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Dads are very important in children's lives. When dads spend time talking and playing with children it benefits everyone in the family. However you were brought up, you can be the kind of dad you want to be for your children.
When you are a dad, the most important thing you can give children is your love.
- Be involved and spend time with children.
- Show you are proud of them.
- Encourage children to aim high in life.
- Help them have a strong Aboriginal identity and learn about culture.
Aboriginal men have an important role to play in shaping future generations.
Children benefit when dads:
- care for babies right from the start
- have fun and play with children - they will love it!
- share books and help children to learn
- are involved with school, activities and sports
- are there for children as they grow up.
A hug from dad is special!
Dads can live with their children, or be away for many reasons. If you are away, you could:
- phone or visit as much as you can
- remember special occasions such as birthdays.
If you are separated from your child's mum, it is best for everyone if you get along. This isn't always easy. Try to:
- talk kindly to mum and other family members
- put children's needs first and work out what is best for them
- stay calm - it upsets children to see you angry. Remember children learn from what you do.
Dads can show their sons what it means to be a man, and show daughters how women should be treated.
Children need to know that you love them, even if you can't be there.
If you have been away from children, you might worry about connecting again. It's never too late to try - even if it's hard. Take small steps and be patient. Get some support if you need it.
It's never too late to make positive changes in life.
Sometimes it's harder to be a dad if there are problems in your life. There might be things from the past, or problems with health, alcohol, drugs, or the law. Whatever's going on, you can still be a good dad.
- Let children know you love them. Be caring and reliable.
- Start dealing with problems. Even small steps can make a big difference.
- Talk with trusted friends or family especially if you feel low.
- Join a men's group and talk with other dads.
- Find services that can help. Aboriginal health services are a good place to start.
- Do things you enjoy - connect with culture. Feel good about yourself.
- See a doctor and take their advice. Limit or quit alcohol and smoking. Don't take drugs. Try to eat well and be active.
- Getting help when you need it is part of being a good dad.
Looking after yourself gives you more energy for being a dad!