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Christian charity calls for more help to strengthen father-child bonds

38% of mothers polled by Action for Children said they have a tighter bond with their kids than their partner does.

Only 20% of fathers said the same.

The charity's spokesman, Eben Marks, told Premier why it thinks this is the case: "It still tends to be women who take more time off after the birth of a child. Men are more likely to keep working and have difficulty getting time off to spend with their children.

"It may be in some families that the father feels like he doesn't know as much or can't do as much with the children."

But between the mothers and fathers who were polled nearly half (47%) agreed that services for new and expectant parents do not offer enough support specifically for fathers.

Mr Marks says this could be having a negative impact on relationships between fathers and their children.

"That may be coming through and affecting dads' knowledge and confidence to prepare them for the birth of a child."

For this reason, Action for Children believes the problem needs to be addressed.

"It's important to make sure that the services and the sources of information are there and to make it easier for dads to find them.

"Also men have to be encouraged to come down to children's centres, where they can spend time with their kids around other dads, share knowledge and start to build up those friendships with people who have may already have children and can pass on information to them."

Action for Children has fathers groups at some of its 200 centres in England.

One user is Manni, who has been bringing his two children along in the West Midlands for eight years.

"If we were at home the kids might be playing in one room or watching TV whilst I am doing some jobs around the house, but [at the Action for Children centre] we spend quality time together where there's no distractions.

"It's a great way to start the weekend."

The charity believes strong relationships between children and their fathers have deep, long term benefits.

Eben Marks told Premier: "Partly it is about enjoying the good times together. But they are also important for making a family resilient for when there are bad times.

"They encourage families to share and confide in one another and be ready for when the issues that can affect any family come up.

He says the responsibility to build stronger children-father bonds is shared.

"It is between fathers themselves, public services and employers taking seriously what it means to become a father and making sure they are allowing their male employees the time they need to do that."

Listen to Premier's Alex Dibble speaking to Eben Marks here:

By Alex Dibble

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