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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 June 2006, 11:19 GMT 12:19 UK
'Obvious' father packs defended
Image from Dad Pack
Critics say the pack is a waste of money, giving obvious advice
An information pack for fathers-to-be, which sparked criticism for giving "obvious" advice, has been defended.

The government-funded Dad Pack includes advice on taking children to the playground, and coping with a lack of sex after their baby's birth.

They have been sent out to nurseries, children's centres and maternity units.

Jack O'Sullivan from Fathers Direct, which produced the advice, said with fathers taking a bigger role in childcare more information was needed.

"It's not about dads getting it wrong, we publish vast amounts of material for mums, but we don't publish very much for dads," he told the BBC.

HAVE YOUR SAY
As a dad for a year now, all I can say is each situation is different
Jonathan Kelk, Dalry, UK

But Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust, attacked the packs as "patronising".

"If we want fathers to recover a greater sense of responsibility for their families, we need to recognise their authority and accept that there are fundamental differences between mothers and fathers that run much deeper than social convention," he said.

"In the absence of that, patronising packs laden with cartoons and celebrity comments are likely to achieve very little."

'Social revolution'

But Mr O'Sullivan said fathers' roles were changing.

"Now dads are doing a third of the parental childcare for the under-fives," he said.

"We have a social revolution on our hands, so we need to support that change, because we need children to be well looked after."

He said it was women who complained the most about the lack of support and information for fathers.

"They want their partner more involved. Our institutions are slow to catch up with social change, and this is a step in the right direction," he said.

Image from Dad Pack
The pack gives ways to keep children entertained

The Dad Pack has been part-funded by the Department for Education and Skills, which contributed half of the 50,000 cost for 10,000 copies.

The pack of A5 cards and posters covers pregnancy, birth, work, relationships, money, health, benefits and legal rights and responsibilities.

Alongside hide-and-seek, paper mosaic-making and picnics, the play section recommends getting children involved in cleaning and washing up to keep them entertained.

There is also an A2 poster of 100 ways to praise your child such as "you're sensational" and "that's a staggering achievement".

A number of celebrity comments are included, including one from Arsenal captain Thierry Henry, who says of being present at his daughter's birth: "I've won stuff in my life. Nothing can beat that."




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