Dad’s mental health matters too. Dad’s have a unique and great impact on their child’s social and emotional development. Listed below are five starting places for Dad’s to explore their role as a parent and caring for their own mental health.
Dad’s are an important member of the parenting team. The Centre for Perinatal Excellence (COPE) have developed a number of resources with valuable and down to earth advice for fathers and partners on adjusting to life with a baby. COPE explores topics such as what to expect during pregnancy, birth, and life with a baby. Information is included on the signs of anxiety and depression to look out for in men. There are also tips for maintaining positive wellbeing during this transitional time.
Dad’s can understand what skills and difficulties are age-appropriate. The Raising Children Network and KidsMatter websites provide information on what to expect from children at different ages and when to seek advice regarding a child’s development. Through learning about typical development, dad’s can feel more confident about understanding the many changes that happen as children grow up and how to support their relationship with their child.
Dad’s have strengths that make them great parents. Take a moment to reflect on what qualities are important to you as a parent. Consider how day to day interactions with your child may or may not display these qualities. It can be easy to miss the remarkable moments of strength, kindness and wisdom that all parents share with their family.
Dad’s can seek support for parenting skills. Participating in a group program can be a great opportunity to connect with other people who may be experiencing similar challenges to your family. It can also offer a chance to hear different strategies and ideas that might work in your family. Evidence based programs include Tuning into Kids, Triple P, and Health Dads Healthy Kids. Sometime attending a program isn’t feasible. Luckily, there are online options such as ParentWorks that can be done at home and at your own pace.
Reach out to employers for organisational support. Balancing multiple priorities such as family, friends, work, and leisure activities can be a stretch. If you are feeling stressed or down you may be able to access an employer assistance program (EAP) giving you access to short-term counselling. Alternatively, it may be possible to have a conversation with an employer around family friendly work arrangements.