Dads – Partners in parenting

The COPMI national initiative

This information sheet provides information specifically for dads about being partners in parenting, to benefit your child.

Children accept that all families have problems at times. They don’t expect them to be perfect. But when you and your partner disagree, it’s how you sort it out that’s important for your child’s wellbeing.

What’s best for my child?

A major factor contributing to a child’s emotional development and wellbeing, is a positive, supportive relationship between parents. Cooperative relationships between mum and dad help children feel secure. When a father shows respect towards his children’s mother, he is supporting his children. This is also true if he is separated from the mother.

When you demonstrate cooperation, especially throughout difficulties which stimulate conflict, you are effectively teaching your child how to work through problems effectively too.

What you can do

  • Demonstrate respect
    During tense times children can feel the stress between parents. Speaking respectfully to and about their mother helps them develop positive attitudes about themselves.
  • Think of your children
    Sometimes when it’s hard focussing on the positives, try thinking of your child’s wellbeing for extra motivation.
  • Understand the consequences
    While an emotionally supportive relationship between parents is a protective factor for children, the opposite is also true.
  • Talk with your children
    Discuss the effects of the mental illness to help them understand what might happen when you (or mum) becomes unwell.
  • Think about what you say
    Talk about the illness rather than the person. eg. don’t say “your cranky mother!” Rather, ‘the illness is making mum cranky”.
  • Make time for yourself
    Find time to do things for yourself while a family member or another support person helps out.

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