How hands on is your children’s dad?

There's a brilliant new initiative at our local library called 'Dad's Rhyme Time'. Every Saturday fathers can take their toddlers along for a clapping and rhyming session (leaving the mums free to kick their heels around for an hour.) I was talking to a dad today who told me that one of his favourite things to do with his son at weekends is to go into the woods and pretend to look for bears. And I'm happy to say the Man of this particular House has always been brilliant at playing, reading stories, that kind of thing – better than me, really, because he's much more patient.

But I also know a few dads who seem to find it difficult just to sit down and play with their kids, or even, in one case, spend so much as an afternoon with them. It's as though they don't know how to relate to them. Instead they're authoritarian and strict – exactly the opposite of what their children need. I know of one father who refused to wheel his baby's buggy because it didn't look 'manly' enough. And one mum told me recently that her children are lucky if they get to see their father for more than a couple of hours a week because he's either at work or away or playing sport. 'They hardly know him,' she told me.

From the time we're pregnant, women are bombarded with information about parenting. Maybe it's that some men are unsure of how to behave with their kids. I'd love to know what you think.

written by Liz Jarvis