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Could we have someone from Families Need Fathers on for a live chat?(2 Posts)
I run an FNF group and I think I'm quite balanced and believe that compromise is the only way.
I read a post on this forum recently that was written by a solicitor and she said something about taking FNF seriously only once they criticise fathers who do not take their responsibilities seriously and I thought it might be good place to discuss this as the member above has asked for interaction with FNF.
I attended the Central London Branch of FNF for about 1 year when I was going through difficulties trying to see my child, and they offered me so much support and advice but one thing I really respected them for was their ability and willingness to openly criticise, to their face, fathers who approached the issue with the wrong attitude e.g. wanted to prove something by taking the fight to their ex, not really wanting to be a part of their children's lives but just wanting to make sure they stopped their child's mother etc. I remember a gentleman being told quite strongly, in front of a large group, that 'we are here to encourage and support 2 parents raising a child, and you are not telling us that that is what you want so we can't really help you.' You see, fathers like those ones really make it tough for the ones who are genuine, and there are loads who are genuine.
The Central London Branch is probably one of the busiest of all and there honestly weren't that many like him. Most just wanted a relationship with their children and their expectations were quite reasonable.
What I'm saying is that the dodgy ones, the ones who came and talked rubbish were dealt with quite quickly. I can't comment on any other organisations but that has been my experience of FNF and I now run my own branch in a similar way. I offer support during a very difficult time and I help men (and sometimes women) to get the advice and legal help they might need, but I always look for the peaceful answer first as, ultimately, that is the best way our children will have a good chance in life - with a mum and dad who are both willing to compromise and accept that it's not all easy or as we want it to be. I'm not stupid and have met lots of parents going through separation and there is rarely a mum and a dad who completely focus on what is best for their children. Both can be terrible in such situations and once a legal process starts, it's really tough for both and each goes into defense mode, but there is light at the end of the tunnel if one's motives are good and one's conduct reflects that.
Also, I don't think 50/50 is necessarily the right way to go as it's not always the best thing for the child but Shared Residence isn't about 50/50 - it's about the child knowing it has 2 parents who are raising it together, even though they are apart, and each parent doing their best. They have 2 homes and 2 lots of big love. If parents cooperate, we will raise happier and more balanced children. Where they can't, then a minimum of courtesy and respect for eachother is essential.
It works for us, now that all the legal stuff is out of the way, and my child really is better off for it.
Declaration of interest - I like Families Need Fathers and was a member for a few years.
When I was a member, I found FNF's approach very balanced and one that came from a point of compromise and, as much as possible, non-antagonistic. But I know not everyone sees FNF in that light and I've seen some accusations on mumsnet about FNF's aims that have caused me pause for thought.
I think a webchat with FNF about both the goals of the organisation and also about child residency and contact in general could be very interesting.
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