Nearly one in three mothers think fathers should have no say

Children|Family|News|January 9th 2014

Nearly one in three separated mothers believe fathers should have no say in their child’s upbringing, according to a recently published survey by relationship charity Relate.

Thirty-two per cent of separated mothers said they thought they had the sole right to make decisions about their children’s lives – more than twice the number of men who thought single parents should have sole say.

The report notes:

“…68 per cent of separated mothers said both parents should make decisions together about children’s futures, compared to 85 per cent of fathers.”

Relate urged separating parents to talk to each other.

Chief Executive Ruth Sutherland said:

“The one thing everyone can be sure of is that it’s the wellbeing of children which is of paramount importance here – so finding ways to work together as parents in the best interests of our children is vital.”

Harry Benson of campaign group the Marriage Foundation told the Mail: ‘Fathers must have a role in their children’s lives. Teenagers are much more likely to go off the rails if their fathers are not part of their lives.

A report published last year by the Centre for Social Justice linked fatherless families to higher rates of teenage crime and pregnancy, as well as social disadvantage.

The survey, examining attitudes to separation, was conducted by YouGov.

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  1. Involved Father says:

    Clearly ANY parent that believes that the other should have no say in a childs raising has issues that need to be addressed unless there is valid evidenced justification for no involvement. As adults we dont make important decisions based on one stand point so why would the rausibg of a child be any different? Sometimes it isnt possible to have a dual imput but where it is the load should be shared

  2. Tristan says:

    Most private law disputes over access to children are instigated by the unreasonable behaviour of a mother who refuses contact. Domestic violence, child sex abuse or some other domestic abuse waffle are then introduced into the mix as appropriate. This provides some ballast to the dispute and allows the court to fiddle around while the family burns and alienation sets in. The court is then informed by the Cafcass officer that the child doesn’t want contact with the father. This gives courts the excuse for what they constantly crave – deferment. Courts love to defer matters to the next hearing while this or that is investigated. Usually it’s all baloney. Family cases are all about deferment. Judges are not men of decision. They waffle around trying to appease recalcitrant mothers instead of establishing proper contact then enforcing it against the mother’s will.

  3. JamesB says:

    I asked the Mum of my youngest daughter for overnight contact, her response was “You do not mess with a Mother and her Daughter!”. That kind of sums this issue up, for her there is was no one else in the daughter’s life who mattered one bit. I had to gently advise her over a long period of time – on-going – that the father is important also. Still I don’t think she gets it as I still don’t have this contact or decent contact with my youngest.

    I think also women find it difficult to have to talk to their exes, which is necessary when children are involved. They therefore oftentimes prefer they just go away completely.

  4. Luke says:

    It would be interesting to ask the question whether mothers would agree that the father should have as much right to make decisions about the child’s upbringing as the mother – I think you’ll find that the number who disagree is much higher than even the 32% who say that fathers should have no say at all.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Surveys like this are just absurd, however well intentioned they may be.

    If I were a parent with some disorder or another and thought that fathers should have no say, I would certainly not admit it – even anonymously. Instead, being the righteous person I was (righteousness usually accompanies disorders), I’d want to try to convince myself that I would be decent about all this.

  6. Tristan says:

    Children from the age of one or younger even, need to start spending overnights with dad, despite what ‘mum’ may or may not approve or what Cafcass or the courts think.

    A separated father needs to learn ”mothering’ and be able to apply maternal’style care, as appropriate, from the moment of separation and have the time with his child to do that. Commensurately, a mother needs to start applying more fatherly values which might typically include discipline and setting behavioural boundaries.

    Separated parents needs to enhance their parental skill sets particularly fathers, and they ought to be able to cope with any contingency a child might throw at them care-wise. There is no substitute for just ‘doing it’. Leaving everything to ‘mum’ is a recipe for long term estrangement from your child unless you are willing to constantly kowtow to your ex-partner in which case you may not be the role model your child needs.

    Family law ought to facilitate the responsibility of raising a child. Too often, regrettably, through a court’s inaction it minimises the part a father plays in his child’s upbringing.

  7. Luke says:

    “Children from the age of one or younger even, need to start spending overnights with dad, despite what ‘mum’ may or may not approve or what Cafcass or the courts think. ”

    We disagree on this Tristan.
    I think for the vast majority of non-resident parent full time workers (i.e. usually fathers) that is totally impractical, I do not see a clamour from men to be having children at age 0-1 for overnight stays either.

    I would also suggest that at such a young age it is probably not good for the child as the evidence that they should bond with one care-giver is there – I don’t think that should be messed with. I cannot see anything in favour of it except a small percentage of fathers saying ‘I want’.

    The bottom line is that if you want to be in the same house overnight with the child then be VERY careful who you have children with – condoms exist. Break-ups happen, but if a couple cannot survive together for a few years when they have a child then they have only themselves to blame for the mess they are in.

    Regular and consistent contact for an NRP is extremely important, and it gets more and more important as the children get older, that’s when overnight stays should be introduced – not at 0.

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