Fathers for Families
It's all about the dads on this ten week programme lead by David Ringrose has worked for FSM for ten years. He tells us about the Fathers For Families group he has run for for five years.
“In the past, we gave our children away to other people to teach, but I began to realise that we our own child’s best teacher, that parents are essential to helping children reach their full potential.
In spite of this fact, dad were still reporting that they were being left out of the parenting process. I saw some dads with children who had major health issues, even life threatening, and the dads were treated like a third party by those involved in their child’s care, hovering in the corner. The GPs, Plunket, social workers – they would often focus on mum’s, and the men told me that they felt excluded. This experience doesn’t really set men up to be good fathers. It makes them feel like parenting is not their responsibility.
I wanted to start a group to help support men to become engaged fathers. The core idea behind Fathers for Families is ‘better men, better fathers’. As a father you are a coach, a coach for your child. If you were coaching a football team you’d want to up-skill yourself, to know what works and what doesn’t, what techniques can enhance the team. We parent largely by trial and error and our children live through those errors. Even if we have a good blue print from our own parents it doesn’t fully prepare us. What happens in the early days of a child’s life can affect them physically and emotionally in the long term.
We want to give our fathers the knowledge they need to parent well, and the skills. We want to help them get rid of negative beliefs about themselves – did someone once tell you that you were useless at drawing? I’ve seen men carry a belief like this from childhood and it affects how they behave. We get our dads to unlock those negative beliefs that have limited us in life.
I’m just amazed by some of our guys. Men that were abused as children, who have gone through Youth Justice, who have been in care and in prison - then they come to us and want to be a good man in their 20s and 30s. Their resilience just blows me away. Many people would have given up, but they’re trying to pull themselves up. It’s incredible and we want to help.”
Fathers for Families offer a ten week course addressing issues like controlling anger, how violence, drugs and alcohol affect children, and setting values and goals. Ultimately, it enables men to become the father they want to be and there is an ongoing Monday evening support group for graduates of the programme.
If you'd like help to become a better dad, but aren't sure where to start, give us a call or send us an email.