On the 4th of April 2012 the BBC broadcast a programme called “kids in the middle”, I watched it with some sadness ,but it also confirmed to me that mums have all the power and dad’s have very little. link below.
It is the bittersweet story of Keith and Dawn who have three children, from the start you quickly come to realise that both parents equally and genuinely love their children with all their hearts. However, it soon becomes apparent that Dawn’s love is given greater attention and consideration, by the Family courts, than Keith’s love for his kids. Keith is not accused of harming his children he seems to be a kind and gentle father who is stricken with the fear of losing contact with his children, so fearful in fact he seems quite willing to be debased and belittled by a system, that evidently, is giving Dawn all the power over him and to suggest how often and in what circumstances Keith has contact with the ones he loves.
The level of contact Keith is given is derisory and ultimately will be damaging to the relationships he has with his 3 children. He sees his children in a contact centre once hour every 2 weeks for one hour where he is closely observed by the staff. In one scene a staff member questions Keith in front of his children about what he is doing with a computer he is showing to his children. Like a child he is firmly informed that it will be alright on the condition that he doesn’t go on the internet and to be careful about what he does with it, he is humiliated as though he couldn’t be trusted to be with his kids and to be a good father for them. I found this shocking and cruel, but I know that such lack of attention and care is afforded to fathers in some of these contact centres, I have been to some.
The programme suggests that the reason as to why these contact centres need to be used is when parents cannot reach agreement about the children, and so in these circumstances dad, and not mum, will need to go to a contact centre. Therefore, it would seem then that the default position in these circumstances ,when parents can’t agree, is that mum gets what she wants! After all she is the resident parent and her rights seem to take precedent in the courts when disagreement takes place, and dads will have to take the back seat, humble themselves and accept the dregs of whatever is handed to them. Keith was in a no-win situation and he knew it too, but I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him.
Yes I am a man and father, you could suggest I am biased in favour of fathers, but after seeing this film it would be impossible to suggest that fathers have equal rights to that of mothers, how could we have when 93% of custody awards are given to the mother and this surely gives mothers all the power to do as they please. I admit it is a great shame that I mention the word “power” in such a context as children as though that was the holy grail to obtain for either parent, it isn’t, but unfortunately when a father knows that they don’t have one ounce of say in their children’s lives, you just come to know that you are indeed powerless to do a thing about it!