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  • Catherine: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute

  • English, I'm Catherine.

  • Neil: And I'm Neil.

  • Catherine: Now, Neil, you're a dad,

  • aren't you?

  • Neil: I am a dad. How did you know? Is it

  • the grey hair in my beard?

  • Is it the wrinkles around the eyes?

  • Catherine: I thought that was

  • just your age.

  • Neil: Well, yes, maybe. In today's

  • programme we're going to be talking

  • about fathers and how being a father

  • has changed over the years.

  • But before we hear more about this topic,

  • our question for the day. According to

  • recent research in the UK, what

  • percentage of men are present when

  • their children are born? Is it: a) 55%,

  • b) 75% or c) 95%? What do you think?

  • Catherine: I think a lot of men these days

  • like to see their children born. It's not

  • culturally inappropriate so I'm gonna

  • go for 95%.

  • Neil: Well, we'll find out if you're right

  • at the end of the programme.

  • Now, Dr Anna Machin is an evolutionary

  • anthropologist. She studies, among other

  • things, how human behaviour has

  • changed and is changing. She's

  • written a book called The Life of Dad.

  • She's been studying new fathers and

  • spoke about her research on the BBC's

  • Woman's Hour programme.

  • She asked why men want to become

  • fathers. She starts by saying that there

  • are lots of reasons but how many does

  • she mention in her answer?

  • Dr Anna Machin: There's lots of different

  • reasons why men want to be fathers - for

  • some of them it's just a stage in life

  • they've reached. They've got the house,

  • they've got the job, now it's time to have a

  • family. Sometimes they admit that

  • actually they're not that

  • keen, but their partner wants a baby, so

  • they're kinda going along with it. And a

  • reasonable number actually say they do

  • it because they want to undo what their

  • father did to them, so rewrite history in

  • relation to fathers and the experience of

  • fathering, to be a better

  • father than their father was.

  • Neil: How many reasons does

  • she mention?

  • Catherine: She mentioned three reasons.

  • The first was that it was that time in life -

  • the guys had a home and a job and

  • having children was the thing to do next.

  • Neil: Another reason was that it was what

  • their partners wanted, even if they weren't

  • that keen themselves. If you're 'not keen

  • on something' it means you are 'not

  • enthusiastic about it', it's not really

  • something you want to do, but because

  • it's what their partner wants they agree to

  • it, or as Dr Machin said,

  • they're going along with it.

  • Catherine: Yes, 'going along' with

  • something, is a phrase that means

  • 'agreeing to do' something

  • even though you don't really want to do it.

  • It's interesting that Dr Machin said that

  • some men admit to this. 'To admit to'

  • something is 'to say or agree' that

  • something is true even if you're perhaps

  • ashamed of it or you

  • don't want it to be true.

  • Neil: There was one more reason she

  • mentioned and that was that some men

  • become parents because they want to be

  • a better father than their own father had

  • been. Let's listen again.

  • Dr Anna Machin: There's lots of different

  • reasons why men want to be fathers - for

  • some of them it's just a stage in life

  • they've reached. They've got the house,

  • they've got the job, now it's time to have a

  • family. Sometimes they admit that

  • actually they're not that keen, but their

  • partner wants a baby, so they're kinda

  • going along with it. And a reasonable

  • number actually say they do it because

  • they want to undo what their father did to

  • them, so rewrite history in relation to

  • fathers and the experience of fathering,

  • to be a better father than their father was.

  • Neil: So what is it about some father's

  • own dads that they didn't like?

  • Here's Dr Machin again.

  • Dr Anna Machin: Well, in some cases, you

  • know, the father would be neglectful,

  • some fathers were absent and others

  • they just felt they were a very, I suppose,

  • we'd say a 1950s father so distant,

  • disciplinarian not actually involved

  • in their children's daily life and certainly

  • not involved in their care. So today's

  • generation fathers, even in the 10 years

  • that I've been studying dads we've seen

  • a massive evolution in

  • how hands-on fathers are.

  • Neil: She talks there about some negative

  • characteristics associated with dads

  • in the past. She suggests that some

  • fathers didn't have a very close

  • relationship with their sons, they were

  • 'absent' which means they 'weren't

  • at home a lot and didn't spend time'

  • with their children.

  • Catherine: Yes, and some fathers were

  • seen as a 'disciplinarian'. That describes

  • someone whose main communication

  • with their children was to give them strict

  • rules and tell them off or punish them

  • if they did something wrong.

  • Neil: These days, according to Dr Machin,

  • fathers are much more 'hands-on'.

  • This phrase means they are 'much more

  • involved' with their children and share

  • bringing up their children

  • with their partners.

  • Catherine: And talking of sharing, Neil,

  • come on - it's time to know the answer

  • to today's question.

  • Neil: Yes, indeed. According to recent

  • research in the UK, what is the percentage

  • of fathers who are there when their

  • children are born?

  • Was it 55%, 75% or 95%?

  • Catherine: And I said a very optimistic 95%.

  • Neil: Being optimistic is good obviously

  • because you are correct.

  • Catherine: That's fantastic!

  • Neil: And now, for something else

  • fantastic, our review of

  • today's vocabulary...

  • Catherine: We started off with 'admit to'

  • for when you say something is true, even

  • if it might make you look a little bit bad.

  • And before we go on I have to admit, Neil,

  • that it was me who ate your biscuit.

  • Neil: Which one?

  • Catherine: The one that you left on the desk.

  • Neil: That's all right. I wasn't really keen

  • on it anyway. It had been on the floor.

  • Catherine: What? Yuck!

  • Neil: Yeah, well, it serves you right! And

  • 'to be keen on' something is our next

  • phrase, meaning 'being very interested in

  • and enthusiastic' about something.

  • Catherine: Then we had 'to go along with'

  • something. This is when you 'agree to do

  • something even if you are not keen' on it.

  • Neil: An 'absent' father is one who is 'not at

  • home to spend time' with his children.

  • Catherine: And some fathers are

  • 'disciplinarians'. They have strict rules and

  • they give out punishments but these

  • days more fathers are 'hands-on' which

  • means they are 'very much involved' in

  • looking after and bringing up

  • their children.

  • Neil: Well, that's all we have time for

  • today. Join us again next time and

  • remember you can find us on Instagram,

  • Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and of course

  • our website bbclearningenglish.com.

  • See you soon. Goodbye!

  • Catherine: Bye!

Catherine: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute

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A2 UK catherine father keen dr admit anna

Why do men want to be fathers? Watch 6 Minute English

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    Evangeline posted on 2018/08/21
Video vocabulary