Children win access to fathers
Are fathers becoming more competent as parents?
Marlon Abrahams (Jade Photography)
The gist of it is that ministers in England plan to rewrite the law to ensure that fathers get improved access to their kids after a marriage breaks down. Organisations like Fathers for Justice have long been campaigning for a change in the legal rights for fathers with respect to access.

It’s no secret that the courts are biased towards the mother, and indeed society in general, including the vast majority of men, are quite happy to concede that its “better that the mothers” have custody of the kids.

Are dads getting the knack?

However, this proposed change in the law heralds a shift in that thinking. And I suspect it’s a sign of the times that more and more fathers are stepping up to the plate to take responsibility for their parental duties. Many factors have brought about this pressure, not least of it being that women have become far more active in the economy and just don’t have the time to be full-time parents.

With great power, comes great responsibility

This new development is a step in the right direction, though I think it could also be a case of be careful what you wish for. Just last week I had an email from a single mom of 2 young kids who was lamenting the fact that she had to discontinue access to the father of her young daughter. They have an agreement in place where he can see his daughter twice a week and every second weekend. The chap is relatively young (late 20’s), it appears that when he has his kid on the weekend he dumps her with someone else and he buggers off to party with his mates.

Do dads have the emotional energy?

The reality of single parenting is that it is much harder than dual parenting. You literally have to be available 24/7, it’s as emotionally rewarding as it is draining. I remember in the beginning when I got into it, I used to find myself physically exhausted after the weekend and not due to any physical activity either. I subsequently realised that it is the emotional awareness that is required to take care of a little life that keeps you alert and ready to spring into action that leaves you drained. But you get used to it and you learn how to deal with it.

Kids are never effective weapons

Fathers who are in it for the kid and not to get one over the mother will welcome this law and embrace the challenges that go with it. Others will find that their desire to get one over mom will have exactly the opposite effect if they’re not prepared and willing to do what it takes to be a responsible single parent. Any single parent mom will tell you that it’s not for the faint-hearted.

I’m not too sure about the official legal situation in South Africa, but in my experience with the courts, you get what you ask for provided you can prove that you’re a good egg. Are South African men ready for a law like this?

Read more by Marlon Abrahams

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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