Kinark Child and Family Services

Kinark Child and Family Services

June 10, 2008 13:12 ET

Kinark: Only Nine Percent of Youth Turn to Fathers First for Emotional Support

Findings from Kinark Child and Family Services national survey reveal

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 10, 2008) - Father's Day evokes the image of 'dad the practical fixer for the family' but a recent study reveals that many young people do not view dad as the go-to person for emotional support.

Kinark Child and Family Services, a not-for-profit children's mental health organization in Ontario, surveyed 500 people across Canada: 300 families with children aged between 12-17 and 200 youth aged 12 to 17. The findings showed that only nine percent of young people turned to their fathers to discuss emotional issues. In fact, fathers ranked a distance third behind mothers, who were identified as the primary confident (39 percent) and friends (28 percent).

"These findings are quite telling," says Peter Moore, executive director of Kinark. "It shows that we need to be reaching out more to fathers and counseling them more in these areas. We want young people to have access to as much education and knowledge as possible to help them during difficult times. This must mean feeling comfortable talking to fathers as well."

One quarter of Canadian youth between the ages of 12-17 struggle with feelings of depression and anxiety. Mr. Shim of Toronto understands this only too well. His 15-year-old son has been challenged by mental health issues since he was just 10 years old. Mr. Shim offers his view on why fathers are not the first point of call for kids with emotional concerns.

"As fathers, we are generally regarded as the strong ones in the family, the ones who don't talk about or show our emotions. Our approach to dealing with emotional issues is more from the school of hard knocks. Think of boys playing sports, when our child gets hurt, we're the first ones to say, oh just walk it off or just over it. We don't encourage our kids to discuss their emotions and haven't traditionally shown any real signs of sympathy or empathy when they do. However, if we are going to help our kids, this has to change."


As specialists in providing expert help to children and youth, their families and communities, Kinark offers words of advice this Father's day for all dads out there:

Be proactive: Ask your children how they are feeling on a regular basis. This will start to install a level of comfort on the child's part to open up and talk about emotional issues.

Get involved: Take an active interest in your child's life. Getting to know their hobbies, interests, friends will help to give a much better insight of your child and will help you anticipate potentially troubling situations.

Listen: Listen to your kids when they come to you with day-to-day issues or anxieties. What might seem small and trivial could in fact be a symptom of a much bigger issue.

Share: Talk openly about your own feelings to show your child that they are not alone in feeling a certain way. If you share your feelings and concerns, your child will start to view their own feelings as normal instead of something to feel ashamed of.

For a full overview of the survey findings, click here:

Kinark Child and Family Services

Kinark is a not-for-profit children's mental health organization in Ontario that provides expert help to children and youth, their families and communities. Kinark provides everything from parenting advice to help for children and youth with chronic and multiple mental health issues. In addition, Kinark provides intensive treatment and support to youth in conflict with the law as well as an extensive range of programs for children and youth diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Made up of more than 800 highly trained professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, social workers, and child and youth workers, Kinark's goal is to help children and youth live socially and emotionally health lives.

Contact Information

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    please contact: Plum PR
    Maggie Fairs
    (416) 850-8186