Monday, 20 June 2011

Fathers' Day

Because it was Fathers Day yesterday I missed the news about David Cameron's latest demonstration of just how out of touch this government is.

I'm going to stick my neck out and say I agree a dad who "runs out" on his kids and deliberately takes no responsibility or interest in them is someone I would look on as shameful.  But really is that much of a shock?  I would have thought that it's not really something we need the Prime Minister to tell us (why not tell us what you're going to do to make life easier for Dads?) and far more importantly doesn't reflect the vast majority of the situations where one parent is not at home.

At Gingerbread, we think single parents do a brilliant job!So it's not particularly helpful to suggest that somehow a collective 'shunning' of runaway dads will make a big difference to children's lives, which is presumably the intention.  I and probably everyone reading this will have friends or family members where the relationship didn't work out and that it ended up being better for everyone that there was a split and the dad has stayed involved with the kids maybe as the 'weekend dad'.  Or we know of families where the mum has decided to prevent access by the dad - sometimes for no good reason, sometimes for very good reasons.  Or we know of dads who are the main carer for the kids and it's the mum that has gone "AWOL" (nice phrasing Dave...). 

Instead of preaching I'd like to see this government improving support for simgle parents (including dads) and finding ways of making it easier for the non-resident parent to stay involved, rather than harder for single parents to get support and penalising single parents who can't get an amicable settlement.