In the name of (all) the fathers

Two newspaper posters affixed to Media House on St George’s Mall in downtown Cape Town this past week drew attention to two strands of a long-overdue conversation about fathers and their role in the family. One poster announced: “Dads want more paternity leave”; the other read: “SA’s child support shame”.

Laid out starkly on the wall was a conundrum. One poster drew attention to a petition by a new father, calling for 10 days’ paid paternity leave. The other reminded us that far too few fathers are making the effort to support their children or their children’s mothers; too many fail to pay even minimal child support.

Lots of research tells us that the presence of a caring, nonviolent and supportive father is good for children and their mothers, and that it reduces a range of social problems. Men who are active and involved fathers also benefit: they’re less likely to drink or fight and more likely to report being happy and well.

Read it at the M&G.

Image – AFP