More Jamaican fathers appear to be making an effort to be more involved in their children’s lives.
In the past, many fathers were criticised for showing little interest in their children’s development, a role usually associated with women. One that appears to be changing.
“A lot of fathers have not been fathered, and so it’s almost as if they are going off head knowledge, as if this is what they’re supposed to do,” says guidance counsellor Craig McNally.
According to McNally, this behaviour among some fathers reflect values gained from having another man mentor or father them, and so they end up fathering their children based on how they have been treated.
Noel Perkins, principal of Eltham Park Primary School in St Catherine, which is located in an inner-city community, has, since becoming principal two years ago, seen more fathers taking their children to school and attending PTA meetings.
Unlike previous occasions when only mothers turned up at school after being summoned by teachers, several fathers have been coming out, though not in the numbers he would like.
“It’s an improvement. In some cases it was non-existent. Starting at two to three per cent is a big start over zero, though we’d like it to be more,” says Perkins.
Guidance counsellor Heather Jackson, who is based at Holy Childhood High School, says although the school has seen marked improvement in the attendance of fathers to PTA meetings, for students in the grades seven and eight, it’s a different story for the upper grades.