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Being a father

There are lots of different kinds of dads—traditional, step-parent or a single parent. Their roles are changing. Dads and men are becoming more involved with helping to grow up kids and act as role models. 
When dads are involved with their kids every day it builds stronger relationships. Kids do different things with men than they do with women.

Sometimes it can be hard being a father but it is important to stay on track because you are important to your family. As a father you have many new responsibilities and things will change for you.
Your relationship with the mother of your children will change and while your kids are growing up you will have less time to spend with each other.

New dads might sometimes feel left out when the baby is born because the mum has less time and energy to spend with them.

Your help to look after the new baby will help everyone. It is also a good way to get to know your kids and learn about being a dad.

Being a strong role model is important for fathers

How you act teaches your kids how to act when they grow up. Some ideas that might help being a strong role model include:

  • Teach your kids respect by being a good role model. 
  • Your daughter will learn about male/female relationships by watching you—it is important she sees you showing care and respect to women in the family. 
  • Your son will watch you and copy what you do—this is how he learns about being a man, male/female relationships, friendships and his role in the community and family. 

Men say they're doing a good job when their kids are:

  • happy, healthy and strong 
  • doing well at school to have enough education to get a job 
  • staying out of trouble with the police 
  • staying in touch with family and community when they grow up 
  • showing respect for family, elders and others in the community 
  • staying in a happy relationship when they grow up. 

Benefits for children who have a strong relationship with their father:

  • Better results at school
  • Less likely to get into trouble
  • Have better relationships
  • Have a stronger connection with their community

Adapted from www.communities.wa.gov.au/DFC, Dec 2007, by permission

For support on this topic

For general peer support and advice in relation to this topic, please visit our forum.
MensLine Australia has professional counsellors available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing confidential and anonymous information and support for all relationship issues. Call us on 1300 78 99 78 or register for online counselling.