Sunday Herald Sun - - News - SUSIE O’BRIEN AND TAMSIN ROSE

VIC­TO­RIAN dads feel con­fi­dent, well con­nected and close to their kids, a new sur­vey has found.

The Par­ent­ing Re­search Cen­tre sur­vey of 1044 fa­thers found eight out of 10 praise kids for do­ing well and twothirds talk to them about prob­lems.

They don’t yell or smack much, know where their kids are if they’re not at school and set bound­aries for safe in­ter­net use and free time.

More than eight out of 10 dads feel com­fort­able talking to their kids’ teach­ers, are con­fi­dent in sup­port­ing their school tran­si­tions and know how to help their child do well at school.

De­spite this, one in five has ex­pe­ri­enced de­pres­sion or anx­i­ety since hav­ing chil­dren, which af­fects their con­fi­dence. Of these, nearly one in 10 say they have ex­pe­ri­enced post­na­tal de­pres­sion.

“When fa­thers ex­pe­ri­ence men­tal illness, their chil­dren are at higher risk of be­havioural and emo­tional dif­fi­cult- ies,” Par­ent­ing Re­search Cen­tre prin­ci­pal re­search spe­cial­ist Dr Cather­ine Wade said.

The sur­vey re­sults also show just over half of the dads sur­veyed are sat­is­fied with the time they spend with their kids, 40 per cent think they are too im­pa­tient, 32 per cent say they can be too crit­i­cal with their kids and 31 per cent want to be con­sis­tent in their par­ent­ing.

Sand­hurst dad Di­dier Coignet, 39, said he loved be­ing a fa­ther to his daugh­ters Em­me­line, 5, and Scar­lett, 3.

“It’s worth mak­ing the ex­tra ef­fort,” Mr Coignet said. “It’s an ev­er­last­ing re­la­tion­ship. Your chil­dren are al­ways go­ing to be part of your life.”

Dr Wade said more ways to bet­ter en­gage dads in par­ent­ing sup­port ser­vices and in early ed­u­ca­tion and schools were needed to help them nav­i­gate con­fi­dently through par­ent­ing.

Di­dier Coignet with daugh­ter Emma, 5. Pic­ture: JAKE NOWAKOWSKI

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