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More positive outcomes for kids when dads get support for right mental health approach

Here’s some terrific news: you have the power to be a hugely positive influence on your kids’ life outcomes, despite whatever else may be happening around them! 

The more research is done, the more we can show that a person’s childhood experiences (positive or negative) have a huge influence on a whole range of physical, financial and emotional outcomes throughout adult life. That includes positive childhood experiences being a kind of ‘life umbrella’ that helps people cope with various challenges as they get older. And it’s not about family wealth – it’s about quality time and positive attention, consistency, and emotional security.

Being able to support your kids’ mental health and wellbeing starts with looking after your own – a message you may have heard but aren’t sure how to put it into practice. 

Carol Markie-Dadds (a great name for someone talking about fathers, don’t you think?) of Triple P International is a co-author of the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program®. She says fathers and father-figures are experiencing increased levels of anxiety and stress due to the pandemic and balancing work and family, which can in-turn, have a ripple effect on their relationships with their children.

“Lockdowns, changes in employment, and financial strain are having a greater impact on family relationships than ever before,” Ms Markie-Dadds says. “But, by looking after our own mental health and wellbeing, we’re better able to provide our children with a calm, low-stress home with plenty of fun and love.”

Triple P also helps remind parents that every parent needs support sometimes and there’s no such thing as the perfect parent. 

“We all have ups and downs, and that’s ok, but by role-modelling resilience and acknowledging that sometimes life may be uncertain, dads will be showing their children the coping skills needed to manage life’s challenges.”

Research also shows that children are more likely to develop good language, social and relationship skills when their fathers spend quality time reading and talking with them, and respond in sensitive ways to their behaviour. The good news is, it’s now easier than ever to get tips and tools for doing this effectively.

“We also understand that talking about our own mental health and parenting struggles can be daunting – that’s normal,” says Ms Markie-Dadds. 

The Triple P program helps dads understand that they’re not alone and provides them with practical strategies to raise confident and resilient children. 

Below is a taste of positive parenting principles to get you started and you can do a range of Triple P programs – visit the website for more information: 

  1. Have realistic expectations about what you and your children can do together that you will all enjoy
  2. Read and talk often with your child – listen too and show that you’re interested in what they have to say
  3. Take care of yourself and look after your own needs too
  4. Show them that you care – with your words and physical affection 
  5. Take some time every day to smile, laugh and enjoy the small things with your family, (and of course, keep those dad jokes coming).

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