As a dad, I know I’m not alone in having had some unfortunate experiences with health professionals over the years. Unfortunately it comes with the territory, especially when you’re a stay at home dad and so vaccinations and check-ups etc. are largely down to you to arrange.
Three occasions immediately spring to mind. One was the time I took my daughter to see the GP and she informed me I must be “babysitting.” Another time I took my youngest to have some inoculations and the nurse started physically looking round the room for my wife.
I was also completely ignored, as in not even looked at or acknowledged, by two different hospital sonographers during my wife’s last pregnancy. I found these instances particularly charming.
In isolation, these are petty events that are easy to shrug off. This constant drip, drip, drip however, often leads to men feeling isolated as parents and questioning their abilities.
In response to this, The Fatherhood Institute, in collaboration with the global campaigning charity MenCare, has produced a series of resources aimed at health, education and social care professionals. Given the collective title Bringing Fathers In, the resources are designed to help and encourage professionals to be inclusive of fathers and they have a very simple message; dads do matter.
One of these resources, a factsheet about reducing violence in children’s lives, is being officially launched today. This has been arranged to coincide with the International Day to Eradicate Violence Against Women (also known as White Ribbon Day).
Fatherhood Institute joint chief executive Adrienne Burgess said; “Fathers’ impact on health, education and other aspects of wellbeing is enormous, across countries and cultures. Whether a mother has a professionally-attended childbirth, a child’s likelihood of being vaccinated and of making good progress in language development, can depend hugely on fathers’ attitudes and behaviour. By working creatively with men we can harness ‘dad power’ for the good of everyone.”
The Bringing Fathers In resources take a number of different forms. There are factsheets, research summaries and free online information. Factsheets include;
• Making the most of fathers to… Improve maternal and infant health
• Making the most of fathers to…Reduce violence in children’s lives
• Why paternity leave matters for young children
• Making the least of fathers- Five common mistakes
• Making the most of fathers- Five ‘best practice’ tips
• Ten top tips for attracting fathers to programmes
• Advocating for involved fatherhood- Reflections for advocates and
• Father-inclusive evaluation- reflections for researchers & program designers.
Gary Barker, International Director of Promundo, which coordinates the Men Care global fatherhood initiative, added: “There is a slow but very real revolution going on in many parts of the world in terms of men’s participation as involved fathers. These resources are a tremendous asset to the program staff and governments around the world who are working to make equitable caregiving and father involvement a universal reality.”
All the Bringing Fathers In resources are available by visiting the Fatherhood Institute website.