Is it time to ban Father’s Day? tweeted the deluded Good Morning Britain TV team. With a rise in single-parent, blended and same-sex families, they suggested it was time to get more inclusive and appreciate parents all year round.
No, came back my co-ed @LPerrins as quick as a flash – but it is definitely time to ban stupid attention-seeking polls by GMB.
She is right. It’s also time for PC TV presenters who preach one thing and do another to take their heads out of the sand about society’s need for fathers – as fathers, not just as mothers’ ‘shared paternal care’ child care substitutes. Piers Morgan, Susanna Reid, Ben Shephard, Charlotte Hawkins, Sean Fletcher and Kate Garraway should all know.
The twice-married Piers Morgan is the proud father of four, and I’d be surprised to find he took his paternal duties lightly. Reid, mother of three sons, though separated, still lives (according to Wiki) in the same house as their father. Ben Shephard is the married father of two sons. Charlotte Hawkins is also married with a child. Likewise Sean Fletcher is married and a proud father of two. Twice-married Kate Garraway is the mother of one.
Clearly they all believe in the active and ongoing presence of fathers. Each of them set that commitment in stone with their marriages, some twice. For even if divorced, a married father retains rights and duties vis-à-vis his children – albeit not as many rights as some would wish.
If they know this, as I do, why do they pretend that all-singing-all-dancing lifestyles from which traditional fathers are absent should be a cause of celebration? Why are they trying to be ‘inclusive’ when they are so different? What a patronising and hypocritical stance they are taking.
Or perhaps they were ’triggered’ by the head of the Family Division of the High Court, Sir James Munby, who a couple of weeks ago declared the collapse of the nuclear family was to be applauded and welcomed. Pity they didn’t read my blog to see how deluded he was.
I would not have thought Piers Morgan would have needed to.
Perhaps it takes being a widow to understand the void left in children’s lives by their father’s absence. It can’t be filled and it never is. It is bad enough for children whose father dies to grow up without his presence, and the guidance and the security that offers. I can hardly begin to imagine how it must be to know you have a father but that he has never taken an interest, never been there for you or that your mother hates him. My suspicion is that absence of interest and commitment is worse psychologically than for the bereaved child who at least knows he officially has a father.
Good Morning Britain should make no mistake about this. Fatherlessness is not good – children suffer from the consequences of lack of parental commitment. What Piers and Susanna and the rest of the team need to examine, for all the ups and downs in their own lives, is just why they have stuck with the traditional ‘responsible’ route to parenthood that maintains the father’s presence? They must know why – that it is the intelligent and kinder and, yes, more responsible choice for themselves and their children.
Ever-present and committed fathers are the glue that holds society together. Mothers need their support and protection for themselves as well as for their child. The fact is that single mothers are 40 per cent more likely to suffer depression than married mothers. Good Morning Britain needs to forget about stigma and start thinking about loneliness and lack of intimacy and security. ‘Social’ support never compensates for that, which comes from a man, one man – your child’s father.
This is what rebounds on the children. It is hard bringing children up on your own. It takes a lot of strength never to have the other partner in their creation to turn to at night; always to know that the adage ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ is never going to apply to you.
If Good Morning Britain can’t address the real problem, which is fatherlessness due to the collapse of the family and that nearly three million children and up to two million mothers are affected, then it is not Britain they need to wake up in the morning but themselves.
Never were fathers more needed. Never was there a time that we needed to acknowledge fathers and fatherhood more. Children need fathers. Fathers need to get their status back, not have it taken away. So how about starting by acknowledging just how important they are?