fathers in particular do not generally find or get support at the time of divorce and separation, making it more likely that they will experience the process of divorce or separation as extremely difficult, and this in turn impacts negatively on their children.
  • Remove the stigma of asking for help
    Mothers and fathers find it very hard to ask for help - there is still a stigma associated with this and it is still seen as a sign of failure. This stigma affects men more than women, because men are supposed to ‘deal with things’ themselves. This attitude that ‘men should cope’ is prevalent in men, but also in women and often in the people working in helping agencies.
  • Build trust with fathers
    Fathers have little experience of using services that meet their needs and that engage with them successfully and productively. So services need to work hard to build relationships and trust with fathers. Fathers are wary of being told what to do by services, or of information being used against them by services. This means that services need to be really clear about the boundaries of confidentiality and about what they do and how, so as to build fathers’ trust in them, and enable fathers to feel they can use them.

What are your experiences of seeking and accessing advice or support as a Dad? Let us know via the forum and check out the news item Ignored by the midwife.


Updated: Oct 2017

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