There has been a change in how fatherhood is perceived these days, from the 'Dads for Life' movement and an increased awareness of the impact a father plays in the lives of their children.
Better Fathering Index
Channel News Asia has reported that Singapore is now working on a “Better Fathering Index". It is aimed at benchmarking a father's involvement in raising his children in today's context. The index, believed to be the first of its kind, will be based on a comprehensive survey of dads in Singapore and should be ready by the end of the year.
The brainchild of the index comes from the Centre for Fathering which plans to carry out a survey in the second half of 2013 to get a better feel of the state of fatherhood in Singapore and carve out the ‘Better Fathering Index’.
Traits of a good father
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According to the chairman of Centre for Fathering and National Family Council, Lim Soon Hock, it is not just about quantity but quality as well. He says, "We're not just looking at time spent, we are also looking at the kind of activities fathers are engaging in together with the children. "
Lim recognizes the limitations as he adds, "Of course, we wouldn't know the outcomes till many, many years later and that will be borne by how stable families are, how resilient are families and to what extent can we manage dysfunctional families? And how well their children are performing academically in schools? How emotionally stable they are?
Yet he feels that there is "enough research out there that shows when fathers spend more time with their children, the children are going to benefit not just emotionally but also academically."
What the mummies think
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Mummies across Singapore seem quite excited for Daddies to take a more active role in child-rearing.
As president of I Love Children and a mother of five, Joni Ong says, "Certainly as mothers, we really appreciate that a lot. Just giving [us] that me time. Sometimes, [when I] come back from work, I'm so tired, Dad will go 'let me take over, you go'. So yes, very important."
Mdm Aishah, 48, mother of four, also applauds the move as it will give society an idea of how fathers as a whole are faring and perhaps where they can improve.
Besides setting up the index, the Centre for Fathering has trained about 40 dads in the last quarter of 2012 to train other fathers to become a better Dad. There are also plans to put together an International Advisory Panel made up of family experts to tackle the issues of family and parenthood.
These measures are all an effort to raise Singapore's low fertility rate and provide a friendly and conducive environment for raising a family in Singapore.
*This article is from our archives.