Even Bob Geldoff has lent his name to the “father’s rights” movement with a recent Channel 4 polemic.
In the middle of all this rhetoric and emotion I’ve felt that we’ve been missing hard facts so I was pleased to see that UK family-support charity Parentline Plus has released Hopes, Stress and Love – Listening to fathers based on the issues that fathers raise in calls to the charity’s help line.
They paint a picture of men who are deeply concerned about their children’s welfare, involved in their education and who care deeply about improving the family experience. This cuts across all family situations — 44% of calls in the survey were from fathers within a traditional “nuclear family”.
More disturbingly the report identifies high levels of stress and feelings of isolation in many of their male callers and a significant level of concern about conflict with partners / ex-partners and the effect of this on the children.
The authors conclude with a call to all family support services not only to recognise the essential role of fathers but also to understand that reticence to seek help is in many cases made worse by a perception held by many men that support services are biased against them.