Got a question about being a Dad? You’ve come to the right place.
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Being a dad is the most important job you’ll have and something that is truly rewarding. But it’s not to say it doesn’t come without challenges.

There is many a day where we question our capabilities and whether or not what we are experiencing is unique to us, or other dads too.

Whether it’s the fact no matter how hard you try, your toddler just refuses to go to bed, or your teenager has decided it’s no longer ‘cool’ to hang out with their dad, or, you’re at a loss on how to reconnect with your partner since the kids have now taken up whatever spare time you have left in the day.

No matter the circumstance, we encourage you to share your thoughts and write in your questions to HeyDad!

Each week a question will be selected and either put to the public, or answered by one of our experts. Visit The Fathering Channel every Tuesday to stay up to date. 

Disclaimer: The Fathering Project can’t provide individual advice. Any advice given in response to a question is general advice only, should you have any concerns there is qualified support available, visit our recommended support services. 

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Your Questions and Answers

Dad Question #1:

“Two of my kids love their online gaming, over the years it has become a constant tug of war with managing their screen time. When school holidays roll around, my partner and I find it even more difficult to monitor it and more often than not ends up in an argument between us and the kids when we try to get them off it. I’m looking for any advice on how best to manage this situation so they’re not glued to the screen all holidays!?”

Our Audience Choice Answer 

“I haven’t had to delve into this one yet as my kids are under 5. I loved gaming as a teenager and as an adult prior to having kids.
If possible…Maybe call a family meeting and break the topic down? What they think is a realistic time on the console and why, ensure they’re heard and then explain what you guys think is realistic and why.
Negotiate from there and make some rules moving forward. 
Maybe there’s peak times they want to play to speak to friends or family via headset so you can work that into the routine?
For example: “Ok so let’s plan that you can play at this time, for this long, as long as you’ve done A-B-C prior and ensure the console is off by 00:00 as we know it’s important to you that you play with your friend *Name*. Make sure you let let *Name* know the rules that WE have agree to”.
Might sound lame, but coming up with a contract together can let them feel heard and be more inclined to follow as they’ve helped with the rules set in place.
As a kid, my dad always told us on holidays you can play 1hr of gaming for every 3hrs you spend outside playing and being active AND having the chores completed. (Worked for me back then, but this whole online thing now is a game changer.)”

Dad Question #2:

I’m a dad of two teenage daughters, 13 and 16. When they were little we were really close – they were both a bit of a tom-boy, and seemed to gravitate more towards me and the things I liked to do.

Since they have gotten a bit older, I’ve noticed they have started to drift, the things they used to love doing with me they no longer show interest in. I’m worried it will continue down this path and our relationship won’t remain as strong as it once was when they were younger.

Any advice on how I can ‘stay relevant’ with my girls and not lose touch as they become young women?”

Our Audience Choice Answer
“The best thing to do is not force anything on them, they are becoming individuals with their own interests. Sometimes just having a simple conversation with them about their day is all you need to keep them close to you. Always include them in conversations and briefly tell them what’s going on in your day to day ventures. Ask them what they enjoy doing and where possible plan things as a family to do together.”

Dad Question #3:

I have a daughter from a previous relationship. Recently my Fiancé and I moved in together and we regularly have my daughter come to stay with us. It’s something new for all of us, but a big change, especially for my daughter and fiancè. Any advice to help our transition into the new living arrangements would be great, thanks.”

Our Audience Choice Answer
“Huge challenge and not one that I have had to deal with myself so can’t comment from personal experience and I expect every individual circumstance is different. Creating some opportunities to spend time together and break down barriers will be crucial.
Also imagine that your daughter really needs to know that her importance to you hasn’t changed and is just as much as ever, so she needs one to one time with you to help her understand that and make her feel valued and able to communicate that.
If the time is right maybe your fiancee and daughter can also spend some one on one time to help build and develop their own relationship but of course everyone needs to be emotionally ready before that can start to occur. Best of luck!”

Dad Question #4:

I’ve recently become a new dad. It’s been an exciting, but I must say, overwhelming journey. I’m wanting to develop a relationship and be as close to my baby as possible from the get go. I know baby is more inclined to be more attached to the mother in these early stages, but what can I do to start the bond?”

Our Audience Choice Answer
“Father researcher and fellow dad here. From what other dads have expressed through qualitative studies, getting hands on at every opportunity will help you to build bonds. This might be through traditional caregiving practices like changing or feeding baby, but it can also involve play. In fact, rather than being just a secondary attachment figure, evidence suggests fathers’ playful interactions with their children, even in early infancy, might reflect a unique feature of the father-child relationship. Best of luck in your journey!”
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