Dear David Coleman: Is it important for my granddaughter's father to be involved in her life?
Q My granddaughter has just turned one. She and her mum live with us. She is the most adorable, shining light in our lives. But her dad has nothing to do with her.
He doesn't live in the country. My daughter isn't the most open book, but I tell her she must keep communicating with him for our baby's sake. I think my daughter is afraid he will want her, but I just think it is vital that our granddaughter has her dad in her life. What do you think?
David replies: Yes, of course fathers are important in baby's and children's lives. But for your granddaughter's father to be influential in her life he must invest in building a relationship with her.
It will definitely help if your daughter does facilitate any contact that he wants to make, but it won't necessarily be helpful if he is forced into a relationship with his daughter that he doesn't want. It would be too easy for your granddaughter to feel rejected by her dad if she learns, as she grows up, that he doesn't actually want to spend time with her.
Other men could fulfil important male roles in her life, if they are loving, available and consistently involved in her care. Having men as carers is a great balance to the mothering and grand-mothering she will receive. It would be ideal if that was her dad, but only if he wants it and works at it.
Health & Living