‘Fathers are crucial to children, not just an extra’

Fathers should be seen as a “crucial pillar” for children and not a “dispensable extra”, a think-tank has warned.

The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) said the “throwaway culture” in relationships means that people quickly give up if problems occur.

Andy Cook – the CSJ’s Chief Executive – also said the “meteoric rise in family breakdown” in recent decades has particularly affected vulnerable children in Britain.


Cook said the “relationship children have with their father affects their self-esteem, how well they do at school, even whether they are able to form happy, long-lasting relationships as adults”.

But to counter a “throwaway culture”, Cook said: “We need a societal shift in perspective from regarding fathers as a dispensable extra to recognising their value as a crucial pillar in a child’s life”.

“Over the last 40 years, the meteoric rise in family breakdown has blighted the lives of the poorest children the most”, he warned.

The Christian Institute spoke to the CSJ’s Frank Young


In an editorial, the Observer newspaper criticised successive Governments for their attitude to fatherhood.

The paper was disparaging of those who back marriage, but conceded it was “common sense” that there are advantages to two people bringing up children.

“Yet from the very first antenatal appointment to parenting orders for troubled teenagers, the state often fails to recognise sufficiently the importance of fatherhood”, the paper commented.

‘Father friendly’

The CSJ, founded by former Cabinet Minister Iain Duncan Smith, has previously called on Theresa May to appoint a “Fatherhood Champion”.

The role would promote fatherhood by backing role models and encouraging employers to become “father friendly”.

In 2013 the think-tank warned that at least one million children are growing up without a father.

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