For many dads, letting go of the way their fathers showed them how to parent (in a more traditional way) can be challenging.
That's one of the reasons why Dr Bruce Robertson founded The Fathering Project, a peer-to-peer support group and online resource for dads.
Bruce told Kinderling the idea came to him while he was working as a doctor:
“In my role as a doctor [I often hear dads] talk reflectively: 'I wish I’d spent more time with my kids'. Or, 'I wish someone had told me how important it was to be a dad and how to do it'."
Listen to Dr Bruce Roberston on Kinderling Conversation:
Traditional roles not reflective of nurturing, loving roles
For dads who grew up with more traditional role models, the modern issues facing kids like cyber-bullying, obesity, pornography and drugs can seem bewildering.
The Fathering Project peer support program addresses these issues by showing men that their role as dad is really important, and helps them learn - in lots of different ways - how to do it.
“Our work in The Fathering Project has shown us that if these two areas are addressed, then men can change,” says Bruce.
A big part of the project is going to schools and speaking with dads to encourage them to pull together.
“We champion dads' groups in these meetings, which encourages men who might not know what to do,” says Bruce.
“The idea that men can’t talk about it is not correct because they do love their kids and they want to be a good dad. When you get a bunch of dads together, it’s not natural to them but they can get into it quickly.”
Dads learn how to parent differently to mums
When researching for The Fathering Project, Bruce noticed how popular parenting books were mostly read by mums.
“It’s all very well to write a 200-page book for men, but they won’t read it … I wrote something short that I call a ‘dunny book’, which means dads can just pick it up and flick through a few points.”
As part of the project, dads will also receive an email tip once a week and have access to The Fathering Project website that’s full of resources.
Aim for a rich and fulfilling inner life
The key to happiness as a parent is not to compartmentalise your work responsibilities from your family life and your relationship with yourself.
Dads who have active relationships with their mates - like heading away for the weekend with the boys - are role modelling to their kids the importance of a rich life.
“It shows your kids that you are not ‘just’ a dad, but also a person and good friend. As long as you offer the same opportunity to your partner to also get away, and be willing to look after the kids,” says Bruce.
“It’s all about learning how to parent and making it part of having a rich and fulfilling life.”
Dads and PND: Why texting is part of the solution
Becoming a dad turns a person’s life around, as much as becoming a mum.
Why dads need to start owning their mental health. Now.
Be brave for yourself, but be brave for your family too.
Why daughters need their dads to step up (not back)
Author Madonna King has some thoughts on how dads can stay connected to their girls, even when they're being pushed away.
Middle child traits we bet you can spot in your second born
Middle child truths that all parents of three or more kiddos will know to be true.
Save those precious drops! 7 ways to raise little water warriors
Seven easy ways to teach our kids to conserve water.
Chinese New Year: Welcome to the Year of the Rat!
What to expect from babies born in the Year of the Rat.
Ewww! 6 weird (and kinda gross) ways kids show us their love
Kids show their love in the weirdest of ways!
Is your child "tired and wired"? This might be why
The little-known way getting up after bedtime can sabotage your kids’ sleep.