Views on fatherhood

Father and daughter

We know from our practice, research, partners and leading experts in the field that fathers matter greatly to our children and young people. Below are a few views on the issue of fatherhood:

'A couple of years ago, I was working really hard to make ends meet. I was always coming in late, so obviously everyone would be asleep. One night, I walked in but the lights were on. It was quite silent. And then I saw that everybody was there and still awake. The first thing I said is "Is there no school tomorrow?" It was 11 o'clock. My wife said "yes there is school but no one's going to bed because they're waiting for you". My youngest child said, "we haven't seen you for three days, we want to see you before we go to bed", that made me change everything. Now, I've got to be home early every night even if it's just for a few seconds. I didn't realise that's how they felt.'
 –Mohammed, father of four, The Children's Society's Bradford Father's Service

 'My dad Jason is in the Navy and sometimes he has to go away to work and this can be from three to eight months at a time. Sometimes I get upset when he goes away but I try not to think about it and try to think about him coming home. The hardest bit is at the weekends when I see other children with their dads. I also find it hard to go to sleep knowing Dad isn't here because I feel safer when he's at home. I especially miss talking with my dad, Mum's great and we talk a lot but when things are bothering me at school I like to talk to my dad about them as he makes me feel better about things.' 
–Harriet, 15, Homefront Forces, Dorset

'A review on fatherhood – and one led by a national children's charity – is a key step forward. It is a recognition that family is important to children, a message that has been made again and again in the research carried out by The Children's Society. We live in a society that states very clearly that babies are the mothers' business, just look at all the magazines and websites, but actually babies are a family business. When babies are born, 95% of couples are together, so ensuring we understand fatherhood is a key first step.' 
–Duncan Fisher, OBE, Parenting Expert