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The UK's leading Shared Parenting charity

Father's Day 2020

Father’s Day for most children marks the importance of dads in their lives, just as Mother’s Day does for mums. Each parent helps to shape and form young minds into the adults of tomorrow, developing their sense of self-worth and identity.

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Every year thousands of children needlessly lose their fathers from their day-to-day lives, often aided and abetted by an adversarial family justice system that is not fit for the purpose of resolving issues between separating parents. With almost half of families separating before their children leave school, this is creating a public health crisis of epidemic proportions and the coronavirus pandemic is making it worse.

It should not surprise anyone that 77% of respondents to a recent YouGov poll asking what was stressing them most under Covid-19 said: ‘not seeing family’. We are sure that this applies to children at least as much as to their dads, on Father’s Day.

Although the Government and judiciary have made it clear that the Covid-19 must not be used as an excuse for undermining children’s relationships with both parents, for very many, that is exactly what has happened. This is evidenced by our Helpline which after an initial lull, received over 40% more calls than at the same time last year. If you are experiencing difficulties, our guidance on navigating child arrangements Covid-19 may be of some assistance.

Our experience is that, where one parent is determined to undermine their children’s relationship with their ex-partners, the longer the period of time when children are not seeing both parents, the more difficult it is to get things going again and the more damage is done to the children. In the more extended cases, children respond by claiming to reject a much loved parent, essentially in order to protect themselves from the disapproval of their other parent.

However, even in the most difficult cases, such obstruction can often backfire, at least in the long run. Stephen (not his real name) contacted us last year and told us how his son and daughter, had been devastatingly affected by undermining behaviour by his ex. We won’t go into the details of the story here, but his journey separated the children from their father for 28 years before they were reunited. Stephen’s experience shows how sending letters, postcards, communications, etc to the children (even though they never replied) means they knew dad had them in mind, and one day will be back in touch.

Here are the words of his daughter, separated from him in 1991 aged 5 and now in her mid thirties:

 

“Dear Dad…….. I am glad to have you in my life

I am glad that you are part of me

Happy in the rain and in the sun that you are here with me

As the years pass by I want to say sorry

Sorry for all the years before I didn’t understand you

I didn’t really know you

I didn’t see you really

I look forward to seeing you

I look forward to spending time with you

I’m glad to see you in my Life

Love D xo”

 

“Dear Dad ………. Happy Birthday

Thank you for seeing me through the good times

Thank you for seeing me through the hardship

Your support meant a great deal to me

I don’t know what would have happened to me if I didn’t have you in my life

You mean the world to me

Thank you so much

Have a great Day

Love D“

 

So as children all over the country celebrate Father’s Day, our thoughts are with all of them and their dads.

Our thoughts are especially, however, for the children and dads who are unable to enjoy this day together. Stephen’s story reminds us that the bond that is there is strong and cannot be destroyed by ill-will and inappropriate parenting alone. The truth often outs in the end and therefor, for the sake of your children, you should never give up.

For your children, every day is Father’s Day and that is why we are here.

Happy Father’s Day 2020 from all of us at FNF – because both parents matter!

Our Helpline can be reached on 0300 0300 363 – ideally between 6pm and 10pm Monday to Friday.

If you are not already a member, join us, register for free and/or consider making a donation to enable us to keep going and do more.

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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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