Society finally embracing single fathers

Sep 17, 2007 04:30 AM

Special to the Star


Just as I was beginning to think I was alone in the universe, a single dad who takes care of his child 24 hours a day, seven days a week, I find out I'm not.

Statistics Canada's newest census report states, "between 2001 and 2006, lone-father families rose 14.6 per cent, more than twice the pace of 6.3 per cent for lone-mother families." This is good news.

I say "good news" not out of any disrespect to single moms, but rather as an affirmation of Canadian family democracy in action. According to the same report, sole custody of the kids was given to the mom less than half the time (47.7 per cent).

Want some perspective? In 1980, the mom received sole custody 78.2 per cent of the time.

Let's consider the big picture: Canadian families, children and democracy.

It's impossible for a solid dad to hear the term "sole custody" and not get freaked out emotionally not a great way to set the stage for a lifetime of dialogue and co-parenting with your ex.

If the child is doing well, looks forward to spending time with dad, talks about him with enthusiasm and laughter, it's not important that he broke up with you, was a jerk about it or even that he cheated on you or took up with a younger woman. What is important is how the child benefits from his contribution.

Why have single dads so embraced this new spirit of parenting? Society has changed because it needed to change.

With single moms taking their rightful place in the workforce and handing off parenting duties to men, it didn't take long us to realize that, "Hey, I love this fathering thing."

If the old "man badge" was the 60-hour work week, the new one is defined by the hours spent showing we love our children by doing things with them.

All men have a feminine side and being single dads allows us the best outlet for it. It makes us feel whole and offers us a new and evolved way to express ourselves emotionally.

These new feelings seem so right to us, because they are right, and so we are propelled to want to take up the greatest role possible in the single-parent household.

Cynics will say that men battle for access so they won't have to make monthly support payments, but I can't believe that's what's driving the numbers associated with increased "dad participation" in the single-family household.

Instead I believe that what's happening is a manifestation of all that is good and natural fathers need to be involved big time.

Don't believe me? Ask or watch your child. They are the walking truth.