Saturday, 31 March 2012

News: "If something's important enough, you make the time,"

said Scotty, when asked by Captain Kirk how Sulu managed to find time to have a family. The following press release makes for slightly depressing reading and discusses new research that dads are spending increasingly less time with their children.

Yes, having enough cash to pay the mortgage and ensure there's food on the table is important. And while I'm sure a holiday somewhere exotic would be remembered fondly by your offspring, I'm equally sure that spending time making Egg-O Egg-O would be even better....even if it takes several weeks to make your 5yo understand the pun.

I was talking to my parents about something similar a while ago. When I was small my dad did a lot of overtime to ensure there was plenty of cash in the bank, and for a period I hardly saw him at all. In retrospect, he says he regrets it. The money was frittered away over time on nothing in particular and he wishes he'd spent more time with me. Which probably explains why now he's retired he wants to spend every possible second with his grandchildren.

While the article states that fathers in the West Midlands spend the least amount of time with their sons, it's worth noting that at our school, at least, the percentage of fathers picking up/dropping at school & attending the PTA events with their children is surprisingly high. I'd place the figure at a third, if not higher. So things aren't all bad.

At the end of the release is a list of simple ways in which fathers and sons can spend more time together. Some may seem obvious but it's worth reading through and keeping in mind when you're deciding between finishing off the mountain of paperwork on your desk or going home and reading a bedtime story.


- One in three dads rely on phone calls to stay in touch with son -

Half of modern day dads (50 per cent) believe father and son bonding time is fast becoming a thing of the past with 53 per cent agreeing that face to face time between fathers and sons is at an all time low.

New research out today from Bandai, toy manufacturer behind Ben 10, shows that nearly half (48 per cent) of fathers cited working late as one of the main reasons why they don’t spend more time with their son, whilst 35 per cent of dads also admitted to working at the weekend. One in three (68 per cent) of fathers revealed that the pressures of work now are greater than ever before with over half (55 per cent) admitting to spending more time in the office than two years ago. 44 per cent said that they were often too tired and exhausted from work to take part in regular bonding activities with their son.

Half of fathers (49 per cent) said that playing with toys was a bonding activity they enjoyed with their son, with a third (66 per cent) agreeing it made them feel nostalgic for their childhood. Other bonding experiences fathers said they enjoy included playing football or other sports (47 per cent), going to the cinema (45 per cent), reading (44 per cent) and riding a bike (32 per cent). However, a quarter (25 per cent) admitted they had not taken part in any typical bonding experiences with their son in the last week or more and a third (33 per cent) also revealed they spend less time with their sons taking part in such pursuits than they did with their own fathers.
The research showed fathers spend an average of just fifty six minutes a day with their son, with nearly a fifth (18 per cent) spending just fifteen minutes or less together. A third of fathers (33 per cent) revealed that they have to rely on phone calls to stay in touch with their son, whilst 20 per cent also said they relying on texting. 84 per cent of dads wish they could spend more time with their son and 79 per cent agreed they would like to build a better father-son bond.

To help fathers and sons bond, maker of the Ben 10 toys, Bandai, have worked with educational psychologist Kairen Cullen to create the top ten tips:

1. Daily play is essential for health and well being for children and adults – so find ways of playing in the house, outside, wherever you are
2. Advantaged children are the ones who have a strong sense of self so encourage him to have his own opinions
3. Demonstrate how important your son is by designating time just to him – if you have multiple children then take turns to spend time with each
4. Share your capacity for fun – be silly and let your guard down, whether it be dressing up or pretending to be an alien
5. Only children really live in the moment so re-create your own childhood by joining your son in his
6. Necessary and natural; play will help your child grow and cope with life - the 'play space' is where true emotional growth can happen
7. Time together when your son is young will result in a stronger relationship when he is an adult
8. Invent and create playful moments through imaginary play and make believe with toys like the Ben 10 range
9. Model the right way to live your life by investing time in your son and he will be able to do the same when he is a father
10. Energy and enjoyment go together. The more you enjoy yourself the more energy for work and play will result

This Easter, Bandai are encouraging dads to spend at least ten quality minutes each day with their children and asking dad’s to submit their own top tips onto their Facebook page (

The research also showed that fathers in the West Midlands spend the least time with their sons with an average of forty eight minutes a day, whilst those in Scotland are most time rich spending an average of sixty five minutes a day with their son. Younger fathers are also spending increasingly less time with their sons with 88 per cent of fathers aged under twenty five agreeing that the pressures of work are greater than ever and putting strains family life and 100 per cent of fathers under twenty five agreeing they would like to build a better bond with their son.

Product Manager for Boys brands at Bandai UK, Andrew Welch says, “Dad’s across the UK are wishing they could spend more time with their sons and with long working hours this is becoming harder and harder. We hope that with the creation of our 10 minutes campaign dads will take the time to play with their son and share a memorable and fun experience, especially over the upcoming bank holiday weekends and Easter period.”

Educational psychologist Kairen Cullen says, ”Dads work harder than ever in today’s stressful world. Initiatives like Bandai’s Ben ’10 minutes’ will not only help father and son relationships to grow but also support the adult and child’s development and wellbeing.”

Upload your own top father-son tips to or tweet to

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