Dads across Scotland are spending as much time with their kids as they were during lockdown, but are feeling the strain caused by firms lacking family friendly policies.
New research by Fathers Network Scotland has found two-thirds (67%) of dads are spending 10 or more hours per week playing or supporting their children’s learning, increasing to more than 80% with children under 3.
This represents an increase of 13% since November 2021, and almost the same as during the 1st lockdown (68%).
Dads from the most deprived areas of Scotland are spending more time with their children than those from the most privileged. The most popular activities were being outdoors, playing or participating in sport and hanging out together.
One dad said:
“As much as it is time consuming, every minute is amazing. Small things like playing in the garden are so underrated.”
“We love camping, gardening and dog walks. Taking my wee one to my home gym (she loves practising how to workout), reading bedtime stories.”
But while Dads now have more focus on their families, they feel they are struggling to strike the right work-life balance.
Cathy Sexton, Director of Fathers Network Scotland, commented:
“Dads up and down the country are giving their all for their kids and for their employers and unless we take action, something will have to give.
“The evidence from our report suggests that, sadly, what will give is either their relationships or their mental health.
“This can’t be allowed to happen.
“We need to support all families right from the start and two weeks paid paternity leave weeks is simply not enough. It is bad for parents, bad for children and bad for society.
“We desperately need the UK government to extend and enhance paternity leave so that dads can afford to take the time to support their family and develop close nurturing relationships with their newborns.
“But employers also have a role to play and there is no need for them to wait for the Government to enhance their paternity leave provision.
“Although it is encouraging to see more employers adopting family-friendly flexible policies, the culture within workplaces still often assumes that mum is the primary caregiver. This is unfair to both mums and dads and employers need to realise that to get the best from their workforce they need to support all parents and caregivers equally.”
The full report can be read online: https://www.fathersnetwork.org.uk/dads_survey_2022