Singapore organization plans to launch "better fathering index"

Updated: 2013-01-07 22:04:00

(Xinhua)

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SINGAPORE, January 7 (Xinhua) -- A non-profit organization in Singapore plans to launch a "better fathering index" to measure how much the father is involved in bringing up their children, a local television channel reported on Monday.

The Center for Fathering, which came up with the idea, plans to carry out a survey of the fathers in Singapore in the second half of 2013 to finalize the index, Channel NewsAsia said.

The index is believed to be the first of its kind in the world.

"At the end of the day, there must be a set of criteria to produce this better fathering index. So it's like the amount of time that fathers spend per day, per week, per month, per year. The kind of activities fathers engage in with children," said Lim Soon Hock, chairman of the center and the National Family Council.

"Of course, we wouldn't know the outcomes till many, many years later and that will be borne by how stable families are, how resilient are families and to what extent can we manage dysfunctional families? And how well their children are performing academically in schools? How emotionally stable they are?" he said.

"I think there are enough research out there that shows when fathers spend more time with their children, the children are going to benefit not just emotionally but also academically. So we just have to have an index to get a better understanding, better feel of the state of fatherhood in Singapore."

With more and more mothers having their own careers, the role of fathers is evolving, too. Experts said they need to be more involved in bringing up the children.

To better support fathers, the Center for Fathering has trained about 40 dads in the last quarter of 2012 to train others to become better fathers. It hopes to double the number of trainers this year and wants to increase its outreach by up to 20 percent. It's also planning to put together an International Advisory Panel.

There have been discussions recently on mandatory paternity leave in Singapore and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said that it is time to consider that so that fathers can be more involved.