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Give men more time

marciadottin, [email protected]

Give men more time

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THREE days don’t cut it and one week is not adequate. Men are parents too and deserve one month for paternity leave.Executive director of the Barbados Family Planning Association, George Griffith, made this call yesterday, charging that fathers are no less important in a child’s life than mothers.According to Griffith, men need to bond, too.“There is a level of adjustment that has to be made in parenting a new-born child. The woman is going to need some emotional and physical support.“The man is impacted upon, as he too is bringing a child into this world even though he is not delivering the child. He is part and parcel of the process and there is an emotional and psychological impact on him.“It is important for some bonding to take place between the man and his child in the same way we accept that there is bonding that must take place between mother and child,” he said.Griffith was commenting on the disclosure by president of the Barbados Union of Teachers Karen Best, that the Union was seeking to have three days’ paid paternity leave for teachers whose wives/girlfriends were having a baby.Since then, head of the Men’s Educational Support Association (MESA) Ralph Boyce, has said that three days were not enough and one week would be more adequate.Griffith, a father of two, is at odds with both proposals.“Both of them are off-course. A father should have at least one month to make that bond with mother and child. It’s not a favour being done to the men. It’s a fundamental right.”The social development advocate said it was important that a mother had the constant presence of the father for some length of time to lend her support.“There is so much that goes into the caring of a new-born child. When you are introducing that child into a household and there are other children there, the dynamics of that home will change and that is far too much to expect one woman to do.”Griffith is disappointed that many businesses are reluctant to give fathers more time with their spouses and offspring.“It’s unfortunate that some of us feel that a man has no right to be involved in such an intimate way in the development of children, but yet we castigate men when they appear not to be performing the role that we prescribe for them.“The man must be in from the beginning and we must treat him as a part of this child’s life and it must not be any marginal or peripheral part. “He must be at the centre of the child’s life. In the same way that we accept that a woman is entitled to three months maternity leave, then we have to treat a father with more fairness and social justice.” (MK)