Dad-proof tip: Protecting Children

man carrying baby near the ocean

Protecting children and their overall wellbeing and safety is our prime responsibility as fathers and father figures.

Engaging in warm, supportive fathering is shown to support the emotional and social development of your child. Spend time with them. A safe and loving home is the foundation for a happy and healthy life.

  1. Check in with your children – understand how they are feeling. Learn to read their signals – address the root causes of stress amongst your children
  2. Engage in warm, supportive fathering. Children who have fathers who consistently spend time with them in warm, positive engagement, have fewer emotional and behavioural problems
  3. Check for signs of uncertainty amongst your children – make sure they feel comfortable and safe
  4. Have family meetings where you can discuss feelings
  5. A safe and loving home is the foundation for a happy and healthy life

Check in every day

Spend one-on-one time with each of your children every day to check in on their emotional wellbeing. Even if it’s just 5 or 10 minutes. Soon it will become an integral part of your day and theirs, for you to check in on how they are coping, emotionally, physically and socially. This habit will also strengthen your relationships and communication with your children. As your children grow, the nature of these routines will evolve – the important thing is to keep up the habit of spending time together.

Talk about body boundaries

Teach your kids that if they are uncomfortable, they should say “no,” and it is the other person’s responsibility to listen and stop immediately.

Top tips

  • Talk to your children about personal space and body boundaries. What is okay and what is not.
  • Teach your child how to say ‘no’ or ‘stop’ and other ways to communicate when they have had enough, don’t want to do something or what to stop something that makes them feel uncomfortable.
  • Teach your child about consent. For younger children – Asking if it is okay to give someone a hug. For older children explaining that they have the right to decide what they are/aren’t okay with regarding personal space and physical touch
  • Teach them to trust their feelings. If it doesn’t feel right to them, they should say ‘no’ or ‘stop’ and tell you about it as soon as they can.
  • Try some ‘What if…?’ Scenarios. ‘What if someone gives you a big hug and you don’t like it?’ ‘What if someone is hurting you when you are playing?’

(For older children include conversations about inappropriate behaviours, such as adults or older kids making inappropriate comments, asking them to keep secrets, taking or showing them pictures of a sexual nature).

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