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7 out of 10 mums (68%) believe dads are as skilled at parenting as they are, yet the father role is seen as still secondary by much of society, according to new ICM research launched by the Fatherhood Institute today.
The Institute says involving fathers has a major impact on child welfare yet they spend on average a month less with their children than mothers every year, mainly because of unsocial hours and inflexible working. It is calling for a shake up of parental leave, all family professionals such as midwives and teachers to actively involve fathers, and more done to ensure dads sign birth certificates, in line with international best practice.
Reading at school with their children and staying overnight during hospital births are two of the Institute's new proposals to boost fathers' involvement with their kids. These proposals are backed by 71% and 79% of mothers respectively. Seven out of ten of all respondents say there should be a zero tolerance approach when dads don't take on their parenting responsibilities.
Both men and women believe the biggest positive impact of a father's involvement is on a child's behavioural problems, self esteem and school work, according to the poll. This is backed by independent evidence cited in the Institute's latest report, 'The Difference a Dad Makes', launched alongside the survey findings.
Duncan Fisher, Director of the Fatherhood Institute, said today: "It's clear that parental leave and services do not meet the needs of the modern family. Government and policy makers need to catch up with reality because involving dads has a huge impact on a child's wellbeing and life chances."