Friday, August 24, 2007

Fathering week to put focus back on dads

Fathering week to put focus back on dads

Saturday August 25, 2007
By Simon Collins

Children's services such as Plunket and Playcentre could reduce social problems such as child abuse by encouraging fathers to get involved, according to a new report on fathering.

Fathering Our City, a report for Waitakere City by Auckland University of Technology psychotherapist Warwick Pudney, says many services for children and families unconsciously exclude men through their "feminised" culture.

The report calls for both changing mainstream services to suit fathers as well as mothers, and developing specific services for fathers.

Waitakere City Council and other agencies, including Man Alive and Violence Free Waitakere, have organised a "Fathering Week" running from Monday until next Sunday - Fathers' Day - to start putting dads back on the agenda.

Events include a public meeting on supporting new fathers on Tuesday night, free training for dads to play games with their preschoolers on Thursday night, and a weekend expedition to the Waitakeres for dads and sons, with a night at a camp, on September 8-9.

Mr Pudney, who founded the Henderson counselling centre Man Alive in 1996, says that agency focused mainly on abuse and family crisis and did not provide any specific support to fathers.

The only specific "fathering service" in the city was Big Buddy, a spinoff from Man Alive which matches fatherless boys with volunteer male mentors. It has a policy of contacting the biological father whenever possible before providing a mentor, and sometimes that contact succeeds in relinking real fathers to their children.

"We kind of stumbled on this by accident," said Big Buddy director Richard Aston.

"With one father I just found myself getting angry with him. I said, 'Why the hell am I doing this, for God's sake, man!' And it worked!

"Of the people who come to us where we identify a father that could be involved with his kids, maybe 20 per cent get reconnected in some way."

Mr Pudney said other services that could help fathers tended to scare them away by being "unconsciously feminised".

"Things like Plunket and Playcentre have been serving women for a long time. There is a lack of consciousness about how it might be for a man going along there," he said.

"They say any man is welcome but don't notice what sort of magazines you have in the waiting room or the posters on the wall."

He says the feminist movement had to assert that men and women could do anything equally, but genetic science was now showing that the two genders were different.

"We have come from a culture where women, in claiming their independence, have tended to establish the notion that fathers are not necessary," he said.

His report cites local and overseas research showing that fathers help their sons to develop trust, and that fatherless boys are more likely to get into trouble, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away, and kill themselves. He says girls tend to approach the world through words, while boys tend to emphasise vision and physical action.

"Agencies like Plunket and Playcentre expect men to join in and behave like women," he said.

"I say, 'If you want to get men involved, don't try to chat to them. Call them in and ask them to do a job - this is the way men engage in things."

He suggests that antenatal classes should be renamed "new parenting classes", with guidance on the psychological effects of a baby and the effect on their relationship.

Albany psychologist Frank Hayes, who will speak at Tuesday night's meeting, said post-natal depression affected about 15 per cent of mothers - and about the same proportion of fathers.

"It just presents itself differently," he said. "The men get depressed and start drinking, start having affairs, start working more."

Mr Hayes runs monthly evenings for expectant and new fathers to deal with the psychological effects of new fatherhood.

When Dad's not there

* 80 per cent of boys referred to specialists for bad behaviour do not have fathers or have abusive fathers.

* 90 per cent of youth offenders do not have fathers.

* 90 per cent of homeless and runaway children come from fatherless homes.

* 63 per cent of youth suicides are in fatherless homes.

* Fatherless boys are 10 times more likely to abuse chemicals.

* Fatherless boys are 14 times more likely to rape.

Source: Warwick Pudney, Fathering Our City.

Why fathers matter

* Fathers give kids confidence in getting on with other males.

* Fathers provide half of a child's identity - "where I come from".

* Fathers encourage outward-looking action and adventure.

* Fathers often have more rigid boundaries that especially help boys to develop trust and security.

* Fathers protect, and are prepared to die for, their family.

* Fathers, across cultures, are the primary financial providers.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for running this. We as Fathers Must do more in promoting Fathers/Dads.
I believe this is very vital to our society, country, Fathers/Dads, Grandparents,
our Children, and the World. I Believe that the root of all this started by the feminist
agendas. They want there cake and eat it too. They really dont Believe in Equality,
as they preach. They really want to be in total control, and Men in power are giving
them what they want, because of fear. I Believe that Men in power Must see the hidden
agendas, well, there really not hidden anymore, because they are getting what they want,
and they continue to ramp and rave, and walk up and down the halls of congress, demanding special attention.. The Men in congress, stopped the ERA movement,
because they saw the hidden agendas..And they Must see this again...These lies by
the feminist groups does NOT benefit our children, our society, marriages, Fathers,
Grandparents, communities, our country, and the World. So we Must FIRST reconize
who is behind all of this, which is the feminist groups...And we Must hold our people
in power accountable for believeing the lies of the feminist groups, and destroying Families.

Thank you, and keep up the Fight. Never Surrender, and make our voices heard, load
and clear, until things change...And then keep on some more, to keep it that way..

God Bless,
Steven- Proud Father!!!!

Anonymous said...

Fathers day is the
First Sunday of September in Australia & New Zealand

It is good to take advantage of the media's short attention span to speak out for fathers rights during this time.
I have been informed my poem below will appear in an Australian periodical soon.
Don, the 14%er

(In Acrostic poems, the first letters of each line are aligned vertically to form a word.)

Fathers Day Acrostic

Fathers are fun - and serious too!
And you learn more from them than you do at school.
Think of all the good times you've had.
How would it be without your dad?
Everything would be harder with no mentor for growth.
Reflect on the man who loves you the most.
Soon will come the day for you to fill his shoes.

Do you think your dad would accept an excuse?
Always try your best, that's what he would say.
Yes, think of your dad on this Fathers Day!

Don M
Sherman, Texas