Tuesday, 11 June 2013

How Important is a Father Figure?

There was a report released yesterday that shows that over one million primary age school children are growing up without a father, and the number of single parent families is growing at a shocking rate. I appear to have becoming a regular on my local BBC radio Leicester and yesterday's discussion was on the topic of "is having a dad important"?

You can listen to my part of the discussion here; it starts  from 8 minutes and 20 seconds into the show.

Whilst in an ideal world a child would have both its mother and father living in the same home as each other, this is no longer happening as often as I personally would like. My mother and father separated when I was little and to be honest I don't really remember much of what happened or even questioning what was happening at the time. As the years passed of living just with my mother and having weekend stays with my father, my mother got re-married to my step father.

I feel very very blessed to have not just one, but two fathers, and I definitely feel that they both enriched and shaped my life. I look back now and realise that it could not have been easy for my step father to take on my mum knowing she had 2 daughters, but he did and has always treated us as his own. I always had a very special closeness to my step father's mother, Nana Sheila as I called her. Unfortaunately she passed away when I was 10 weeks pregnant with Ruby and is the reason why Ruby has Sheila as one of her middle names.

Nana Sheila and me on my wedding day

Having two fathers has been amazing, one is very into technology and computers, and the others is more hands on and practical, and particularly useful for helping with the DIY, and offering gardening advice.

My wedding posed some very difficult decisions as to what to do and who to give me away and write the speeches etc, however after a lot of careful consideration my father walked me down the aisle; nobody gave me away as I felt it was important that I gave myself to be married to Phil. I involved my step father who walking out the church as part of the procession whereas my father did not.

I feel that it is very important to have a father figure in a child's life; it doesn't necessary have to be a biological father or step father, but a male who is a good role model. I believe that for a son it helps them to learn how to treat a women, and for a daughter I believe that she looks at the qualities seen in her father for her future husband.As a mother, I really value Phil's input into our daughters upbringing as he is able to bring different qualities to the ones that I bring to our parenting.

I appreciate that not everyone has a positive experience when it comes to keeping a partner in a child's life, and I believe that the vast majority of single parents do a wonderful job at parenting their children despite being in difficult circumstances. I can only imagine how difficult it is to bring up a child on your own.

Looking back I feel very privileged to have had two father figures in my life and I am blessed that Ruby and Lottie have such a wonderful and caring daddy.