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COVID-19 bringing fathers closer to their kids

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 4:59 PDT, Fri June 19, 2020

Two new studies suggest BC fathers feel closer to their kids during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first, conducted in May on behalf of the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation, asked BC fathers about the impact of the lockdown on their role as fathers. Among the results 38 per cent of respondents felt it had a positive impact on their roles as dads; 59 per cent felt closer to their children; and 48 per cent said they hope to be more engaged in the future.

“Even though families have faced stressors and challenges with COVID-19, we recognize that fathers have been granted a golden opportunity to take time to slow down and connect with their children,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said.

In a follow-up survey by The Men’s Initiative at UBC, many fathers described a hectic family dynamic prior to COVID, with busy lives focused on long work days with commuting, eating on the run, children’s schedules—including sports, extracurricular and social activities, and the family members experiencing lives lived in parallel with each other. As the pandemic evolves, fathers also expressed concern that they will experience a tension between shifting back to the “old normal” and a desire to create a new normal going forward.

“We know the active and positive presence of fathers in their children’s lives has a positive effect on those children’s mental and physical well-being and reduces the frequency of their negative behaviours,” noted David Kuhl, a UBC professor of medicine and co-founder of The Men’s Initiative.

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