«Sweet, cool, very big and working all the time,» such are the most popular answers given by the Latvian 5-7 year-olds in a survey done by the Latvian NGO «Centrs Dardedze», which has launched a new series of activities for a greater involvement, motivation and support of fathers in child-raising, thus reducing the risk of domestic violence against children.
Children’s responses and drawings largely reflect the current situation in Latvian families, when the father is viewed only as a breadwinner and children very much feel the lack of his attention. When asked what their father is doing at home, children reply: «watches TV or sits with his I-pod; dad is not doing any housework, only helps mom a bit; dad arranges documents at home; mostly dad is going to work; works a bit at home and takes a rest; watches TV until 23 o’clock and lets me watch with it him; looks in the computer». Despite the small share of time spent together, all the surveyed pre-school children have an overwhelmingly positive view of their dads and long remember the moments spent together.
«We want to emphasise the roles of fathers in child-raising, motivating Latvian men to seek dialogue with their children themselves and to take pride in their role,» points out «Centrs Dardedze» psychologist Kristīne Jozauska, stressing that nearly all men want to be good fathers but the only way to do it is to work daily on improving the child-father relationship – not being afraid of expressing one’s emotions in the family, listening attentively to the children, acknowledging one’s own mistakes, fulfilling one’s promises and being patient because neither children nor parents are perfect.
«Centrs Dardedze» activities promoting the sustainability of healthy families and children’s emotional health through fathers’ involvement in childcare and child-raising are being implemented in a project «The sustainability of healthy families in Latvia: father’s role+mother’s role = an emotionally healthy child» within the Nordic Council of Ministers’ NGO programme for Nordic and Baltic countries, and World Childhood Foundation programme «Fathers are important: fathers’ engagement in childcare, child-raising and prevention of violence against children».
The goal of Nordic NGO programs is to promote cooperation between Nordic and Baltic non-governmental organisations, strengthen civic society and support new sustainable initiatives.