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Childwatch says fathers denied role in raising children

Father figure: the role of fathers is crucial but often dismissed, according to experts (Photograph supplied)

Children who are raised without a father figure are more likely to end up in jail, according to a pressure group.

And Eddie Tavares, the head of Childwatch, said that money spent on incarcerating inmates would be better spent encouraging fathers to play an active role in their children’s lives.

Mr Tavares claimed that fathers were often criticised for being absent, without any attempt to understand the reasons why.

Mr Tavares said: “It is well known that more than 90 per cent of Bermuda’s inmates come from father-absent homes. The question is, why?

“Why hasn’t there been an outcry for change to address these injustices to these inmates and children? One would think that those in position of change would hastily do right by addressing these situations and saving these lives.

“Further, it would cost considerably less to government, as funded by the taxpayers, than paying thousands of dollars in housing, feeding, rehabilitating and caring for these inmates while incarcerated.

“Money is better spent by further enhancing the lives of these unfortunate humans, mostly caused by the injustices done to them.”

Childwatch has been working with author and researcher Margaret Giloth to understand the impact of father absence syndrome.

Ms Giloth said: “There does not appear to be an understanding and prioritisation of the father absence syndrome. If society viewed this matter from a compassionate perspective, then I would venture to say that we would see different outcomes.

“And the tragic reality is that, once again, Blacks are the highest number in these statistics in the United States. Sadly, the same can be said for Bermuda, where Blacks are disproportionately at greater risk of poverty, more likely to have behavioural problems, more likely to go to prison, more likely to drop out of high school, more likely to become pregnant as a teen, more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.

“I’m wondering if our present elected government, with a clear majority of power for the next five years, can make the matter of care for children who are being raised without the nurture of a meaningful father or a father figure a priority on its already busy agenda, because, if we agree that Bermuda’s social ills are in sync with the United States’ grim statistics related to father absence, then we just may have some hope of effecting change for the generations to come.”

Mr Tavares also quoted psychologist Linda Neilsen, who stated that mothers often blocked fathers from playing an active role in parenting.

Dr Neilsen said: “In most families, mothers are the gatekeepers who determine how involved the father is allowed to be in their children’s lives. As the gatekeeper, she can either open or close the metaphorical gate between the father and the children.

“The more she opens the gate, the stronger the children’s ties can become with their dad. When mothers close the gate, they are hoarding the parenting rather than sharing it with the father.

“Fathers and daughters start out with a disadvantage in part because our society idealises mothers in ways that undermine the father-daughter bond. Media, commercials, children’s story books, TV sitcoms and films generally portray mothers in more favourable ways.

“Compared with dads, moms are more unselfish, understanding, sympathetic, insightful, trustworthy, and self-sacrificing. Even Father’s Day cards often make dad look like a moron compared to mom. Indeed, you will have a hard time finding Mother’s Day cards that make women look as incompetent and insensitive as fathers.”

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Published June 18, 2022 at 7:50 am (Updated June 18, 2022 at 7:45 am)

Childwatch says fathers denied role in raising children

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