Fathers & Parenting Research in Turkey has yielded striking results. According to the research, 91% of fathers say mothers are the first ones responsible for child care. Fathers still do not take sufficient responsibility of physical care of children especially until the age of 3.
Fathers take the least responsibility in taking the children to toilet, changing diapers and cutting nails. Only 51% of fathers claim taking their children to the bed “often” or “always”. Aiming at supporting children and their caregivers, Mother Child Education Foundation (AÇEV) has released the “Fathers & Parenting in Turkey and Indicators of a Caring Father” report about the role of fathers in development of children in Turkey. COMPREHENSIVE RESEARCH COVERING 3235 FATHERS FROM 51 PROVINCES For the report, 3235 fathers were surveyed from 51 provinces across Turkey. Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) data were considered for the regional distribution of the target mass. In depth interviews were conducted with 40 fathers. The field survey of the research was conducted in 2016. Most of the participants were married, living in the same household with their spouse, and between ages 25-44 and 20-29. Those who were married twice and/or were single/widower comprised 2%. The research has yielded striking results as to fathers’ point of view about childcare. According to most of the fathers who have a child between ages 0-10, their spouses are primarily responsible for childcare: FATHERS DO NOT TAKE SUFFICIENT RESPONSIBILITY According to the research, fathers do not take sufficient responsibility in physical care of their children between ages 0-3. They take the least responsibility in taking their children to toilet, changing diapers and cutting nails. 51% of fathers claim taking their children to the bed “often” or “always”. Involvement of fathers in taking role and personal responsibility in the education of children is also limited. 13% never and 21% rarely attend school events of their children. [infogram id="translate-babalar-cocuklarin-bakimina-katilim-1h7z2l51807x6ow" prefix="i6N"] AT LEAST 1 OUT OF 10 FATHERS COMMITS VIOLENCE The most popular way of punishment among participant fathers with a child between ages 4-10 is forbidding. When  children "misbehave” according to their father, he/she is forbidden to do something they like (percentage of “often” and “always” forbidding is 33%). The second popular group of punishment includes verbal violence (24%) and suspension (18-19%). The third group include punishment with physical violence (12-13%). [infogram id="translate-babalar-cocuklariyla-ne-yaptilar-1h8n6m5n398j2xo" prefix="bpQ"] It is very important for holistic child development to spend quality time with the children both indoors and outdoors. Although fathers are with their children at home after work, they are not involved in one on one developmental activities and instead watch TV together. It is observed that fathers do less developmental activities with their 0-3-year-old children. And most fathers do not participate in cultural and sports events outside home. [infogram id="translate-babalar-cocuklariyla-ne-yapti-4-10-yas-1hdw2j5gpvnj4l0" prefix="EEE"] 51% of participant fathers have chat with their 0-3-year-old children while 86% have chat with the 4-10-year old group. Similarly, the percentage of reading with their 0-3-year-old children is 23% while it is 48% with 4-10-year-old group. [infogram id="translate-babalar-cocuklar-ev-disi-zaman-1ho16vzmozrx2nq" prefix="hg6"] Fathers usually spend time with their children by walking around the street (76%) and visiting relatives (73%) or going to a shopping mall (62%) outside home. Participant fathers rarely do activities such as visiting museums, galleries, going to the cinema or theatre suitable for the child and doing sports. Many fathers consider chat with their children to be an opportunity to teach a life lesson, and share what he has learnt. [infogram id="translate-babalarin-ihtiyac-duydugu-politikalar-1h7k23px0mwg4xr" prefix="dZS"] ABOUT WHAT DO THE FATHERS NEED EDUCATION MOSTLY? The participants were also asked about what they need education mostly. The most popular answers were about mental development of children (35%), psychological problems (33%). PARENTAL LEAVE IS AN IMPORTANT VARIABLE AFFECTING PARENTING In the research, parental leave is an important variable affecting parenting. 44% of the participant fathers stated using paid parental leave. The outstanding reasons for not using the parental leave is the lack of information and the employers not giving permission. According to the civil servants law, civil servant fathers have 10 days parental leave while a worker father have 5 days of parental leave according to the labour law. The contract employee employed within the scope of the article 4/B of Law Number 657 has 2 days of parental leave when his spouse gives birth. CHILD IS MORE EASYGOING IF THE FATHER IS CARING According to the report prepared in scope of the “Understanding Fatherhood in Turkey Series” caring fatherhood is defined as the father model taking role in care and development of the child, creating medium and opportunity for child development, building mutual and close relationship with the child, spending time with the child, listening to the child and using effective methods and support in child relationship. According to the fatherhood researches, children raised by warm, sensitive and caring fathers are more easy-going psychologically and have less behaviour problems and have better relationships with their peers. According to the report, father involvement in child care and a close relationship is very important in 0-3 year period in which child development is at its peak level.   Translation: Banu Adıyaman