Dads the focus at fortnightly support meetings
We’ve all heard plenty about mother’s groups, which are often set up by hospitals and antenatal groups to offer support and advice to new mothers.
But what about father’s groups – or a place where men can gather to discuss how to support their partners and how to do the best by their children?
While they’re not as common as the female versions, dad’s groups are popping up throughout the country, as more fathers take on responsibility for childcare.
At Goodstart Tuggerah, a father’s group is held every fortnight on Thursday nights, along with social events once a month on Saturdays.
Goodstart Early Learning Tuggerah centre director Adam Angwin said generally there were limited support networks and resources to support new fathers, who face the same challenges and concerns as their partners.
“Our aim at the centre is to provide integrated community services which align with the needs of our children, families and community,” Mr Angwin said.
“Through ethnological studies with families it was identified that regardless of their socio-economic background, culture or family structure many of our families identified social isolation as one of their biggest concerns.
“Quite often in this situation, the conversation will head straight toward mothers but we were mindful that fathers face the same challenges and concern.”
Research also shows more dads are also choosing the stay at home with the children while the mum works. A study by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, reveals about 80,000 Australian families now have a stay-at-home dad, up from 68,500 in just seven years.
The team includes 10 male educators who saw the opportunity to play a role supporting fathers through a networking group that connected them socially with other fathers.
It also provided them with a space for discussions and support on topics that impacted their families.
“We felt engaging fathers in a group where their children are also welcomed allowed us the opportunity to also discuss the importance of fathers participating in child lead play to support their child’s development,” Mr Angwin.
The topics discussed at the groups are wide and varies with a focus on play and fathers’ well-being.