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Entries in GUS (1)

Thursday
Feb212013

Growing Up in Scotland study reveals exclusion of some fathers 

The latest set of results from the Growing Up in Scotland (GUS) study includes some information about families in which one parent is not resident with the children.

These results are from the latest group of children included in the GUS study, born in 2010/2011.  Their main carer, almost always their mother, was questioned when these babies reached 10 months of age.

21% of these families had a non-resident biological parent, in most cases the father. 57% of these parents had never co-habited and 91% had never been married.

Nearly a quarter (24%) of these children had no contact with their non-resident parent and a further 9% had contact once a month or less.

This study investigated the extent to which these non-resident parents were involved in their children's lives and how this was affected if there was a difficult relationship between the parents. 

Not surprisingly, non-resident parents who have poor relations with the resident parent are far less likely to be consulted about major decisions such as the child's immunisations or diet.

In a quarter of families where the non-resident father's name was on the birth certificate, he was never or rarely consulted about immunisations or his child's diet.  These fathers all have parental rights in order to carry out their responsibilities towards their children, but they are not being given the chance to contribute.

These results come from a study that doesn't make any contact with the non-resident parent.  Even so, it seems to show that a significant number of fathers are being shut out of their children's lives before their child has reached one year of age.  Asking the fathers about how much they are involved might show an even higher level of exclusion.

Parental responsibilities should be acknowledged by all parents, rather than being optional extras that are only respected when separated parents are getting on well with each other.