Building Better Fathers program meets dads' needs
A Gold Coast parenting course tailored to suiting the needs of dads is proving to be a popular and perennially attended chapter in the curriculum of fathers.
In the absence of anything like it to support men’s journey into fatherhood, Tim Fisk started the program six years as part of the Complete Men offering. Complete Men’s mission is to “inspire men of all ages to reach their full potential”, and to support programs for men to engage in men’s groups and related personal growth activities.
The course, Building Better Fathers, is now fully funded by the Trinity Family Support Network and delivered by facilitator Bowen Miller, who is about to roll out the tenth BBF workshop.
When developing a best practice parenting program for men, the first decision was timing. “A lot of parenting courses are good, but on during the day and not generally focused on fathers,” says Bowen. The eight-week course runs for eight weeks, from 7-9.30pm, and can take between 13 and 15 participants, who each pay a minimal $100. The course is open to men at various stages of the parenting journey, but with children aged 0-8 years.
Part of the course is about providing dads with the tools to be more effective, engaged parents, and to explore their own relationship with fathering. For example, they are asked to imagine attending their own funeral where their kids are delivering a eulogy. What would they like to hear said about them? The men are given ‘emotional coaching’ and listening skills as well as crisis management tools in how to de-escalate situations.
“One of the good parts of this program is fathers who have done the course before come back, a third to half are returning fathers,” says Bowen. “That works well in being able to mentor and get alongside the fathers.”
One participant who came from a domestic violence situation where he was the perpetrator and no longer permitted to see his kids, learned how to listen to his ex-partner, listen to what was going on in specific situations and respond.
“He’s now a leader of the course and halfway through a nutrition degree because his son has diabetes."
Half of the men who attend BBF are in serious crisis situations, such as navigating messy divorces and who are unable to see their children. The other fathers are not in crisis. “The group is as much focused on the fathers and looking after them, as they are on the content.” When the course finishes, the dads are encouraged to expand their social networks and connect with other fathers.
WHAT DOES THE 8 WEEK PROGRAM COVER?
Learn some simple yet really effective parenting tools
Having a support network and good mates for fun activities with the kids
Healthy Dad Boundaries – when to address challenging behaviours and when to let it go
Dealing with frustration – respond or react – it’s your choice
Learn from other dads also sharing similar challenges to you
The Oxygen Mask Rule – when to care for yourself first so as to better care for others
Understanding kids, connecting and parenting styles
Special Dads for Special Needs Kids – All kids are special
Have a "Flight Simulator" where you can practice new approaches and skills - a safe environment where nobody gets hurt.
Blended, Separated or Nuclear families – different styles of fathering
For more information or registration call Bowen on 07 5618 8235
The next course starts on 11th October 2022.