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New pastime is hunt father

PUBLISHED: 10:36 20 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:21 06 July 2010

A NEW pastime for teens and twenties has sprung up in the last 20 years - Hunt The Father.

Social networking sites like Facebook are bringing together estranged children and dads who either walked out on them years earlier or were banned from their lives by spiteful mothers.

A NEW pastime for teens and twenties has sprung up in the last 20 years - Hunt The Father.

Social networking sites like Facebook are bringing together estranged children and dads who either walked out on them years earlier or were banned from their lives by spiteful mothers.

How sad. A 15-year-old trawls through lists of men with the same name as her dad on screen trying to pick out a likeness on photos taken in the pub.

She emails asking him to accept her as a 'friend.” With one click 15 years of wondering comes to an end.

“Do you know who I am?” she asks.

“I've been waiting for you to contact me,” he replies, some might say arrogantly.

This was exactly what happened to a friend's daughter last month.

Her “father” had walked out on my friend when she was pregnant at 21. There has been no contact.

Now the pair have met. The father told my friend: “You've done a good job.”

Still single, her daughter, an only child, doing that “good job” has involved relentless hard work to keep a roof above their head and her child on the straight and narrow.

She resisted the urge to punch him.

This week it emerged that a third of children whose parents separated and divorced in the last 20 years have lost contact permanently with their fathers.

One in three. That's tens of thousands of children growing up without a father. So much hurt, bitterness and painful memories. So many years wasted.

The statistic sounded wildly inaccurate but most of us know children who never see their real dads.

The fathers are not violent or abusive. The relationship just got lost in the acrimony of the grown-up split up that the children like a bit of pesky paperwork.

The children - and sometimes the men - ended up as the innocent victims and losers. Losers for life.

All these children denied of knowing where they came from, who they really are. Denied by bitterness. It's tragic.

How can men walk away from their children? How can women cruelly block access to their children in spite?

How can mothers live with themselves denying their children the right to know their father, be loved by him and spend time with him?

It's said that love and hate are too close for comfort. When passionate love turns to loathing in a relationship, sense leaves the building.

Children are weapons in the war, new partners become involved and “real dads” get in the way of the “new family.”

A parent rewrites history, writing a former partner out of the child's life and the child grows up knowing he - or she - is out there somewhere.

It's callous and cruel.

Some women even change their children's name back to her maiden name, writing the father out of the children's lives even on their paperwork.

And some men just can't be bothered to fight, giving up the litigation in frustration, exhaustion and hopelessness praying that one day their child might find them.

Children grow up feeling abandoned and end up with mental health problems, or lost in drink, drugs or crime. That's a lot of disturbed and disappointed people.

Divorce is rarely amicable but even in the nastiest among my close friends, the parents have always put the children first. No parent has bad-mouthed the other, blamed the other or wanted anything other than a good relationship for their child.

It's hard when feelings run so high to be reasonable and fair - but we should all want nothing but reason and fairness for our children. It's the least they deserve.

However tough the fighting gets, the children must never be involved. Unless in cases of abuse, children should enjoy healthy relationships with both parents and never used as weapons.

Young people are feeling the scars of divorce boom as dumping a husband is easier than dumping a fridge today.

It's a timebomb ticking away and it's just going to get worse.

BRITAIN has gone qualification barmy.

Soon certificates will be doled out for competent use of petrol pumps or efficient pegging out of the washing.

Nothing is too menial to be “examined” as a qualification and you can't even get a menial job without ticking the boxes of the right qualifications.

Human resources - don't you just hate that phrase. I still call it “Personnel” - love lists of “professional qualifications” which mean you've sat bored in a room for a day and achieved a certificate for attendance.

And experience only counts if you're “certified” to prove it.

Now nurses are to need a degree from 2013.

Highly developed skills, yes, emotional intelligence, exceptional nurturing and caring skills, of course. But a degree?

A nurse doesn't need to be a graduate. He or she needs many more exceptional qualities that can't be examined - intuition, initiative, patience, tolerance - as well as being bright, hard working and decisive.

We seem to have forgotten what degrees are for and are confusing academic rigour and knowledge for knowledge's sake for training.

Nurses need many things - more pay for a start - but they don't need degrees.

A WEEK after giving birth to their first child most women are content to nest, in their dressing gowns, marvelling at the miracle nestled in their arms.

Those first precious weeks are times to batten down the hatches and embrace life's changes.

But not Coleen Rooney. Photos of her, post birth plump, in a mini frock and spindly heels out at Beyonce concert made me feel a tad queasy.

It looked all wrong. New mums should be holed up at home in their sloppy Joes not squeezing leaky boobs into a push-up bra and putting on the slap for a night on the tiles while granny looks after baby.

Call me old fashioned but life does change after a baby, however hard a mother might pretend it won't.

A night out with boozed up rowdies, Louboutins crippling the bunions or cuddling a newborn snuggled up at home? For most mums it's a no-brainer.

THE grotesque spectacle that is the Botoxed and collagen pumped Katie Price has told friends she has returned to the jungle for I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here to regain respect.

Respect and Jordan parted company some time ago and it'll take more than a few gulps of crocodile testicles and fish-gut-infested water for a reunion.

How could anyone respect a newly divorced mother who leaves her children on the other side of the world when they are at their most vulnerable to get new hair extensions and cavort half naked on screen?

Social services are you watching? They're supposed to be safeguarders of the emotional wellbeing of children.

So far, since the split up, she's taken up with a cross-dressing cage fighter and puts her public profile before her private responsibilities.

Has there ever been a more self-obsessed, self-absorbed, deluded woman?

MY ramblings last week about poor spelling exposed my own shortcomings with the English language.

Former teacher Ian Prettyman pulled me up on three errors to do with the misuse of the word “wrong” for which I apologise.

I only wish I had been privileged to have had him as a teacher in those formative years as a middle school pioneer when my class suffered a succession of 10 teachers for English - note not English teachers - in a year.

One of my biggest bugbears about school in the 1970s was the lack of any comprehensive teaching of grammar and language construction.

Mr Prettyman's final word of advice to us all who rely on the computer spellchecker is “don't.”

He sent a poem to illustrate how a wonder of technology has become the engineer of many a mistake and misunderstanding.

Something to print off and stick to our screen as a reminder.

Poet Tree with Mist aches

I have a spelling chequer,

It came with my pea sea,

It plainly marques four my revue

Miss steaks eye cannot sea.

When eye strike a quay, right a word,

I weight four it two say

Weather eye am wrong oar wright

It shows me strait away.

As soon as a mist ache is made

It nose bee fore two late

And eye can put the error rite,

It is rarely, rarely grate.

I have run this poem threw it,

I am shore you are pleased to no

It's letter perfect in its weigh,

Me chequer tolled me sew.

ONE of the great mysteries of life is how Louis Walsh managed to become a multi-millionaire.

He's not the sharpest pencil in the pack and niceness doesn't make money.

Perhaps he's hiding his fierce brightness under that carefully teased youthful barnet.

There are just some things that are plain unfathomable.

CHEMICALS used in plastics are “feminising” the brains of baby boys making them less likely to play with cars and enjoy rough and tumble and play like girls, according to a new study.

Chemicals, my eye.

Boys play like girls today because they're not allowed to be boys. Boys get told off for playing like boys should, running, rolling, wrestling, tearing around and shouting. They're told to sit still and keep quiet, just like girls are expected to do.

It's the chemicals within boys that are being messed with turning them into quasi-girls not chemicals getting into boys.

ANOTHER unfathomable mystery is why people spend so much money on DVDs.

Television is full of adverts for the “now out on DVD” for Christmas. What's the point of a DVD?

Who needs to watch a film more than once? You know the ending, you know the plot, why watch it again? Unless you're four years old and partial to Disney or Thomas the Tank Engine.


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