At our International Women's Day conference, we heard from Aviva who have launched a group-wide policy to offer men and women equal parental leave. Parents employed by Aviva will be eligible to the same amount of paid and unpaid time off, regardless of gender. We at Fathers Network Scotland are campaigning for an individual right to equal parent leave for both mums and dads, so we were keen to hear from a father who has experienced this. Matthew Kennedy is an Aviva employee from Glasgow and we asked him about his six months' paid parental leave.
So, what's the big deal? Dad get two weeks of leave when he has a new baby. That supports mum through her recovery and gives him a chance to bond with baby, right? Not really. We believe that dads, children, mums and families require so much more. That's why we're so passionate about more accessible parental leave and flexible working for fathers.
You may see the #TimeToTalk hashtag popping up in your social media feeds this week, as campaigners rally behind Time to Change. The organisation aims to challenge the stigma around mental health and get people talking about how they're really feeling. So this week we're paying particular attention to Birth Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which can have a devastating impact on both mums and dads.
The Scottish Government has funded us to increase the understanding by practitioners and NHS maternity staff of dads’ perinatal mental health, and the impact that it has on children, mums and families. We’ll provide training for midwives and health visitors in Fife, North Lanarkshire, Lothian, Tayside and Greater Glasgow, so that they feel confident to check in with dads during their family visits.
Have you got a new baby this Christmas? Huge congratulations. Are your friends and family telling you what a wonderful time it must be for you? Had you imagined a magical, cosy Christmas? If your first festive season as a family isn't everything you thought it would be, then you're not alone. Richard tells us his story and explains why you shouldn't feel disappointed or beat yourself up if this Christmas isn't all sparkles and smiles.
Although Christmas is meant to be a happy and joyful time, that isn't how everyone feels right now. Christmas can be stressful, especially for families with small children. David Waine is a fitness coach, personal trainer, nutrition consultant and dad to two little boys. He tells us about his own experiences of low mood and stress and the tactics he feels have helped him to boost his mental and physical health.
In his final blog as FNS Head of Communications, NICK THORPE reflects on four and a half years of cultural change and collaboration.
IN my freelance work as a coach, I am privileged to hear the thoughts and struggles of many fathers.
Almost without exception, they are seeking help in negotiating a transition from the life they thought they were supposed to live, to a newer more congruent fit with who they really are - which usually involves enjoying more quality time with their children.
Gone are the days when many dads missed their children’s births. In fact, as ADRIENNE BURGESS told the recent Fathers Network AGM, modern dads are overwhelmingly present throughout the perinatal period – and viewed as important assets by forward-thinking services.
A QUICK quiz for International Men's Day: what percentage of dads in Scotland do you think are present at the birth of their children?
Given the stories we’re fed by certain elements of the media about single mums or feckless dads, you might be forgiven for guessing significantly lower than the figure our survey of Scottish dads revealed earlier this year:
97 per cent. Surprised?
Dads are currently only entitled to one or two weeks’ statutory paternity leave - and today in a debate in Scottish Parliament, FULTON MACGREGOR and a range of MSPs from across party lines called for more generous provision and an end to inequality.
Below is the opening speech offered in support of the motion that the Parliament:
- believes that challenging the presumption that women are primarily responsible for raising children is key to tackling wider societal inequality, including the gender pay gap
- notes international research showing a link between increased paternity leave and a range of positive outcomes, including greater maternal wellbeing and reduced incidence of postnatal depression
- understands that some employers offer enhanced leave or pay, including the Scottish Government, which offers staff four weeks’ paternity leave on full pay, and notes the view that families across Scotland, including in the Coatbridge and Chryston constituency, would benefit from such practices being adopted by other employers.
CASE STUDY: In an update on our Cattanach Trust-funded projects, CHRIS MIEZITIS hears how green-fingered dads have found their parenting confidence growing alongside their vegetables at Kirkcaldy’s Cottage Family Centre.
NOT long after they started their Dads’ Project in 2010, workers at Kirkcaldy’s Cottage Family Centre began to notice something magic happened when men went outdoors.
Perhaps it was getting involved in earthy tasks with their children, or freedom from the eye-contact of a formal assessment – but somehow the act of planting and weeding the vegetables together opened up conversations that would have struggled to flourish indoors.