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‘Family Man’ – Movember’s new program for Dads

Fatherhood

The men's health charity have designed an interactive online program which aims to support and advise dads...

For dads, the last year has provided many challenges as well as many rewards. And by ‘challenges’ we mean ‘forms of Hell’, for the home schooling alone has been hard to handle, never mind trying to keep little minds occupied while you squeeze in 3 minutes of uninterrupted work into the day.

No doubt that there has been a shift in parenting perspectives in lockdown, and though many women are reporting the burden of housework and childcare has sat with them rather than a male partner, from what we have seen there has also been a reassessment by fathers; a sense of valuing time with their children, even to the point of pursuing flexible working arrangements – seen as one reason behind an exodus from cities to the country.

The men’s health charity Movember have therefore perfectly timed a new online parenting program called Family Man. Their aim is to improve the confidence and mental health of dads by providing parenting strategies to improve child behaviour and reduce stress. They note that their research has told them that while 42% of dads feel anxious about being a ‘good father’, only 20% of dads have taken parenting courses. Family Man aims to fill in this gap with a free, interactive online program which dads can complete at their own pace. It’s fun too, with each animated episode featuring a father as the main character who has to deal with a challenging situation, like a full-on meltdown in public; you can select a range of responses and have some of the likely outcomes explained. It’s engaging, informative and very welcome, given the dearth of decent parenting advice out there for men.

Jane Endacott, director of digital health, mental health and suicide prevention at Movember says that getting dads more involved in parenting decisions can help to build a stronger and more connected family.“Being a parent can be a very rewarding experience, but it certainly isn’t always easy. Dealing with meltdowns in the supermarket or a child who repeatedly ignores instructions can be incredibly stressful,” said Jane. “It causes friction at home and over time that can impact the whole family’s mental wellbeing. There is a huge amount of research that shows parenting is more effective when it’s done as a team. We know that when dads are fully engaged in parenting decisions, it benefits the whole family.”

You can check out the program here.

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