Monday, March 13, 2006

PIPPIN - Investing in Fathers UK Project

Why doesn't big brother launch something like this? Could it be that they're afraid of the societal changes that will occur if men start unbecoming or god-forbid, stay home with the kids and do all the housework? Why the walls would just come tumbling down! Leave it to the Brits to one-up us once again on common sense.

The aim of the PIPPIN (Parents in Partnership Parent Infant Network) ‘Investing in Fathers’ project (a three year project funded by the Home Office Family Support Unit) was to create the right environment for supporting young fathers. We want to achieve this by really listening to young fathers.

PIPPIN is a national charity whose main aim is to maintain and improve the emotional health of families through one of the most critical stages in their lives - the period surrounding the birth of a new baby.

Few fathers attend conventional parent craft classes, and those that do frequently feel out of place.

PIPPIN programmes welcome fathers as a vital element in the new family, and those that attend are helped to feel very much at home.

To date our courses have been designed to support couples; to help both parents understand and communicate better with their baby and between themselves.

Ensuring that fathers become more confident, more involved, less isolated and excluded, `Investing in Fathers` adds an important new dimension to Pippin's work.

`Investing in Fathers` is a project funded in 1999 by the Family Policy Unit for three years, and to be active in seven counties within that time.

The aim of `Investing in Fathers` was to find out what it is really like to be a young father (under 25 years) who is not living with his partner or baby, once we have found that out we need to find the best way of supporting young fathers through the pregnancy, birth and the first few months of fatherhood.

Preliminary findings from the 'Investing in Fathers`project are available on request by calling our office on 01727 899099 or by email from

All too often young fathers, simply because of their age fade away into the background. They tend to be an `invisible` group, receiving little encouragement or acknowledgement by others.

Society often sees young fathers in a negative light; they feel undervalued, disregarded, excluded.

Not surprisingly, they often react by withdrawing, losing self-esteem and confidence and as we have mentioned already, this is a similar reaction other fathers have within this transition into fatherhood.

It may be more extreme than other fathers, and many young fathers play the uncaring, uncommitted role, which society seem to cast them in.

`Investing in Fathers` also recognises there are many men, young men included who become ` serial fathers`, that is men who have short relationships where the girl/women becomes pregnant, the relationship ends, he moves on to the next relationship. These men need support from a different source.

There is another type of young father however, who we recognise wants to be there for his partner and baby, who wants to be a father for the `longer term` to `stay the distance`, yet he cannot for whatever reason live with them.

Our research suggests that:

• Many young fathers want to become involved with their children right from the start, rather than waiting until the child is older.
• Many young fathers are denied access to their baby for reasons such as personal relationships with partners and families.
• Many young men find the transition to fatherhood confusing, they lack clear information and support from family and professionals, and this increases their sense of alienation from their baby.

Many young fathers are teenagers and continue to deal with the effects of the process of becoming a man, a natural process that is confusing in itself.

At this time the body is flooded with the hormone testosterone causing many changes, preparing for the change from boyhood into manhood, which includes his feelings about many things, especially about sexuality and relationships.

There is a national and international drive to support and recognise fathers of all ages, they play a major part in the future generation, you and your children's generation.

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