Dad-proof tips: Modelling respectful and healthy relationships

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As a father you are uniquely placed to demonstrate strength and gentleness. This is important because those children whose fathers’ parent with warmth and love will have the best outcomes.

You are your children’s first models of what healthy relationships look and feel like. Your children are going to look to you for how to treat other people and how to expect to be treated by others.

Fathers can particularly have a significant impact on how children perceive women should be treated. This will be demonstrated through how you show respect to the women in your life, be that your partner, sister, mother, friend or daughter.

Top Tips for Dads

  • Role model unconditional love, by showing your children that their behaviours do not influence the love they receive.
  • Role model positive, healthy relationships. Your children are learning from the relationships you have with other family members, friends, your partner, and your children.
  • Children are always watching how you interact with females in your day to day life.
  • If you have a son, you are setting an example for how they can go on to treat women.
  • If you have a daughter, you are showing them how they can expect to be treated by men.

“Fathers step up.  Dads can’t leave consent and sexuality education to mothers, which still appears to be the case in many families. Fathers can help their daughters develop the confidence to say no by regular interactions with their daughters and encouraging them to be assertive. If they feel comfortable telling you to stop a game, they are more likely to feel comfortable saying no to other males in their lives later in life. Open the door to conversations about sexuality, relationships and consent with your teenage daughter, and she’ll know she has a willing ally in you. Fathers can model respectful behaviours for their sons through their treatment of women at home, and in the community at large. Start by calling out displays of derogatory behaviour towards women by men or young people. Reinforce in your sons that they the standard of behaviour they ignore is the standard of behaviour that they accept. There are many powerful lessons that boys can absorb from their fathers”.  Michael Grose

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