Sunday 17th June 2018 will be Father’s day, a day when a great number of Dads will be looking forward to celebrating their role as a Father.
Historically and traditionally, Fathers have always played an important role in family life, often known as the ‘head of the household’, the ‘master of the house’, the ‘matriarch of the family’, or for some families; the ‘main breadwinner’ when the Mother would stay at home to look after the children. However, over the past few decades, a great number of Dads have become ‘stay at home Dads’ who solely provide the day to day care for any dependent children of the family and this number is on the rise.
It has been said that the main reasons for the rise of the ‘stay at home Dad’ is that over recent years, more women have taken on higher paying jobs or career paths. In many instances, women are now able to earn more than their partner can. In circumstances like this, it often makes financial sense for the other parent to stay at home to look after the children. Another reason is that owing to the current economic climate; a number of people may not be able to find jobs, and because of this, some Fathers are unable to find work, or are not able to work and will stay at home to look after the children of the family while the Mothers go out to work.
Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that last year, 201,500 single Dads stayed at home to look after their dependent children, an increase of 30,000 from 2014. Sadly, according to the report, the reason behind some Dads staying at home to care for their children is because they were a widow and that 39% of the 30,000 single ‘stay at home Dads’ did so, because of a divorce or relationship break up.
Debbie Hillman from Charity Kent Family Mediation Service says, “The past decade has seen a sharp increase in the number of family breakups. Now, as many as one in three children will see their parents separate before they have reached the age of 15. As a long-standing family mediation service, we have seen the number of referrals that we receive rise sharply over the past three years. We receive mediation referrals from parents, grandparents and other family members who need help with family disputes following a relationship split, an impending divorce, or a family separation. The types of cases that our family mediators can help with include finances, property, pensions, and disputes over the family home, but the majority of the cases that our family mediators see involve children.
Debbie explains, “Family mediation is the family courts preferred way of dealing with family disputes, as it is quicker and cheaper than going down the legal route, particularly if one or both of the clients are eligible to claim Legal Aid, which entitles that person to free mediation. With a high success rate, family mediation also offers a more amicable route to a achieving a workable resolution that meets everyone needs, especially those of any children”. Debbie points out that every mediation case is different and that therefore each agreement reached, is unique to those clients individual set of circumstances. For instance, one way of resolving a dispute of contact over children could be by way of a ‘shared parenting agreement’ between both parents, where the child spends an equal amount of time with both parents, however this type of arrangement may not work for another family and further options would need exploring. Debbie urges anyone who finds himself or herself in a situation where they have reached a position where they feel unable to find an amicable way forward, not to give up hope and to try family mediation before they do anything else.
Kent family mediation service has mediation centres across Kent. Make a referral to arrange a mediation appointment.