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Father's Day 2018

 Father’s Day Message – 2018

Father’s Day is our opportunity to celebrate fatherhood. It is a chance for all dads to be reminded that they are loved and needed by those who they have cared for and loved throughout their lives. It is a recognition of the unique and vital role that fathers play in their children’s lives.

Tragically, at Families Need Fathers, we all too often work with dads whose children will not be able to celebrate Father’s Day with them. Many of them will have in their possession an order from the Family Court to say that their children should be seeing them regularly, not least on Father’s Day, but the order will not be obeyed.

Other fathers will have no hope at all of seeing their children on Father’s Day, because they have been “awarded” indirect contact. So all they can do for the child who needs them and whom they love is to send them a letter a few times a year – in the hope that it reaches them.

Worse still, many of their children will feel pressurised to reject their much-loved dads. Sometimes this will happen through coaching, but more often it will be because their main carers make coldly clear to these young minds their feelings towards their ex-partners. Why do they do this – could they have valid reasons? More often than not it is because they would not accept that the relationship had ended, because they started a new one of their own, because they were upset that their ex has started a new relationship or because they fear that their ex’s new partner will somehow usurp or diminish their role as a mother. Of course, these reasons are driven by adult emotions and it is harmful to burden the children with them. Children have more than enough capacity to love both their parents and extended families whether they live together or apart. Parents collaborating can do so much to help children to get over their parents' divorce or separation.

It is amazing that in 2018 there are still Cafcass Family Court Advisers, judges and social workers who don’t recognise alienating behaviours or appreciate their effect – putting a child in a position of having to suppress and deny their love for their father - a love that dare not speak its name. Over the last year or two Cafcass have accepted that parental alienation is child abuse and they are beginning to develop pathways and tools for identifying it and hopefully for dealing with it too.

That said the message has not reached all of them yet. Only last week we heard from an entirely reasonable, good dad whose child has been turned against him - yet neither the Family Court Adviser nor the judge showed any interest in why this might be. Incredibly, the judge and Family Court Adviser described the father as arrogant and naive for challenging the professionals' views when they had considered the wishes of his brainwashed child. The judge’s decision was horrifying – condemning a father simply for loving their child above all else – for wanting to remain part of the child’s life. They should do better. They need to be better trained. They need to have a far better understanding of recent research into child psychology and the long-term impact on a child of having to keep secret or trying to destroy their own love of a parent in order to protect themselves from the fear of loss of the other parent. It is amazing that, despite alienating behaviours being recognised by Cafcass nationally and by many experienced judges there are still those who look out to the horizon and conclude that the earth is flat. ‘Professionals’ who ignore all the evidence from those who have sailed those seas and yet when challenged don’t even show the slightest curiosity. Why for example might a child phone and say "I really wanted to see you on Father's Day, but mummy said no" and then a few weeks later, having not seen him, say "I never want to see him again"?

Of course, there are abusive men and women and a small minority will seek to hide their abuse with claims of alienation. This does not mean of course that alienation does not happen and experienced professionals can easily tell the difference. The earth is round, and no amount of denial will make it flat.

Today our thoughts are with all the good dads out there, but most especially with all those children and their dads who are needlessly apart, failed by their main carers and failed by a broken family justice system that is behind the times. Those dads will continue to suffer every single day, as will their children, many of whom will grow up living with the effects of the daily guilt of having to deny their love for one parent in order to hold on to the love of the other.

It will be very hard for these children and their alienated parents to forgive the Government and the courts for their obstruction and inaction. But if we all work constructively together, for the sake of all those children of separated families, progress can and will be made.

We wish everyone a Happy Father's Day.  If you are a father, and you are in touch or with your children - have a great day. If you are a father and for whatever reason you cannot be with your child or children, we hope that they will be happy and much loved and appreciated in your thoughts throughout the day and in the future.

17th June 2018

 

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  • People on Universal Credit and other benefits, who do not live with their children, don't just struggle with rent but also with making Child Maintenance (CM) payments. When that happens the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) puts them into their 'Collect and Pay' service for which they are then surcharged by 20% by the government. A kind of 'pay-day loan' surcharge that mostly affects the poorest parents. Not surprisingly they then find it even more difficult to pay their CM and develop arrears. CM payments are not even taken into account in calculations of UC, hence ensuring that many remain below the poverty line and that increased income does not increase their take-home pay - precisely what UC was supposed to put an end to. It also makes their ex-partners angry that they are not receiving the CM that they have been told by CMS is their entitlement adding to their already stressed lives. UC and the benefits system need to look at the specific issues of separated parents to help solve the problems of families on low incomes rathe than compound them. Do tell your MP about this and ask him/her to seek a government response. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/feb/06/call-for-universal-credit-overhaul-amid-fears-of-looming-evictions-crisis Please support us by sharing this, liking it, following us on Facebook, registering with us for free on our website, making a donation or becoming a member.
  • The Guardian/Observer are seeking views on issues men face today, on masculinity, etc in the context of #MeToo. We thought you might wish to share your views with them and the stories you would like to see them cover. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/31/tell-us-about-the-issues-men-face-today To support FNF please like our posts, follow us, register on our website for free, make a donation or join and become a member.
  • Tracey Crouch MP for Chatham and Aylesford leads a Westminster debate today on supporting fathers in early years. We welcome this. Countries that support fathers, not least through much better paternity leave policies, also have greater involvement of dads with their children whether together or apart. Their society as a whole values them more. Fewer need to go to court. Children grow up healthier... and so do the adults. We will attend the debate this morning. https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/social-affairs/children-and-young-people/house/house-magazine/101416/tracey-crouch-we-need Please support FNF by liking this, sharing it, following us, registering for free, making a donation or becoming a member.
  • Good to see Esther Rantzen redressing the balance. We should not be tarring all men with the same brush or assuming that all or even most women are relative angels. Power can be abused. In family courts it often is. Stereotyping is unhelpful to finding solutions for separated parents - it creates the conditions of such abuse to the detriment of the children, their dads and, in the final analysis, mums too. https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/esther-rantzen-hits-out-at-the-gillette-metoo-ad-saying-it-tars-all-men-with-same-brush-a4041186.html To support FNF please like this, share it, follow us, register for free, make a donation or become a member.
  • A leave to remove case that has gone terribly wrong and the child has been abducted. There is risk of harm if identified and almost certain harm from losing a father. Furthermore, it seems unlikely appeasement will work and doing nothing will certainly not deter others from such damaging action. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6593333/Ukrainian-wife-millionaire-Russian-flees-London-mansion-two-young-children.html Please support FNF by liking this post, sharing it, following us, registering for free on our website, making a donation or becoming a member.
  • A Whitehall source said that Rudd wanted “universal credit to receive a fresh parliamentary mandate and be personally sure the system is working in the interests of every claimant”. Let's hope that the "every claimant" bit means that they will ensure that Universal Credit takes into account Child Maintenance payments made by those in receipt of state benefits. Too many are now asked to make unaffordable payments and are driven to despair. If you are affected by this, ask your MP to raise with Amber Rudd and please let us know how you get on on admin@fnf.org.uk. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jan/05/amber-rudd-to-delay-universal-credit-roll-out-pilot-study Please support our work by sharing this post, liking our page, registering for free, becoming a member or making a donation online.

FNF HSSF Kite Mark Award

Families Need Fathers has been awarded the Help and Support for Separated Families Kite Mark which is a new UK government accreditation scheme for organisations offering help to separated families.

Families Need Fathers work with a range of family law professionals, including Family Law Panel

 

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