New study of carer dads reveals shock findings
11 June 2012
An eye-opening new survey of UK dad carers provides a dramatic insight into their experiences of looking after disabled children. It illustrates the shocking truth that fathers aren't getting the support they need and are left feeling marginalised.
Dads are battling against many misconceptions and challenges when trying to juggle work and caring. The survey shows that they are doing all they can to be involved but face hurdles every step of the way.
In short, they want their voices to be heard, to be given more consideration in terms of support and to be acknowledged as having an important role as a parent, on a par with their female counterparts.
Dads survey findings
According to the survey, dads:
- Feel greater financial pressure as carers – the vast majority worry about money and many feel they are seen only as the breadwinner
- Do not get support from colleagues or bosses
- 15% say their workplace does not even know they have a disabled child
- Are unaware of their right to request flexible working – four in ten do not know this is an option
- Do not fully understand their child's condition – four in ten do not fully understand their child's disability and a third are not confident in caring for their child
- Suffer relationship problems – two-thirds say their relationship is suffering
- Want more support – eight in ten feel alone but only about four in ten get help from support groups or professionals
Improving the situation for dads with disabled children
The survey also asked dads about how the situation could be improved and what could be changed to ensure they have the support they need.
- Appointments outside working hours
- Meetings, medical appointments, courses and support sessions are often held during the working week and dads in employment find it difficult to get time off. If more of these could be held at evenings and weekends, dads could have more involvement. This also applies to things such as coffee mornings, social clubs or play sessions to allow dads to interact with other families.
- Forums for dads
- Help and advice on day-to-day issues targeted at dads, perhaps in a forum or one-to-one basis. In particular, dads want suggestions that are based on their situation, not hard and fast rules that might not work for them.