FATHERING THE FUTURE FORUM

 

 

SUMMARY OF THE FATHERING THE FUTURE FORUM HELD AT CHRISTCHURCH BOYS HIGH SATURDAY, MARCH 28 1998

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

This report is the summary of the Fathering the Future Forum held on Saturday 28 March 1998 at Christchurch Boys High School. Community workers, social workers, and educators, Members of Parliament, business people, church groups and members of the general public attended the forum. At one stage it was estimated that there were 500 people present.

 

 

THE BACKGROUND:

 

The former Commissioner for Children, Laurie O’Reilly, cared passionately about children, young people and the role of fathers in their lives.

In partnership with Save the Children Fund, Laurie O’Reilly launched a research project – ‘Fathers who Care – Partners in Parenting". The project aimed to create a substantial building block in the quest for increased knowledge of and commitment to the concept of caring fathers who are equal partners in the parenting of their children. It also aimed to identify the core messages and behaviours of quality fathering and co-parenting and to develop and provide resource kits for fathers and agencies.

In 1997 planning began for a forum to raise awareness about the importance of caring, nurturing, quality fathering and co-parenting. The Fathering the Future Forum held in Sydney 1997 was an inspiring model upon which the Christchurch event was based.

The forum was held to raise the awareness of society of the issues that fathers’ face in New Zealand society today. It also enabled interested and committed people to meet to discuss these issues and to create an environment to allow networking to take place.

The Fathering the Future forum included an added component in the form of 3 separate but complementary fora to be held on Friday 27 March prior to the main forum. The fora were:

  • Family Law Forum
  • Fathering in Different Cultures
  • Youth Forum.

Copies of the Youth Forum Report are available from the Children’s Advocate, Lyn Cambell: Phone 371-1890 email: lyn.campbell@ccc.govt.nz

 

The report from the Law Forum is attached at the conclusion of this report.

For details of the Fathering in Different Cultures Forum please contact the Race Relations Office, phone: 365-7868

 

 

THE DAY:

 

The conference opened with a welcome from Cr Garry Moore, the chair of the Steering Committee.

Roger McClay, Commissioner for Children, welcomed participants and introduced staff from his office that presented two research reports.

The Governor general, His Excellency Sir Michael Hardie-Boys, formally opened the forum.

Professor Ian pool, Director of the Population Studies Centre at Waikato University was the first keynote speaker. His speech was entitled Fathering, Families and our Future: Population Perspectives.

After morning tea, participants formed smaller groups to discuss the following issues:

Father Friendly Workplaces

Father and Sport

Fathering: A Woman’s Perspective

Image of Fathering in the Media

Fathers in Fathering Groups

Fathering in the Parenting Role

Fathering and Children’s Health

Fathering in Schools and Childcare

 

The keynote speaker before lunch was Paul Callister, researcher and father, who presented a paper entitled Pigs, Heroes or Wimps? New Zealand Fathers at the Turn of the Century.

In the early afternoon, Ian Grant, seminar leader, social commentator and community worker, spoke about: A Desperate Needs for Creative Dads.

The workshops of the morning were repeated, offering participants an opportunity to contribute in different areas.

The three fora that were held on the Friday, and the workshops from Saturday, reported back to the conference at this time. Chris O’Reilly introduced speakers who offered ‘a new voice" from each of the following perspectives: Youth, Culture and women.

Warm tributes were paid to the late Commissioner, his family and his work before Cr Garry Moore thanked participants and formally closed the conference.

 

 

QUOTES FROM THE PARTICIPANTS:

 

"Establishing a structure whereby men can play a male role in the lives of children – both their now and more particularly for fatherless children. To that end this forum can play an important role in educating men that what they do is important in children’s lives: they don’t need to be "male mothers" they have a role, both for their own children and fatherless ones."

 

 

 

"There is a danger that the true diversity of the NZ family will again be challenged as the fundamentalists and the right wing use the language of "family values" to label certain families. As Hilary Clinton said: "it’s how we value families that counts." "

 

 

"Unfortunately much of what the issues are revolves around those already upon us. This covers family breakups, ignorance of being a father, relationship building etc. It would be great to have early intervention; skill based programs that provide education of these issues. Maybe having pre-marriage input (let’s make marriages last) etc needs to happen. Do we need to commit to putting the fence at the top of the cliff rather than the ambulance at the bottom."

 

 

EVALUATIONS FROM THE FORUM:

 

 

Evaluation:

The three hundred people who attended the forum were asked to evaluate the conference. One hundred and two replies were received. The majority of these were positive, however they represent only one third of the participants.

It came across very strongly that fathers needed to talk about their specific situations before contributing to the larger issues of the conference. One suggestion was that sub groups of the conference could work at the different levels, with support and action groups to better meet the participants needs.

The evaluations make it clear that many men wanted a learning situation that taught them practical skills of parenting. While some participants wanted a more expansive and wide-ranging approach, others were at the beginning of their discovery of fathering and needed to be catered for. This could take the form of referrals to existing men’s groups and parenting courses, or specifically designed initiatives.

It was also recommended that working groups, in conjunction with the forum organiser, continue to run workshops to pick up on these areas. Activity days that subtly facilitate ‘hands on skills’ were suggested for fathers and children. Fathers want to be competent and confident in their role and need a supportive, respectful environment in which to learn both theory and practice.

Several evaluations stated that there would be consultation with children and youth at all levels because they are principle benefices.

Many evaluations complimented the forum on accurately identifying issues. These participants wanted to know what the practical outcomes would be. The previous Commissioner, Laurie O’Reilly, wished for practical beneficial outcomes from this conference also.

 

Summary from the Evaluation Sheets:

  • Usefulness of the Forum

Most people found the forum useful for a variety of reasons. Some saw it as a great networking opportunity whilst other found it informative about the issues that face fathers. There were many comments that the conference brought a sense of togetherness. Many comments reflected the overall positive feeling of the forum. Participants were relieved that at last something was happening.

  • Suggestions for Improvement

A majority of people felt that the forum was well organised and run; praise included ‘excellent’ and ‘more of these please’. Most comments were directed at the workshops. Many felt that more time should have been spent talking rather than being talked at, while some thought their opinions had not been taken on board. Several participants though that the facilitators allowed focus and concentration to be dissipated. Overall people felt the day was a success and many had been inspired.

  • Suggestions for the future

The main theme of the evaluations was that the movement had got off to a great start and how important it is to keep the momentum up. Many of the participants requested a high profile media campaign is launched to promote more positive images of fathering. There was a strong call for practical moves to be made, groups to be set up, lobbying to take place and research to be done. It was noted that there was a lack of Tangata Whenua and that in the future more involvement was vital.

  • General Comments by Participants

Many participants remarked that the day was excellent and well run but people voiced a fear that nothing would come out of it. The repeated plea was to keep the momentum going. Chris O’Reilly correctly stated that it was up to everyone as individuals to keep the momentum going by incorporating the lessons learned into their lives. There was a definite feeling of frustration that the forum was nearly exclusively white and middle class.

The following comments are those of participants from each of the conference workshops.

 

 

 

SUMMARY OF THE WORKSHOPS:

  • FATHER FRIENDLY WORKPLACES:

 

 

 

Issues and Obstacles Identified:

  • Family values are not the same as corporate values, which can make the integration of work and parenting difficult.
  • Employers need education to assist them to: understand what a father friendly workplace is, realise that assisting men to be good parents has advantages for employers such as increased employee satisfaction, increased productivity, increased respect in the community.
  • Financial pressures and employment constraints such as shift work place pressure on the family unit.

 

Recommendations

  • Employment could be based on achieving outputs, rather than working regular hours each day.
  • More employment can take place in the home rather than at a place of business. Job sharing and teleworking may be other alternatives.
  • Career businessmen might examine their own motivation for working longer hours.
  • Legislation is a useful mechanism for change and could assist families in our communities:

-Families could be treated as a single tax unit or given other incentives.

-Sick leave could be broadened to cover family needs.

  • Flexibility and fairness are needed to address employer/parent needs.

 

  • FATHERS AND SPORT:

 

 

Benefits and Obstacles

  • Fathers can be positive role models for children other than their own.
  • Sport may offer opportunities for both fathers and children to learn: participation, sharing, managing and dealing with others, and being healthy (mentally and physically).
  • It was perceived that some fathers expect too much from their children, could pass on inappropriate values, or may spend so much time on sport that other family members are disadvantaged.

 

 

 

Recommendations

  • Fathers need to find a balance between sport and the needs of their family.
  • Be willing to get involved in your child’s sport as a positive role model, emphasizing fun, skills and safety.

 

 

 

  • FATHERING: A WOMAN’S PERSPECTIVE:

 

  • We are all the products of stereotyping. We each bring our own experience to parenting however. We each have different expectations and values, which may lead to clashes and power issues.
  • Some women have conflicting expectations of fathers and some men feel vulnerable about their parenting skills as a result. Men may feel like the second parent or feel excluded by mothers.
  • The importance of: good communication, mutually understood expectations, awareness, and taking individual responsibility.
  • Be willing to make mistakes in the process of learning.

 

  • IMAGES OF FATHERING IN THE MEDIA:

 

 

Issues and Obstacles

  • The media, TV, and advertising in particular often put men down or report only the bad news. A balance is needed.
  • There is little portrayal of men as positive constructive role models in television shows.
  • Men are often seen as ‘the problem’. Some men take on personal feelings of inadequacy, guilt or victimisation and low self esteem from this attitude.

 

Recommendations

  • Consumers dictate what the media portrays. Fathers must challenge negative images, target media groups and lobby for the types of images that are beneficial.
  • The government could initiate a Fathering Champaign with a profile similar to the campaign against drunk driving.
  • FATHERS IN FATHERING GROUPS:

 

 

 

Issue and Obstacles

  • Fathers are not taught how to be with, or look after their children as they are growing up.
  • There is virtually no support or education offered fathers from childbirth onwards.
  • Men are seen as generally more isolated emotionally, either not willing or not able to network effectively.
  • Men may have difficulty reconciling the conflicting roles of nurturer and disciplinarian.

 

Recommendations

  • Men and children benefit from fathers working on good communication with ex partners.
  • Make a commitment to unconditional love of children.
  • Fathering groups work to: reduce isolation, provide a collective voice for men, provide support and ‘guilt free zones’ (these will not condone violence or abuse), and provide quality parent education courses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • FATHERING IN THE PARENTING ROLE:

 

Issues and Obstacles

  • Many men have experienced poor example of fathering from their own parent, have no access to learning environments, or ways of resolving their own past.
  • They maybe senitised by media coverage of abuse and worried about false accusations.
  • In separated families, many men feel disadvantaged by the family court process and some may opt out.
  • Many men have sexual relations with no desire for, or interest in; unintended children born form these relationships.
  • Unemployment can impact on father’s feelings of competence and involvement.
  • The breakdown of traditional types of families and support structures may create insecurity.

 

Recommendations

  • Waiting to form long term relationships and have children until the man feels ready to commit to them.
  • Men supporting each other, individually and collectively.
  • Promote/create more networking opportunities for fathers and a change of attitude that includes awareness of children in the workplace and culture.

 

 

  • FATHERS IN CHILDREN’S HEALTH:

 

 

Issues and Obstacles

  • Fathers often feel excluded by heath systems that usually deal with the mother as primary caregiver.
  • Fathers would benefit from taking more care with their own health issues, discussion and sharing of feelings. This would begin to dismantle the social barriers that often prevent children and young people taking more care.
  • Alcohol and drugs, self-esteem, and spiritual poverty were all seen as having roots in fundamental social diseases.

 

Recommendations

  • Remember the 95% of families that work.
  • The separation of children and parents, whether by death or relationship failure, needs to be regarded as health issues.
  • The poverty afflicting many single parent families was seen as a health issue.
  • Fathers attitudes need to change –‘Real men can ask for help".
  • Affirmation of the diversity of family and parenting styles may relieve stress, alleviate guilt and promote better health.

 

 

 

 

  • FATHERING IN SCHOOLS AND EARLY CHILDCARE:

 

Issues and Obstacles

  • Father friendly workplaces would allow more men to participate in early childhood.
  • More research and recognition of the different learning styles of male children.
  • Lack of role models in this area.
  • Many people would not like to see men more involved in this area because of the risk of sexual abuse.

 

Recommendations

  • Schools could be more accessible to and involving of, fathers.
  • Different learning needs and styles must be catered for.

  

 

ACTUAL COMMENTS AS TRANSCRIBED FROM EVALUATION SHEETS

USEFULNESS OF THE FORUM

-Raised new issues for people

-Highlighted the importance of the role of fathers

-Created a togetherness

-Hear specialist input

-Heard other people’s points of view

-Feeling of positivity and that something was being done.

-Helped with role as father.

-Created an awareness amongst influential people.

-Useful networking opportunity.

-Affirmation as a primary caregiver

-Sharing of experiences with fathers and policymakers

-To show other fathers who did not attend that something is happening.

-To see potential men's supports groups

-Realization that there are many issues that are not being addressed within the system.

That is the failure of schools to recognise the needs of kids.

-Experiencing the difference between rhetoric and clear thought

-A great boost for personal commitment

-Refocused my role ass a father to meet the demander of our every changing society.

-Information gained to enable practice to begin

-Identification of common goals

-Woman’s comment- insight to how difficult it is for fathers.

-Excellent starting point

Not Useful

-Doubtful that content and leadership at the forum has been useful

 

SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENTS

-Spread over two days

-Less speakers more workshops

-Practical suggestions – father training courses

-Workshop for sharing experiences

-Keynote speakers at the end of the day to keep the crowd

-Longer workshops

-Childcare provision

-Precis notes from speakers

-More cultural content

-Overheads more easily read

-More guidance on workshop structure

-Make water available

-To involve the spiritual/Christian aspect

-Provide opportunities for ordinary fathers to speak

-Produce a list of people registered

-Stronger linking with the views from the youth

-Have the social policy makers take accountability and respond to ideas for positive change.

-Workshops need to be more for the participants than the leaders

-Clearer definition of goals in the workshops

-Need ideas on how to achieve advice given.

-Focus on fathering issues – found minority groups and their issues sidetracked some discussion.

-Have keeping fathers/children safe in the forum

-Better group leaders

-Smaller groups, group process not well addressed

-Smaller events may be more suitable

-Encourage those fathers not interested to attend.

-More emphasis on success stories

-Encourage more women to attend

-Less facts and figures and more real stories

-Include topics on being a grandfather

-More down to earth grass root speakers

-No women until we are ready

-Bring in other cultural perspectives

-Women only workshops

 

 

SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE TOPICS

Support systems to help fathers do their job.

Self care strategies for fathers

Sharing fathers: for fatherless children

Disadvantaged individuals who have not had the father role model in their lives and how it has impacted on their lives; both good and bad.

Fathers and the law: Men’s rights in custodial matters.

Fathering from a Maori perspective.

Exploring more than the traditional male and female parenting role.

Fathering in separated families.

Step-fathering.

Mentoring.

Challenges and how to cope with them as a father.

What to do if you have problems, avenues of help

Perceptions of parenting

What parenting involves and what actually make a parent successful.

Fathering issues for socio economic groups at extremes of society

Gay men as fathers

Male role models for children of lesbian relationships

What is a family – deconstructing the myth of family.

Same gender partnerships and parenting

Creative ideas for fathering

The reality of poverty – financial, spiritual, emotional; - and its impacts on all families.

The role of the church in family life

Dealing with our own fathers

Fathering amongst disadvantaged people.

Violence

Co-parenting and extended families

Community Parenting and Responsibilities.

How to initiate our children into becoming adults

Men Self image – explore at depth.

Absentee Fathers – how to address legal issues

Mother-Father conflict – access problems

Look at male security in being male

Dealing with male issues so males feel comfortable with themselves so they are then able to deal with themselves.

Fathers of Special needs Children

Fathers as scapegoats

Fathers and marriage

Fathers and childsupport

 

SUGGESTIONS OF SPEAKERS FOR THE FUTURE

Ministry of Men’s Affairs

Ministers of the Crown

Steven Biddulph

Ian Grant

Prof Ian Pool

Governor General

John Cooney (Grapevine Magazine)

Trevor Wilson: Local Pastor

High profile public speakers who are supportive of the issues

Separation and Divorce – the effects on children

Women Speakers

Youth

Adrienne Burgess (UK Keynote Speaker: Men as Parents Conference, London)

Joan Kelly; USA Family Therapist and Researcher. Author of surviving the breakup.

Corporate leaders who are supporting Dads.

Promise Keepers Speakers

Bruce Logan

Judges

Lawyers

Darryl Gregory from the Waka Tapu – Cashel Street

More views from the floor

More Women from a wider diverse group.

 

SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE DIRECTION

Try to answer the concerns

Create an image of the father role for the future – the role of fathers in tomorrow’s society from a spiritual point of view rather than an economic point of view.

Regular event 3-6 monthly.

Marketing

Tangata Whenua involvement

Develop a library for free borrowing. Many who are poor need to borrow books.

Initiatives which focus on opportunities for fathers or those performing the fathering role within families to demonstrate their commitment to their children.

 

Run similar forums for Auckland and Wellington

Lobbying Government for funding to increase the profile of fathering as a key social issue.

Seek involvement of more fathers.

Introduction of the Fatherhood of God the Father, as an eternal model and initiate.

Focus must remain as a movement for the well being of children, a movement that presses for investment in New Zealand for the wealth and future of its young people.

Keep the media involved.

Discussion groups and continuous debate.

Clarify our vision for the future to ensure success.

Form a trust soon to acquire funding and resources. Have

Have a fund raising dinner later.

Invite key movers and shakers to workshops to set guidelines and boundaries and to identify key goals.

Support and initiate infrastructure to support fathers in change, towards active and caring parenting.

Make the forum accessible to all cultures, and value men as fathers and women as mothers.

Help nuture fathering groups.

Get youth involved

Run practical courses and seminars to help fathers.

Initiate fatherhood courses for school leavers

 

Provide a documentary for general TV audience

Advertising campaign.

Ensure that we build on this and not start from the beginning.

Exposure and air time for

Networking – Telephone and Address lists

Combined session with young people.

Hold the next seminar on a work day and challenge all employers to allow their staff to attend with loss of pay.

Accentuate the positive

Generate guidelines for schools and workplaces to facilitate parenting.

Include community organisations at top level.

Care taken that particular groups are not allowed to hijack the forum to push their own particular views.

Positive solution based approach.

Shifting the focus from fathers who care to fathers do care.

Publish the youth forum findings at a national level, float their ideas.

To have more regional events and more often build up a tight network which can be promoted through Media as a positive thing ‘being a father’.

Keep being visual, keep educating.

Start a series of projects based on the workshops and repeat this forum around New Zealand.

 

  

 

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE WORKSHOPS

FATHER FRIENDLY WORKPLACES

At two, well attended workshops issues were raised that will be important to all employers. The attendees at those workshops are representative of a cross-section of employers and employees. The following issues were highlighted:

 

Issues Identified:

  1. Employers need to recognise that helping the employee to be a good father is positive investment in terms of increasing employee satisfaction, increasing productivity and demonstrating to the community that you are a good employer.
  2. Family values are not the same as corporate values, which makes integration of lives difficult.
  3. Employers need to be educated in regards to what is a father friendly workplace and why it is needed.
  4. Fathers’ fear of unemployment constrains them in making a stand for greater consideration of their role.

 

Obstacles:

  1. No recognition that a good family life means good business.
  2. Time off work with kids means less money or maybe even job loss.
  3. Job sharing talked about not actioned (often too many arguments against it.)
  4. Financial pressures.
  1. Shift work can be destructive to family unit.
  2. Employer’s who are not parents do not understand.
  3. Our culture does not support positive talk of fathering in the workplace.
  4. Family values and corporate values are often different.

 

Recommendations

  1. People are more important than the task. Value our kids more than our work.
  2. Be outcome driven in a team context rather than bound by hours
  3. Employers need to be educated on the benefits of job sharing and tele-working.
  4. Employers need to be aware that two income families are often a necessity and needs to be accommodated in the workplace.
  5. Flexibility in the context of fairness is required to meet employer and employee needs.
  6. Home based business is good and positive and trending upwards.
  7. Legislation is required as one of the mechanisms of change.
  8. Sick Leave should be broadened to cover family issues.
  9. A culture change will occur through positive peer pressure.
  10. Families need to be treated as a single tax unit.
  11. Integrate family values into corporations.
  12. Exam own motives for working longer.

 

FATHERING AND SPORT

Benefits of Fathers in Sport

  1. Sense of involvement.
  2. Learn to deal with and manage others.
  3. Establish team values.
  4. Encouraged to participate.
  5. Role model for kids
  6. Healthy dads – physically and mentally.
  7. Teaches good socialisation.
  8. Can be a ‘good’ dad to other kids.
  9. Shared interest with kids.
  10. A vehicle for teaching of values.

 

 

Disadvantages of Fathers in Sport

  1. Can expect too much from children.
  2. Bad values can be picked up or passed on.
  3. Children may start to feel that sport is all they are valued for.
  4. Can take up all the father’s time.
  5. All the children in the family need time.
  6. Live their lives through their children’s.
  7. Favourtism over kids in the team.

 

Recommendations

  1. Get involved in your child’s sport.
  2. Stay involved inn your own sport as long as the family’s health doesn’t suffer.
  3. Providing the role model – positive male role model/ positive role for other children as well as own.
  4. Invest a little bit of time, often, at home, - balances a bigger time the father may spend at sport. Balance right not necessarily equal.
  5. Continue the media plan with the positive image – fun, safety and skill development.

 

FATHERING: A WOMAN’S PERSPECTIVE

We are products of stereotyping.

We bring our own experiences to parenting.

Therefore: Different expectations

Different values

Clashes/Power issues.

Women’s expectations

Provider

Nurturer

Men Feeling women feel men are inadequate- men then feel vulnerable.

Separation – court system- weighted against men.

Fatherless children – male input required.

"All men are potential abusers" If men are too close to children they are "quizzed".

Men feel the secondary parent: Women "gate keeping"

Partnership – Equal but different ways.

Importance of communication expectations.

Workplace – need for change.

Men think that women think that men won’t get it right.

Fear of failure, fear of confrontation.

Education

Awareness

Individual responsibility.

IMAGES OF FATERING IN THE MEDIA

Issues

  1. The media – especially TV, and especially in advertisements – often put men down. A balance is needed.
  2. The push for "equality" has eliminated the hierarchical role of fathers.
  3. Men are not promoted in the media as positively as are women. Reverse sexism rules.
  4. What the media portrays is up to us: the consumers.
  5. We must challenge negative images, target media groups, and lobby for positive portrayals.
  6. We must show that fathering is fundamental to society.
  7. 7. Male violence is highlighted where as female violence is not.

  8. People selectively use the media to support what they think.

 

 

Obstacles Facing Fathers

  1. Television Advertisements and sitcoms showing men as inferior idiots.
  2. Reverse sexism.
  3. Boys failing in schools – school standards?
  4. Personal feelings of victimisation and inadequacy.
  5. Me seen as "The Problem"
  6. Stereotyped image of fathers in the media.
  7. Lack of self-esteem.
  8. Media presents angles not balance.

Recommendations

1. Media will change when society changes.

  1. Adapt a dynamic relationship with the media-be creative.
  2. Parents must be the TV censors ad discuss/analyse programmes with children.
  3. Govt should put money into a positive fathering campaign as with the campaign against drunken driving.
  4. Realise the difference between information and entertainment.
  5. Fathers have to set values.
  6. Media need to take care when setting role models, such as violent sports people.
  7. Target the younger people – ‘the fathers to be’.

 

Strategies for Change

  1. Target Media groups
  2. Seek positive add campaign

 

General Comments

The process is starting – documentaries about fathering, the Laurie O’Reilly Series and advertising.

We are not at the mercy of the media.

 

FATHERS IN FATHERING GROUPS

Issues

  1. What is expected of a father is sometimes too much to action.
  2. Fathers are not taught how to be with or look after their kids as they grow up.

 

Obstacles that Fathers Face

  1. Requirement to be disciplinarian and yet to be caring and non-violent. (Children’s safety and needs paramount.)
  2. Work places lack protocols for fathering.
  3. No preparation or support offered fathers from childbirth onwards.
  4. Isolation of men and men not willing or able to network.

 

What Works

  1. Family support and good communication with ex partners.
  2. Commitment to the unconditional love of kids.

 

How Fathering Groups Can Help

  1. Reduce isolation.
  2. Guilt free zones (except violence).
  3. Men having a collective voice.
  4. Quality parent education courses available. Well coordinated.

 

FATHERING IN THE PARENTING ROLE

Issues

  1. Fathers want to be involved in stable families.
  2. Men feel excluded/rejected from parenting.
  3. Society is money driven not family driven.
  4. Bad role modeling by own father.
  5. Some fathers not intended.

 

Obstacles Facing Fathers

  1. Worries about false accusation.
  2. Legal issues (Family Courts)
  3. Image of men in the media.
  4. Bias in Children’s stories/TV Programs
  5. Unemployment
  6. Lack of men’s groups/services.
  7. Not allowed to participate properly therefore will opt out.
  8. No idea what to do.
  9. Not enough time on own with children.
  10. Problems of the past (coming to terms with own childhood/father).

 

Recommendations

  1. Parenting training for fathers (not just for birth).
  2. Deferring marriage and children.
  3. Breakdown of traditional support structures.
  4. Men sharing and supporting each other, support groups (non specific).
  5. Mentoring.
  6. Promoting of shared parenting.
  7. More networking opportunities for fathers and people working in that area.
  8. Promote change in attitudes – put children before work.

 

FATHERS IN CHILDRENS HEALTH

Issues

  1. Separation, death issues affect children’s health.
  2. Need for role models.
  3. Image of fathers in media –lack of images and positives.
  4. Lack of services for men generally – re children’s health, fathering, in forums where men feel comfortable.
  5. Spiritually – children’s handling of death.
  6. Barriers for young men about talking about feelings/emotions (wimps/heroes).
  7. Alcohol and drug issues and young men.
  8. Importance of valuing our young people.
  9. Lack of resources and services for men in a way, which is accessible.
  10. There is a narrow focus on men’s health; prostrate, testicles, anger management.
  11. Social construction of masculinity.

 

Obstacles

  1. Medical system makes people unwell, for example people are not skilled at social services. Fathering role would pick this up.
  2. Fathers have no guards against their children being abused; Sexually, mentally, physically.
  3. Poor education – poor fathering – poor education.

 

Recommendations

  1. Remember the 95% of families that work.
  2. Need to recognise that some families are not the best environment for the children.
  3. Affirmation of Diversity of families.
  4. There needs to be a father figure. This does not need to be the biological father.
  5. Need for more alternative role models.
  6. Issues of poverty in sole parenting situations need to be addressed.
  7. Affirming the success.
  8. Male role models may not need to be the mothers partner.
  9. Encourage male role models into society e.g. creches.
  10. A need for understanding of where the children come from – what is spirituality, values etc..
  11. Education for parents; mental health issues, physical health issues.
  12. Father’s attitudes need to change to ensure regular health checks. Real men can ask for help.
  13. When men ask for help the help has to be empowering.

 

 

 

FATHERING IN SCHOOLS AND EARLY CHILDHOOD

This workshop was divided into four areas; Schools, early childhood, fathers as the primary care giver and the education system as a whole.

 

Issue

Recognition of the positive role and power of fatherhood and that it is ever too late to come back into lives

  1. Need for father friendly workplaces.
  2. School should be more aware of learning behaviour of boys
  3. Opportunities for fathers to be involved in schools.
  4. Lack of male role models in schools and early childhood centres.

 

Obstacles Facing Fathers

  1. Targeting in early childhood does not focus on role of father (men not involved).
  2. Single fathers are an isolated group
  3. Attitudes of the community towards men and children.

 

Recommendations

  1. Schools should be more accessible to and involving of fathers.
  2. Boys need to receive a more holistic education.
  3. Different learning needs require recognising.
  4. Male role models need to be further broadened, clarified and increased.
  5. Personal attitude – a recognition of the power of fathering.
    • increasing though education the role, status and

trust in fathering.

  1. Community attitude – that the community recognise these same factors.

  

 

SPEAKER PROFILES

THE GOVERNOR GENERAL

Sir Michael was born, educated and practised law in Wellington, before he was appointed a Judge of the High Court in 1980. In 1989 he was appointed to the Court of Appeal and became a Privy Councillor in the same year. He has been both a member and president of the Wellington District Law Society and a council member of the NZ Law Society.

Sir Michael has always been an active member of community and church activities. Also spending time with school trust boards and the AA.

Sir Michael was knighted in 1995 and sworn in as New Zealand’s 17th governor-general on 21 March 1996.

 

 

 

PROFESSOR IAN POOL

Professor Ian Pool is the Director of The Population Studies Centre at the University of Waikato. In his 37 years of research in his speciality area of demography, Professor Pool has been involved in several international projects: 1994 at the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo. He was invited by the Minister of Science to be a member of the "Foresight Review Workshop". Over the course of his distinguished academic career, Professor Pool has published numerous books, articles and papers highlighting the demographic implications of family formation in New Zealand.

 

 

 

Paul Callister

Paul Callister is a father of a young child and a researcher. Since the birth of his daughter he has worked part-time and from home. Trained as an economist, and having spent much of his paid working life in the finance industry, in recent years he has focussed his research on changing work and family patterns in NZ. He has a particular interest in the changing roles of fathers. His research publications in include papers on men as primary caregivers, men and part-time work, men and parental leave, and a history of men’s involvement in the Playcentre movement.

 

 

IAN GRANT

Throughout his career, Ian has focussed on youth and parenting issues, as both a social commentator and community worker. Ian Grant is also the co-founder of Parenting with Confidence Inc. He has presented seminars, produced parenting profiles and manuals on parenting and marriage.

His achievements with youth in community and media projects have earned him a number of international awards: (1983 the Pater Award (best community radio program), 1984 a Gold medal at the New York Radio Festival, 1986 the International Award for Excellence in Leadership of Youth Organisation, in 1997 he became a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow.

 

 

WORKSHOPS AVAILABLE AT THE FORUM

 

Father Friendly Workplace:

This workshop can be seen as a first step in developing between businesses and their staff "Father friendly workplaces" in New Zealand. A father friendly workplace is one where an environment is created where staff can meet the expectations of their role as a father with the positive support of their employer. The issues that surround the work place and the role of father will be looked at in this workshop with the intent to build a consensus of what are the most important issues. The workshop will be run by Robert Webster, from the Christchurch Parent Centre and Peter Townsend from the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce.

 

Fathers in Fathering Group

This workshop will explore the philosophy and structure of different men’s and fathering groups, what the obstacles are faced by fathers and what can fathers groups do to help? How do you organise an effective and safe fathers group that put the well being of children as the paramount concern? How can we help fathers during the critical post separation period? The workshop will be led by Don Rowlands a family therapist, consultant for Fathers Who Care Project (Commissioner for Children) and coordinator of the Christchurch Caring Fathers Group. Don has twelve years experience in men’s work and is a shared parent of four and a step- parent. A panel from the Christchurch Group will assist Don.

 

Fathers in the Parenting Role

This workshop seeks to gather positive ideas from participants in regards to being a father. From the collective wisdom of the group we will find creative ways to become ‘Great Dads’ to match the challenges of the new millennium. We will discover ways to assist Dad becoming a great coach of family needs. The workshop will be run by Ian Grant who is perhaps best known for his role as Director of the Wellington Youth for Christ and many media projects. Ian is the co founder of Parenting with Confidence Inc. Also noted as keynote speaker for the main forum. The afternoon workshop will be run by Chris Martin, Youth Worker for Christchurch City Council Youth Entertainment Project, 4YP. Chris is also a facilitator for the GAIN Program for parents of teenagers and the teenagers.

 

Image of Fathering in the Media

There is a need for fathers to be portrayed in the media in such a way that is real and sustainable. This workshop will explore the issues faced by fathers in regard to how they are portrayed and how this portrayal reflects the values placed on fathering by society. This workshop will be run by Mike Fletcher who is currently the Managing Editor of the Christchurch Star and has worked for local and national newspapers in New Zealand and Australia for the past 37 years. He is married and is a father of three children.

 

Fathers in Sport

The workshop will look to identify the issues facing fathers in sport through two themes: effects on children whose fathers are involved in sport for themselves as players coaches and administrators, and the effects on children whose fathers are involved in children’s sport. Rod Hayes, who was formerly a New Zealand and Canterbury squash representative, will run this workshop. He currently works as a counsellor at Shirley Boys High School. He coaches and plays sport. He is a father of three girls.

 

Fathers and Children’s Health

This workshop will address the major issues relating to fathers and children’s health. It will encourage fathers to make choices about their children’s future health and look at sharing experiences and creating opportunities.

Led by Dr Pat Tuohy, Pediatrician and father of four. He is currently the Chief Advisor, Children’s Health, to Ministry of Health.

 

Fathering: A Woman’s Perspective

This workshop will explore the perspective women have in regards to what being a good father means, what women expect of men and how women can encourage men to fully embrace fatherhood.

The workshop will be run by Jane Ewin, the National Manager, Corporate & Government Relations for the Good Beginnings National Parenting Project in Australia. Jane was a driving force behind the Australian Fathering the Future Forum.

 

Fathering In Schools and childcare

This workshop will focus on formal pre-school and school education as well as child care in the less formal sense, including being the ‘AT Home Parent’ or ‘house husband’ or "him indoors". The issues surrounding these roles will be identified through sharing of experiences of ideas. Brian McNamara who is a 48-year-old part-time school teacher, Quaker and father of two daughters will run the workshop. He has been a Play Centre Supervisor and Chairman of the Marlborough REAP which provides educational help in schools and preschools to parents and the general community.

 

 

 

FATHERING THE FUTURE FORUM

THE PROGAM FOR 28TH MARCH 1998

 

 

8.00am Registration

8.30-8.40am Welcome – Cr Garry Moore

Chair of Steering Committee

8.40-9.00am Report Back from Cultural, Law and Youth Forum

9.00-9.30am Research report from the office of

the Commissioner for Children .

9.30-9.455am Opening by His Excellency, Sir Michael Hardie Boys, Governor General of New Zealand.

9.45am-10.15am Ian Pool – Keynote Speaker

Fathering, Families and our Future: Population Perspectives

10.15-10.30am Morning Tea

10.30am-11.55a.m Workshops and Strategy Planning

Father Friendly Workplaces

Fathering and Sport

Fathering: A Woman’s Perspective

Image of Fathering in the Media

Fathers in Fathering Groups

Fathering in the Parenting Role

Fathering and Children’s Health

Fathering in Schools and Childcare

12.00pm-12.30pm Paul Callister – Keynote speaker

Pigs, Heroes or Wimps? NZ Fathers at the Turn of the Century.

12.30pm-1.15pm LUNCH

1.15pm-1.45pm Ian Grant – Keynote speaker

A Desperate Need for Creative Dads

1.50pm-3.15pm Workshops and Strategy Planning

(Repeated from the morning)

3.15pm-3.45pm Afternoon Tea

3.45pm-5-00pm Workshops report back with recommendations

5.00pm-5.45pm A new voice from each of the following perspectives:

Youth, Cultural, Women, introduced by Chris O’Reilly

 

 

Fathering the Future Forum Steering Committee

Chair: Garry Moore (Councillor)

Dr Ian Hall (Principal of the Christchurch College of Education)

Derek Anderson (Chairperson of Canterbury Development Corporation)

Darryll Park (South Island Manager of Air New Zealand)

Peter Townsend (Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce)

Lyn Campbell (Childrens’ Advocate, Christchurch City Council)

Brigid Lenihan (Canterbury Development Corporation)

Don Rowlands ( Home and Family Society, and coordinator of Caring Fathers)

Janine Rogers (6A Trust)

Ivan Bolton (6A Trust)

Tanya O’Malley (Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce)

Tuck Waaka (Race Relations)

 

 

SPONSORS

 

SAVE THE CHILDREN FUND

6A TRUST

THE OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONER FOR CHILDREN

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The Steering Committee for the Fathering the Future Forum would like to thank the following organisations for their contributions and support for the forum.

 

6A Trust

Air New Zealand

Aranui High School

Christchurch Boys High School

Christchurch City Council

Christchurch College of Education

Canterbury Development Corporation

Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce

The Christchurch Star

Colville Signs

Gusto Limited Creative Consultants

More FM

The Office of the Commissioner for Children

The Press

Rangiora Print

Save the Children Fund

T & D Print

Tracey Schurink Graphics

TVNZ

White Tie Catering