On Monday nights during the school term a group of fathers from the Blacktown Local Government Area travel to Anglicare Mt Druitt to support each other and discover helpful ways to love and care for their children.
The group is open to all men who are caring for children under the age of 13 years. They can be grandfathers, boyfriends or stepfathers as well as biological dads. Skills taught at Anglicare’s Fathers and Their Children Program’s Peer Support Group range from effective communication strategies to seeing the needs of their children at different stages of their development.
“Fathers matter,” says David Luxford, Anglicare’s Fathers and Their Children Program Coordinator.
“They play a very important role in the wellbeing of their family. Studies show children who have a father or a father figure who consistently parents well
Research also highlights the different and integral role fathers play in their children’s socialisation. For example, during the transition from childhood to adolescence, one US study found the social time teenagers spent with their father increased social skills and effective social interactions. Poor relationships and paternal behaviours on the other hand can result in poorer social functioning as the child grows up.
“Our Fathers and Their Children program work with men with the aim of fostering stronger and healthier relationships with their children,” David explains.
“The men we help love their kids, but being a dad can also be difficult at times. At our group we give fathers an opportunity to talk about what’s happening in their lives and look to support them with skills to assist them in their role. We offer practical living skills, financial information, communication tips as well as working with their expectations from the group.”
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