- Family and Parenting
Should men have as many rights as a woman when it comes to their children?
Do you think men can be as good a parent as a woman?
It seems to me that men get a raw deal when it comes to their children. Why, in today's society, do people naturally think woman are better than men with child care?
It was only recently that I got into a debate with a friend of mine about who was the better parents, men or women?
She first said:
"Well women are the ones who nurture and care for this child while it grows and matures in her body. They then have to give birth to this child, and through this excessive pain it shows she loves this child more than anything. And through this excessive pain she knows her child better than anyone could imagine."
I have never been through this part of life and will never experience this wonderful process of making another human being. Saying that, I couldn't see how this makes a woman a better parent. Yes, she has a head start over the man because of biology and may start off with a greater bond with their child than a man because he hasn't experienced it, but how does this make her a better parent?
Then she argued:
"The mother is the first person the baby feels next to them. She is usually the main carer, especially during the early stages, and especially if she breast feeds."
My argument against this was again biology, that if she chooses to breast feed, which is the best thing for the little one, then there isn't much the man can do to help here. But he really should be doing nappy (diaper) changes, bath times and bed times. This is his chance to bond with his child, and give mom a rest too. It is hard looking after a baby full time and anyone needs a little down time from this.
Another point she raised was:
"A mother is usually the one who stays at home and looks after the child so she has more of a bond with their child. She takes a long time off work, or even gives up her career to taking care of their child."
I agreed with this point, and the extra time spent with the child will definitely enhance their bond compared to that of a parent who isn't there for long periods of time like when they are working. It is a sad fact of this culture of 'equality' that men still demand the higher pay jobs. So in defence of men, would it be better for a woman to give up her job (one in which she can take a large period of time off with some kind of pay) or would it be better for a man to do this with his one week of paternity pay?
"There are plenty of single moms out there who can easily manage without a father figure in their kids lives. They do an amazing job and I admire them a lot."
I had to agree with this point too. I myself are from a 'broken family' where my mom looked after me and I have to admit I am everything I am today because of her, and very little input from my dad. She had three kids and considering we were from a very low income she has done amazingly - one teacher, one physiologist and one electrician and all three really nice people who have never been in trouble with the police.
I did have a counter argument though - when it comes to court judgements, it is usually the woman (around 99% of the time) that will get the judgement in their favour and the children will live with her. There are also the dads who walk out of the family home and do not fight for the children, but who can blame them when the odds are completely stacked against them?
I knew an amazing dad, one who always put his children first, one who adored them and would help them in anyway he could. He had to fight tooth and nail to win custody for his children even though the mother was a cocaine addict who cared about this disgusting habit more than her own flesh and blood. It took years for him to get his children. Why I asked. If it were the other way around he would have been dealt with swiftly and decisively, leaving him to pay a large sum of maintenance to her.
And then she finished off by saying:
"But there are so many bad fathers out there that just leave their children and have nothing to do with them. They don't even pay for their children or help out in anyway."
Again I had to agree with this. Saying that though, there are just as many bad mothers out there. Working in schools I hear a lot of stories about the disgraceful conditions these children have to live with. The sort of abuse some put up with. This is a vast minority and yet I hear just as many stories about mothers doing this compared to fathers. No child should have to put up with bad parents, they don't deserve it.
Men, or shall we say boys, do have an option of running when they first discover a girl is pregnant. Its the survival instinct that kicks in here - turn and fight or run! A man will take care of his family and protect them. Too many boys will run for their lives. It is a scary thing, a really scary thing to be told, especially if it wasn't planned. But it is these boys that create a bad reputation for all the good fathers out there.
Who was right?
I don't think anyone won that debate to be honest, and to be fair I believe it has a lot more to do with character than it does with biology. A good parent is a good parent whether they are a mother or father.
What I do not agree with is the system a lot of men find themselves in, the fact that they find they have no voice, that they are discriminated in family courts and that too many woman use children against them.
I am not the only one who sees this, Fathers for Justice are an organisation set up to try to help seperated fathers:
Do you think Justice for Fathers are a good thing?
Fathers for justice
The memebers of Fathers for justice in England have scaled the palace and hijacked the National Lottery in a bid to gain publicity to their cause. With them dressing up as super heroes have these men just made themselves look like fools or has their campaign actually led to anything of note?
This group has often been ridiculed for the way they have acted. But they stand for some very real issues within the English family law courts. They are frustrated with how they see things and want to help separated fathers to have real time with their children.
Statistics show that some 200 dads are being separated from their children each day - a scary figure. A lot of these fathers fight for a chance to have some part in their child's lives. When talks with the mother break down and the courts don't even help dads get desperate. Members state that ,"By the time they're clambering on the roof of Buckingham Palace or taking law into their own hands, they've usually lost their home, job and most of their money."
The group do believe that it is important to keep the issue of paternity rights in the public eye with stunts like that. They even believe this is a more powerful ally than negotiations with politicians and legal establishments as they know they have support from MP's in the past for them to 'break their promise' after.
Experts argue that access rights for separated fathers have improved hugely in the last decade. New legislation states that judges must ensure fathers are given the legal right to spend time to develop a meaningful relationshop with their child - provided a child's wellbeing is not at risk by this relationship. As part of this legisation a judge has the power to determine the appropriate time and arrangements if agreement cannot be reached by mediation sessions between the two parents.
This is hard with the cuts
"We are moving further and further from a court-driven system of resoltion which could well result in more of the sorts of protests that we have seen." Peter Jones , a leading divorce and family lawyer told Channel 4 news about the proposed cuts to legal aid.
"Often these are the result of huge level or upset and trauma. And that could intensify amid the desperation of not being able to see your child and not having the appropriate legal assistance to find the right steps to resolve that." He continued.
A forensic phychologist, Emcee Chekwas, said that it leaves desperate fathers in a difficult situation," Presented with a platform like Fathers 4 Justice, those who are in an emotional and desperate state will be susceptible to joining their cause. But they are operating from a frustration that they don't have a voice in a system that is not recognising their plight. The unfortunate irony is that when protest reverts to criminal damage, that can affect your future and risks one becoming a bad role model for the very child that they're actually fighting for."
Father for Justice - a good thing or not?
My personal view is that they have highlighted a serieous defect within the family law of this country. It has highlighted that men are not hearless creatures who want nothing to do with their children but they care and want spend quality time with them to be able to do their best for them.
I do not support their methods and yet no one was ready to listen. It is nasty to state this, but too many woman, this is from experience and knowing people, use their children to get back at the man who left them. This is evil in my opinion but there is nothing in place to protect these children and fathers this happens to.
Men can be great parents so why do they not have a voice?
This is what any child needs in their life:
I'm not saying every dad is a great role model
I am saying that every dad deserves a chance to be one. That every dad should have the same rights to access over their children as a woman gets without question. I do not believe there is anything that proves a woman is a better parent and therefore men should get equal rights.
Woman have fought for and achieved equal rights in a lots of aspects in life, and deservably so, but why doesn't it work both ways?
My personal experience:
I am a lucky man in that I see my daughter for a large proportion of the week. In fact, away from school, I see her for half of the week. I look after her half of the school holidays and absolutely love my time with her.
This has come at a massive price though; I lost my house and everything in it. She pays the mortgage when she feels like it so this has had serious consequences where my once excellent credit rating has plummeted. And even though I look after my daughter for half the week I still have to pay her mother 10% of my wages because it is calculated on the number of nights she stops at our place (I say ours because it is my daughters house too).
I can't do anything about this situation as I know what kind of a woman she is and I know she will stop my time with my daughter. Court would cost me a fortune that I don't have and then I would only be told that I can't sell the mortgaged house because my daughter lives there even if it is not being paid for. This is the world we live in!!! A man being penalised for loving his daughter!