For a single mum, the best way to achieve balance in their children’s lives is to find a good father figure the child can relate to, whether that be the ex-husband, a stepfather, an uncle, grandfather, a brother, or someone such as a sports coach. Since the industrial revolution, men aren’t as closely physical associated with their families. Mums are at home, doing what eighty or ninety percent of the parenting. For the last couple of hundred years, since dad went off to become the factory father, children have essentially only been surrounded by women. It’s very abnormal. The basis of human existence is having both a strong female and male figure in their life. It doesn’t have to be mum and dad, of course, and often it can’t be. But having both is just a biological feature of human existence. The Fathering Project is trying to get people back to normality. Children have not always been brought up by their mum and dad. In human existence, it’s always been mum and dad with grandparents and other family members nearby. It wasn’t always the father that did the male role.
What Your Kids Need
As working parents, there’s a tremendous sense of guilt when you just can’t be there for your children. However, don’t let guilt be your guide. Some dads are doing a terrific job, but feel guilty because they could be doing better. Others are doing a terrible job, but they just shrug their shoulders. The main guide is to ask, “What is it that my kids really need from me? How can I give it to them?”
This article is an excerpt from Bruce Robinson’s interview with Jane Marwick on 6PR. Audio reproduced with permission.
Listen in to hear the whole interview using the player above or by clicking on this audio link.
Additional interviews with Jane Marwick:
- Alcohol and Children
- What to do When the Other Parents Don’t Care
- Why Father Figures are Important
- Being Involved and Overcoming Peer Pressure
- How the Fathering Project Started: Interview