In News

Food for thought; It’s been suggested that if Australian fathers spent an extra 5 min a day with the children that $5 billion/yr would be saved. This would be in the areas of law (less juvenile crime), health (drugs), education (engaged) and industry (greater productivity).

What stops teenagers from “crossing the line” and making poor choices about the serious issues facing them in today’s society? The strong and effective “voice in the head” of their dad, or a father figure (granddad, uncle, etc), can often stop them from taking drugs, binge drinking, punching others, having inappropriate sex or becoming depressed.

Staying connected during the day.Send your teenagers fun text messages.Email the children, especially if you are away.Bring your children into work – tell them about your job and how it helps other people.

Use the time spent travelling to and from school to listen to your children. If you are driving, remove all distractors  their schoolbags, books and all technology, put in the boot turn radio off and your phone. Set the right example – obey road rules, wear a helmet if cycling, etc – kids learn from your behaviour as much as from what you say

Do you know where your child is all day? Visit their school and see!
Take your child to school and ask them to show you around – where is their classroom? Where do they sit? Where do they eat lunch? Where is the playground? Who is their teacher? Who are their friends? Having this information will make it easier to relate to your child as they tell you about their school life.

Discuss your beliefs with your children. Be aware that a father’s personal beliefs can have positive or negative effects on fathering, and recognise the impact this can have on your children.

  • Give children the opportunity to learn and think about belief issues by themselves
  • Beliefs are best transmitted to children if reflected in the lives of their parents
  • We can cause children to react against our own or any other belief by the way we talk about it and how we behave

Encourage your parenting partner: It’s really important for husbands to encourage their wives in their job of mothering, to praise them for their skills and hard work and for mothers to build up and encourage dads. John is really good at it. He continually reminds me of my worth and of how much he values my being at home as a mother to our children. – Julia Anderson

  • Your children value what you do. When you value the work of their mother, so will they.
  • When you, as parents, support and encourage one another it strengthens your relationship.
  • Parenting can often be a thankless job. Make a conscious effort to change that in your home. Tell your wife thank you for all she does.

 My father was a bit of a role model but he was more distant than my mother was. She was very insightful and had a much greater effect on me than my father. – John Inverarity

  • Take time to connect with your children. Stop what you are doing, look them in the eye, and actively listen to them.
  • Reflect on the parenting style of your mother and father. Incorporate the good qualities from either into your own parenting.
  • Watch your wife as she parents. Acknowledge what she does well and find ways to make those techniques your own.

When it is too wet or too hot to go outside but you want to spend time with the kids, it’s tempting to just settle in front of the TV together and watch a movie. Here are a few other options to try:

  • Bake cupcakes or cookies and decorate them
  • Build an indoor cubby out of furniture and sheets
  • Play hide and seek, sardines, or other games
  • Play dress-ups
  • Make up a story, poem or song together

Celebrate Family
“In our family as the children grew up we had a tradition of celebrating anything good that happened to one of them. Whether it was a school report, merit certificate, runs at cricket, joining the school band or anything really, we would have a celebration at the meal table. One of the children would have to stand up and propose a toast and make a small speech. Later as they got older we kept a bottle of champagne in the fridge for such occasions. It was done semi-seriously and the kids all learnt to be able to give praise and to speak in front of others.” – Ian Brayshaw

  • Create your own family celebration tradition.
  • If there isn’t an obvious reason to celebrate, invent one.

Make fathering as easy for yourself as possible by making sure you keep as fit and healthy as you can. Exercise regularly, eat properly, and get adequate sleep. Share problems and issues with other people, and get support when you need it – don’t imagine you have to cope with everything yourself.

  • Be active with your kids – go bike riding together, kick the footy around at the park, or shoot some hoops
  • Learn to cook healthy meals with the kids
  • Take all your holidays, and use at least some of them to take family vacations away from home
  • If you feel you are not coping, get help. Talk to your partner, counsellors at work, or your local health service

Share a laugh
Telling jokes, watching a comical TV show or film together, or sharing a story of something funny that happened, are not only good for you, but they help build relationships and ease tensions.

  • Tell your kids “Dad jokes”
  • Leave funny notes in their lunchboxes or send them a jokey text
  • Share funny news stories via email
Teenagers and their fathers / father-figures
  • Being a good father means giving a reasonable degree of freedom.
  • Discipline is best given in an atmosphere of unconditional love and specialness.
  • Sometimes teenagers will push fathers away just when they really want us to stay and listen to them.
Spend time with your child on a trip away together.
  • Take one child at a time, and no other adults should come.
  • The best time to start taking your child overseas is when they are between seven and ten.
  • It doesn’t have to be overseas or interstate – the next town will do.
  • Stay overnight if possible.

Mother day: What is your role?
This Sunday (May 14) is Mother’s Day, a day for kids around the world to acknowledge and thank Mum for all the hard work she puts into raising them. Dads are expected to help decide on and purchase the gifts, assist with preparing breakfast in bed or another special meal, and generally make sure Mum gets a day off, right? Well, yes and no.
Here are a few other suggestions:

  • Spend time with the kids planning the day.
  • Help the children make personalised gifts and cards at home – they are always more appreciated and treasured than the store-bought variety.
  • Don’t forget your own Mum – give her a call, drop in to visit and/or share a meal.
  • Thank your wife or partner for the wonderful way she is helping bring up your children.
  • Start a family ritual for the day – an activity or outing you all do together.
Use your weekends and vacations
  • Attend the kids sports and other interests (even if you don’t find some of it entertaining)
  • Cook a special meal once a week/month, eg a pancake breakfast
  • Take all of your allocated vacation time

Ask the kids what they would like to do, plan trips with them