Well this post is in response to so much I have experienced personally as a mother denied access to my youngest son and also trying to support the two children who live with me, one a 17 year girl making her way in life and one a 20 "boy" with Downs Syndrome.
There are many on here both men and woman who have had traumatic problems as a result of divorce and the financial implications of that.
I am sort of wondering whether it would not be more apt for Families Need Fathers to be renamed as Children need Parents.
The reason is when an adult relationship breaks down where possible the best solution is a Clean Break and for neither party to have to look after the other spouse either as a type of legally sugar Daddy or sugar Woman.
There is always a duty of care to the children.
The recent post about Children being hit by a wooden spoon really highlights that - that a decent father and a decent step parent are doing their best in duty of care without, it appears to me, completely excluding the mother from her responsibilities but mosting the childrens rights to access not only to decent and safe parenting but also access to both their birth parents.
This is important to me as although all our three children were abused by their father (and the eldest very seriously so I do not ever let him go there anymore - not because the NSPCC told me I could be charged with child abuse if I let it but because I believe I am a decent and caring parent and in any case my son doesn''t want contact he is terrified not only of his ex-father but also the step mother).
I suppose what I am trying to say is it is not families that need fathers (family life breaks down and then a husband leaves - the husband is not a father to the wife - both should be grown ups). It also works the other way round.
I absolutely adore my stepson. I have watched him grow from a very young child into the delightful boy he is now. I have seen the traumas he has been through regarding his parents divorce, I have seen the emotional abuse inflicted upon him by his mother making him choose between his parents and the pressure put on him to support her in all the decisions she made. (Have any of you tried to have a conversation regarding the division of assets and pension sharing with an 8 year old), well his mother did in very graphic detail and then we had to explain, repeatedly, that this wasn''t something he should be party to and we were not going to discuss details with him, all he wanted to know was why was daddy keeping money from mummy and making her suffer (the words put in his mouth by mother). We have had to constantly pick up the pieces for this child and nurse him back to some kind of normality for a young child every time we had him it was ''damage limitation'' time again. Abuse comes in all forms not just wooden spoons and because we have been very supportive, fair and consistent with him he is truly turning out to be a wonderful boy. Obviously some credit to mother too as it takes both parties to parent although she still plays games with his emotions but he is finding better ways of coping and talks to us endlessly about how he is feeling which is an openess we have worked hard for. I would have him fulltime in an instant as I do think he would not have the every day pressures put on him and could just be a child, but because she is not beating him senseless everyday there is no way we could make a serious application for residence, even though the emotional and pyschological damage can be just as harmful. We are his escape and as he gets older he will make the choices himself. With the balance provided by his dad maybe, just maybe, this little fella will turn out to be a mighty fine big fella.
I do agree that children need families but think the term Families need Fathers is both misleading and also too restrictive.
Quite often (sorry to be sexist but usually a father) just absenses himself from family life leaving the mother to cope wth the children on her own.
Equally (might get shot here) women choose to take the decision to have children (well men could prevent it also) and then either force a man to become a parent/father or choose not to live and co-habit with that person. The effect for the child whatever is the same that their family life is much reduced - sometimes for the better - better to live in peace than in a violent home - sometimes for the worse.
Potentially the worst of all worlds is that a child or children have to go into care. I have a personal perspective on that as my Dad was forced into care many years ago when his parents fell out, his Dad couldn''t cope (so he left the family home) but before he did that he took my Dad (who was then 7) and his younger sister (who was just 4) and put them in childrens homes.
Neither his sister or he ever saw his father again and the older girl (who was at the time 13) stayed with their Mum just a few miles from the boys home and the girls home (both siblings were segregated) and never once visited either of them during the entire time they were in care.
In those days the care system was not what it is today. I do have a friend (now 59) with whom I have discussed at length what it was like for him to be in care. In his situation his mother died and his father ran off - he did see him occasionally.
He told me that his experience of the home was good (not for my Dad he told me he jumped the wall every Friday night and did not return to the home until Sunday because the home was not a safe place to be at the weekend - read into that what you like but I know what I think especially as in the entire time I grew up he hardly ever touched me always fearful that he was doing wrong).
My friend who had a good experience of the home said that the staff were great and that their was a huge family system of friendship with the people in care.
He also told me however that their was also a bullying system in place and that it was not the staff anyone feared but some of the older children (some of whom had left) who used to prey on the younger more vulnerable kids in there.
I have experience of attending the Freedom Programme a programme run by charities to support people either suffering from or overcoming Domestic violence.
It wasn''t that long ago that I attended (referred by the Police so they did their job) but at that time it was only available for woman. That has now changed and the Freedom programme is now available for men also - which I definitely agree with and think also that some of the discussions that can be had (it was group therapy and discussion based) must be enriched by having attendence of both sexes.