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Supporting dads to build safe and happy families

When Peter separated from his partner Nichole, he became the primary carer for his children Andrew and Josh. It was a challenging time as Peter managed his ex-partner’s mental health and substance abuse issues as well as trying to come to terms with life as a single dad.

The role of fathers has changed through the years and being a dad can be tough — but no one has to do it alone. The right support helps dads build happy, safe and healthy families.

The first steps as a single dad

Peter was referred to Brighter Futures Northern Sydney, a program working with families with young children from 0-9 years old. Through education, support and services the participants are encouraged to connect with their children and the community.

A key part of their approach is Male Inclusion support for fathers to help them understand and engage with their child’s development and wellbeing. This support focuses on encouraging positive values, building parenting skills, and connecting fathers to services and support in their community - all while helping them understand what their role as a father means.

Managing conflict for the best outcomes

As well as building parenting skills, the program supported Peter and Nichole to navigate family disagreements and put children first. Nichole had rejected Andrew’s diagnosis with ADHD and blamed a poor relationship with teachers.

The team at Brighter Futures supported Peter to get a second opinion, to communicate with Nichole to accept the diagnosis, and to work with her to improve Andrew’s school behaviour and performance. The relationship between the parents continues to improve and the foundation for a harmonious family unit where the children always come first.

Building skills for the future

Support via the program did more for Peter than just boost confidence in his single parenting skills — he is at TAFE building the skills to open his own business. And by engaging in his childrn’s development, he’s giving them the best possible start in life.

It’s OK for dads to need support to keep things on track and be the best parent they can. To find out more about the Brighter futures program, the services and more click here.

*Names and images may have been changed to protect members of the family