Un­der­stand­ing the role of fa­ther­hood

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS -

A FA­THER is one of the most im­por­tant peo­ple in a child’s life, so the South­ern Gazette looked at how dads can in­flu­ence their chil­dren.

Kens­ing­ton-based Ngala runs the Dads WA pro­gram, which aims to en­gage men in early par­ent­ing.

Fa­ther in­clu­sive prac­tice ed­u­ca­tor Keith Read said mod­ern fathers were more in­volved than pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions and it was im­por­tant to ac­knowl­edge they could bring a dif­fer­ent ap­proach to par­ent­ing.

“Dads can be ac­cused of do­ing the fun par­ent­ing or ex­cit­ing their chil­dren too much, but re­search tells us that the sort of par­ent­ing in­ter­ac­tions that dads tend to have with their chil­dren play a very im­por­tant role in grow­ing happy and healthy chil­dren, par­tic­u­larly in the sig­nif­i­cant first five years of de­vel­op­ment,” he said.

Fathers of­ten liked to ex­cite their chil­dren by be­ing phys­i­cal, us­ing dad hu­mour and through friendly teas­ing and play­ing games, and Mr Read said as long as the baby or child felt happy and se­cure, this was ben­e­fi­cial for their phys­i­cal and emo­tional growth.

“Chal­leng­ing and ex­cit­ing chil­dren with age-ap­pro­pri­ate rough and tum­ble play like swing­ing and lift­ing, chasey, or play fight­ing, and sup­port­ing them ex­plor­ing and tak­ing some ap­pro­pri­ate risks helps them de­velop re­silience, the abil­ity to adapt and bounce back from set­backs we all face in life,” he said.

2013 Western Aus­tralian of the Year Bruce Robin­son leads The Fathering Pro­ject, a non-profit team who aim to help fathers re­alise how im­por­tant they are in a child’s life and to give ad­vice on how to en­cour­age their chil­dren.

For more on the pro­ject, visit the­fa­ther­ing­pro­ject.org.

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