Fathers, work and family life

Jo Warin, Yvette Solomon, Charlie Lewis and Wendy Langford

This report examines how families come to terms with the connections between the worlds of work and family life, looking in particular at fathers' relationships with their teenage children.

The part played by fathers in families, and the need for effective legislation to help parents reconcile the competing demands of home-life and work-life, is high on the public agenda. How do men manage the conflict between their contribution to the labour force and their role as fathers? And what do they, and their families, think being a father means today?

Drawing on the experience of families in Rochdale, through sample surveys and interviews, this study looks at families with different parental employment patterns to see if there is a connection between work and the way in which fathers engage in everyday interactions and relationships with their family. They highlight the crucial importance still attached to a father's role as 'provider', not just by men, but also by their children and their partners, and identify some of the problems fathers experience when they cannot meet this expectation.

In their concluding chapters, the authors suggest ways in which policy-makers can help to promote a positive and constructive relationship between fathers' work-lives and home-lives.