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Friday, 12 June 2015

Fathers and Inequalities


The inequalities of being a father can be a controversial issue to say the least.  For years the mother has always been the favoured parent in many cases and until recently, if you didn't marry the father or they weren't on the birth certificate they had hardly any rights.  By now, you would think that things would change and I am surprised at how many cases I have heard were there is still discrimination.

I don't think anyone can deny that there are good parents out there: male and female, just as there are the not-so-good parents, and even damn right evil parents too.  I don't think that the sex of a person can define if they are a good parent or not, but I do find it bizarre that the fight for equality amongst men and women doesn't necessarily continue in the court room as a judge could rule either way.

Obviously from my own point of view, I am a woman.  I have carried three children, but that doesn't give me the authority to treat my little people as property and have total control - I wasn't the only one there when they were conceived believe it or not it takes 'two to Tango' as the saying goes.  It makes me cringe when people are so narrow minded to think 'I carried that child it's mine' as I am a believer that anyone (who is able to) can carry a child, yet it takes so much more to be a Mum.  I don't have any resentment that my husband didn't carry our children, in fact it was such an honour to have this little person growing inside you, kicking you, that you know you will love forever, unconditionally.  The father on the other hand, misses out.  I was supported well, but I am sure that if my other half had the opportunity to carry one of our children he certainly would have done this.  So unless he had done something that made him a bad father, I would never treat him like this just because I carried the children.

I think about the rights women have fought for: the right to vote, the right to be paid the same, the right to do a manual job like bricklaying, or engineering.  When I go for a job, damn right I expect to get paid the same money as a man doing the same job!  Do I expect the other half to chip in looking after the children and do some of the housework? Damn right, I do, I am not a maid!  In our house we look after each other because we are all equals.

I believe in equal rights for women but in order to believe this, I have to believe in equal rights for men too, otherwise I would truly be contradicting my own beliefs.

If we consider that we have two really good parents, and they split up.  Who gets custody?  Well, there are no rights and wrongs - it's usually the person who leaves the house, so let's say it's the father who leaves the house for the sake of this post (OK so a little cliche but this is a typical example), at what point does the parent with custody (the mother) decide they have sole control over that child and why would they think that?

I want to raise awareness through this post because I think, if both are deserving and have the child's interests at heart, then both parents deserve to have equal rights over their child and if one refuses the other for no reason, just out of sheer bitterness, they should be penalised.  When do these 'good' parents decide to be 'bad' parents and use their child as a weapon?  My heart breaks for the little person in the middle of it all who wants both parents and sees this happening.

I was surprised at the large amount of inequalities and I have read some really sad stories on the Internet in which the father has done everything correctly yet continues to be controlled by their ex through the child because they have to bend to the needs of the mother (not the child), and then the mother remains awkward, refuses to negotiate so the judge then rules in their favour anyway.  If we committed a crime, and refused to do what a judge advised then we would face prison.  I struggle with the lack of standardisation in the courtroom in relation to this - the judge is a judge, not God, and needs to take everything into account.  I know some of the reasons given is that the child is settled and they don't want to unsettle them, but they are only settled because it takes so long to build a case and actually get to court.  Children get unsettled but they soon settle.  They settle into nursery, into school, into childcare, into a new house, if they get a new sibling or step parent - they adapt, so why aren't they allowed to settle into having a fair relationship with both parents?

A custody battle I am aware of happened many years ago,  and on this occasion the mother harmed the child, and the child was given to the father every time the mother was put into hospital and treated for mental health issues, yet immediately given back when she came out.  The child was backwards and forwards yet nobody wanted to award custody to the father and they kept consulting with the mother - who hardly bothered turning up to court.

It shocks me that I still read similar cases when people have posted their stories in forums.  If this was the other way round, would the father have ever been allowed to see their child again after the first occasion?

It's 2015, and equality is everything, people don't like to think they are being treat unfairly yet it's astounding that so much inequality goes on - and I am not just referring to this particular topic.  I know some excellent mothers, and I also know some excellent fathers.  I also know the total opposites who I personally feel don't deserve their children!  Some of you will be mothers and feel that your child's father is useless and just lets your child down, and some of you will be fathers and feel that your child's mother is useless and just lets your child down - I'm not singling out a person because of their sex, because our sex doesn't define whether you are a bad or good parent - it's the love, time and how you behave towards your children that define your parental abilities.

I like to think that I am fair - so I am not saying this applies to every case I am just generally talking about good fathers and good mothers - both equally as capable, yet the father doesn't have as many rights simply because they are the father - nothing else.

After giving my opinion and experiences in this post, it's now time to pass this over to you, my readers.  What do you think about inequalities of fathers in parenthood - do you believe they exist still?  Remember if you truly disagree with the inequalities posed on 'good' fathers just because of their sex, then you must also believe the same for the mother.  Maybe you want to share your experience, mother or father, about the troubles you have had? Do you feel you have been discriminated against because you are a mother or a father?  Maybe you think I'm totally wrong and think that mothers should have overall rights and be able to control what visitation happens to the father!  How do you feel about the child stuck in the middle of it all?

Please comment, share your experience, and debate if you like - but have respect for others and their opinions.  This post promotes equality and everyone is entitled to their opinion provided they give it in a respectful way.  This is a very controversial issue as we all have different beliefs and experience so keep it clean.

Laters, Janet :)



3 comments:

  1. keeping the house as any stay at home. I would think though even with what we read about these custody cases we are reading from one side of the story and we do not know the other side at all other than what was written by the author. I would be able to make a better judgment call if I knew both sides of the story and the court proceedings. Still to much information missing. Thank you for sending this though it is very thought provoking :)

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  2. Something happened there! a whole line went missing.
    I am not sure where I stand on this as I have been the stay at home since 2007 and I work from home as well as keeping the house as any stay at home.

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    1. Thanks for your comments. I think it's really hard if it's something you have never been involved in. I haven't experienced this myself and it's always good to consider both perspectives. It's certainly important to be objective! I once had friends who went through a difficult time and there was certain situations that happened when I agreed with both - they both had a point. Thanks for stopping by, Janet :)

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