Being a Dad
Hi everyone, I’m Niko. I am really excited let you know about my new role as Dads Worker in Edinburgh. I’ll be trying to write this blog regularly to create a wee space for us to think about dads and how we support them to achieve the best outcomes for their children.
So what does it mean to be a dad (or a male caregiver) in today’s world? Well for me it means being a positive male role model for your children. But what tools do we have to become successful in meeting our roles and responsibilities as dads?
When I became a dad for the first time I wasn’t sure what to do or how to act. What were all the dos and don’ts?
I remember those first few days and weeks as I tried my best to be a hands-on dad. I was really keen to be supportive and help my family as much I could. It was so busy! We had so many people visiting our home – family, friends, health visitor and nurses. My partner was offered all kind of support like a psychologist, meetings with other new mums, coffee mornings and mums’ support groups. This was all brilliant but I realised that often no-one asked me how I was coping and dealing with these life-changing events. And boy was it a change! Thinking back, I could actually have done with a bit of support too.
I have really drawn on these experiences to shape this new role at Children 1st to provide support to dads, aided by the Cattanach Trust. At Children 1st, we like to ‘think children, think family’, so while I support everyone who is important in a child’s life, I am also ‘thinking dad’ and paying special attention to those times where that extra input from dad will make a big difference for little ones. Where there are barriers to doing this, then I help fathers to overcome them. If relationships need repaired then I will help dads repair them. While families come in all shapes and sizes I work with dads to ensure their kids needs’ remain at the heart of our work.
For those of us who have a passion for supporting children and families I also want us to reflect on how we engage with dads and how we can be inclusive in our work. Are we doing everything we can to make sure fathers are included in decision-making? Do we include them during those important first home visits? When parents are separated, do we make sure dad is involved and equally accountable for his children? We are having those conversations in our team and already it is making us think a bit differently about how we work to involve dads.
I am already so busy, it’s been great to see that including dads is high on the agenda in Edinburgh.
Anyway, back to work. If you have any thoughts about dads work then let me hear them. If you are a dad and want to discuss anything, give me a call! So let’s keep the ball rolling and get out there and engage with dads and their children.
Speak soon, Niko
Oh, by the way – check out some of the other work with dads across Scotland at Fathers Network Scotland.