If you’d asked me 13 years ago when my son was born if there was a need for a community to support dads I would have said ‘No I’m good’. But in hindsight the need for fathers to have a support network is immense. The narrative for men has, for far too long, been one that perpetuates a bravado and an ‘I can cope by myself’ attitude. And even if a man would appreciate a little help figuring out fatherhood, often they wont say. This attitude is actually detrimental to growth as a parent. And more importantly it can lead to mental health issues and worse. Which is why things need to change.
The figures speak for themselves
- In 2018, 6507 people took their own lives in the UK.
- 4903 of them were men. That’s a whopping 75%
- These figures are up nearly 11% on the year before
- The figures are highest in the 45-54 age group
*statistics taken from Samaratains Suicide Stats report 2019
Although it’s hard to know how many of these suicides are committed by fathers it’s safe to say it’s too many. Mental health issues are one of the biggest causes and with the right support these figures can definitely be reduced.
Yeah but ‘I’ won’t ever need help…
Having taken care of my mental health I am lucky enough to say I haven’t struggled with it. But having spoken to many Dads who have suffered, there is a common theme that comes through. The statements that keep coming back are; ‘I never thought I would suffer with this’, I didn’t talk to anyone’, ‘I thought I could deal with it’, ‘I didn’t know until I had a breakdown’. If you would like to hear first hand from one of these individuals, check out one of our Dad Chats guests Mark Williams story.
These statements suggest that the ‘I can cope by myself’ attitude is directly influencing the mental health problems dads face. Therefore we should all keep a check on ourselves and realise we are only human. And being part of a good community to support dads, where people share experiences is a great first step.
What do you gain from being in a good parenting group?
There are so many different things you can gain from talking to other parents. Although everyone appreciates different aspects but here are a few of the golden ones:
You can get a different opinion on things. Sometimes for what ever reason, people find it hard to take advice from those closest to them. However, when they hear the same advice from people who are not in their family circle suddenly they are willing to try new things.
They can provide a space where you are not judged. Nobody knows everything about being a parent and sometimes you may want to ask a question but might be worried about the response you’ll get. Nobody want to ask a silly question. Well in a good group there are no silly questions. Because you’re all there to share and learn.
Your confidence as a Parent will grow. They more you interact with other parents, share stories, give each other advice, the more you will understand about your own parenting situation. And in turn the more you understand situations the more confidence you have in dealing with them.
They can provide light relief from Parenting. Not all the chat in a good community to support dads is about parenting. Sometimes it’s the fun and banter you need to forget about parenting for a moment and take the pressure off. We all know a good laugh with friends can be the best thing for our mental state. Parent groups understand this more than you know.
Other parents can provide resources. It’s impossible for us to know where all the good resources for parents are. But imagine having 20 other parents all looking out for great resources and sharing them which each other. You cover a lot more ground.
Reduced stress levels mean a better daddy for the kids. When we are stressed we don’t parent as well, and our kids pick up on this. Nobody wants to snap at their child but it happens. But some of these moments can be avoided altogether if we remove the stress. Parent Groups can do just that.
Do you need more reasons?
If you don’t want to take my word for it, look to those who have directly benefitted from a community that supports dads. Their testimonials should make you realise. It’s not about being weak, it’s not about being embarassed. It’s about our kids getting the best Dads they can have! And isn’t that something we all want?
Has this post helped you?
Has this post got you thinking about parenting and support you may need? Maybe you have your own experiences you’d like to share with us? Please leave your comments in the section below and share this post and other Dadvengers Posts with your family and parenting friends.
Dadvengers is a community of parents (that’s Mums and Dad’s) focused on supporting Dads on their journey through parenthood.