One Hundred Dads project
“There was a huge deficit in programs that supported dads in the very early years. Responding to research, Tweddle set about doing something about it.”
In 2016/17 fifty-nine dads from 17 suburbs across Melbourne’s west took part in a new after hours parenting program called ‘Working Out Dads’ developed by men’s group-work academic Andrew King and Tweddle and partially funded by Wyndham City Council and North Western Melbourne PHN.
‘Working Out Dads’ is a 6 week, therapeutic after hours program for dads of 0-4 aged children. The program combines one hour of facilitated discussion and a 30 minute workout for ten dads. The program includes pre and post mental health and parenting confidence evaluation, hand-outs, weekly text messages, online resources, confidentiality and friendship. The groups were held in non-stigmatizing fitness centres.
‘Working Out Dads’ takes a preventative approach to men’s health, isolation, relationships and parenting confidence. While there are multiple programs and significant resources targeting family conflict, few exist to support dads through one of the most stressful periods in a relationship, the transition to parenting.
The ‘Working Out Dads’ pilot was associated with decreased depressive, anxiety and stress symptoms, increased parenting confidence and strengthened parenting behaviour and couple/family relationships. Dads made friends and were connected to community supports.
Tweddle has a goal to raise $100,000 to support One Hundred Dads to participate in ten, 6 week ‘Working Out Dads’ programs. We are seeking one hundred businesses/individuals to donate $1,000 (or smaller amounts) to help us reach our goal by June 2018. Tweddle will launch ten Working Out Dads programs for one hundred dads in the six western municipalities of Maribyrnong, Wyndham, Brimbank, Moonee Valley, Melton and Hobsons Bay. Donations are tax deductible.
Tweddle will commence recruitment for each Working Out Dads program for every $10,000 raised.
Supporters will be gratefully acknowledged on the Tweddle website, on flyers and with the 100 dads. Supporters will receive a report on the outcomes of the groups and an invitation to join a group (if you are a dad of a child aged 0-4).
The CWA of Footscray has kicked off the One Hundred Dads project with a donation of $800, acknowledging the importance of dads to the lives of their children. Thank you from everyone at Tweddle.
Why help dads?
Conclusive, compelling research confirms dads play a significant role in the social, cognitive, emotional and physical well-being of their children from infancy with lasting influences into their adult life.
The first year after having a baby is a period when some fathers are at risk of isolation and psychological challenges. Fathering research conducted at Tweddle in 2012 by the Parenting Research Centre showed the majority of fathers admitted to a residential program had mental health symptoms, and one in five men were experiencing clinically significant levels of distress.
Distressed fathers reported poorer physical health and limited opportunity to eat well, exercise regularly or have leisure time. Poor father-child relationships can negatively impact on a child’s mental health both in childhood and later during adolescence an into adulthood. (Morgan Z, Brugha T, Stewart-Brown 2012)
The Working Out Dads pilot aimed to address a significant gap in knowledge about the effectiveness of early intervention and prevention approaches to promote the health and well-being of fathers in the early years of parenting, to inform policy and best practice in promoting the mental health of fathers and the prevention of family conflict.
Tweddle developed a psychometrically sound self-report questionnaire as part of Working Out Dads. Documented feedback reinforced that the program empowered participants. An indicative sample of feedback included;
“I will be able to seek help when I find it difficult”
“It was great being able to share experiences and hear other dads are facing the same problems so we’re not alone”
“I have learnt that the challenges that I will face in the future as a parent are normal and that I just need to learn to manage them”
“I have an awareness of how to communicate effectively with all those around me in particular my partner”
“I’ve learned about my stress and about talking to my partner and child more”
Get on board
Tweddle’s ‘One Hundred Dads’ is a social impact project and donations are tax deductible. We invite you to help more dads in the community connect with their babies and young children and learn how important they are in the lives of their families. Contact Tweddle’s Communications Manager on (03) 9689 1577 or send an email . Read and share the One Hundred Dads Project flyer and help change the community one dad at a time.
‘Babies and young children need engaged, supported dads for better life outcomes’