I've had to break the bad news to men who've got lung cancer. I've had to do it hundreds of times. Sometimes I have to tell men, who are sitting there with their partner, that their cancer is incurable – that they've only got six months to live.
Their reaction varies a lot. Most blokes are philosophical – they're aware they have a shadow on their lung, so they're ready for the news. Other times, they can get upset. They may or may not cry, although their partner usually does.
If they mention regrets, they're nearly always the same. I've had so many men tell me they wish they'd spent more time with their kids, more time with their families.
But what happened was they got too sucked into their work.
At first, I was thinking about how to help dads, but then the focus became more about kids. Because there's a great deal of research that shows there's a strong link between good fathering and the reduction of the risks that kids face when it comes to drug abuse, alcohol, mental health and violence. The more involved a father is in his children's lives, the more likely they are to grow up happy and healthy.
We found that the most powerful untapped force for helping kids was to improve fathering. So the Fathering Project grew out of that.
We started almost 20 years ago and I think that men's attitudes to fatherhood have changed since then. Men are increasingly aware of just how important dads are.
They're aware that they're not just the icing on the cake; they are fundamental to their children's lives.
The young dads I work with now, they want to spend time with their families, much more so than back in the days when I was a young doctor.
But what's the good of knowing that you're important and then feeling guilty? At the Fathering Project, we share road-tested ideas that dads can actually use to positively engage with their kids. What's a good one?
Start organising "dad dates" – regular occasions when you spend one-on-one time with your child. If you have three kids, you'll organise three different dates. It's all about making the opportunity to talk with and listen to your children.
Right now, it's a good time to be a dad. When I was having children, there were no fathering groups – you'd just ask your wife. Now there's so much more knowledge and information that can help you be a better dad.
Today, I'm a grandparent. I watch my sons and see that they do a lot of the things with their kids that I did with them. They're committed dads and that's partly because if you've had one yourself, then you intuitively know what to do.
Fathering is so much harder if you've had no role model. That's why being a good dad can affect not just your kids, but generations to come.
I watch my sons being good dads with their children and I'm proud of them.
- Fashion TrendsThree spring clothing trends to welcome in the warmer weather
Now To LoveToday 4:12pm
- RoyalsThe date of Duchess Catherine and Prince William's tour to Pakistan has been revealed
Now To LoveToday 3:45pm
- RoyalsDuchess Meghan announces she's added another engagement to her South Africa tour itinerary
Now To LoveToday 10:20am
- BodyCould magnetic therapy be the solution to treating aches and pains?
Good Health ChoicesToday 8:15am
- BodyDr Libby on why we're overusing the word 'stressed' and how we should really be thinking about the term
Good Health ChoicesYesterday 12:00pm
- Family50 years on from the Manson murders Debra Tate speaks out about her sister Sharon's murder
The Australian Women's WeeklyYesterday 10:00am
- TVHow Athena Angelou went from homeless to radio star in just a few short years
Woman's DayYesterday 7:55am
- Diet & NutritionHow to ensure you're putting the most nutritious grocery options in your trolley
Good Health ChoicesSep 21, 2019
- CareerWhy Jennifer Aniston is looking to the future with a new focus
Now To LoveSep 21, 2019
- RoyalsPrince Harry shares more details about his upcoming mental health TV series with Oprah
Now To LoveSep 20, 2019
- CareerMy life is stranger than fiction says NZ Children's Book Awards winner Bren MacDibble
New Zealand Woman's WeeklySep 20, 2019