Fatherhood and parenting

We are developing a range of programmes on fatherhood and parenting; and also Pre-natal, Early Years, Non-resident & Young Fathers.

We also offer a specialist Caring Dads programme. 

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Grandfather, Father, son

 

 
 
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The Caring Dads Programme is an internationally accredited intervention for men who have been physically or emotionally abusive towards their children, their partners, or their children’s mothers. Not all of the men referred to the programme have convictions for domestic abuse/violence, but all have come to the attention of statutory authorities for negative behaviour within their families.

The primary purpose of the Caring Dads Programme is to improve the parenting skills of the fathers who attend. The intervention raises their awareness of abusive, ‘parent centred’ parenting practices and advances alternative, ‘child-centred’ strategies. The fathers learn to identify and replace shaming, intimidating and violent ways of relating to their children with fathering techniques that put the needs of their children first. The fathers are given information to help them recognise those needs and how they are expressed by children of different ages. We discuss how these needs change as their children grow-up, and suggest ways to adapt their fathering strategies so that they are appropriate for their children at every age and stage of their development. We spend considerable time with the fathers discussing ways of communicating with their children, ways of playing and spending time with them, and of setting boundaries and disciplining them without resorting to angry outbursts of shouting; shaming, humiliating or intimidating their children; or resorting to physical violence.

In addition to improving the men’s fathering skills, the programme directly addresses the abusive behaviour of the men. Caring Dads is unique because it sits at the intersection of domestic abuse/violence perpetrators’ programmes and parenting programmes. The men who attend are expected to acknowledge and take responsibility for their abusive parenting. We spend considerable time discussing the thoughts, feelings and actions that have lead to their abuse and suggesting ways in which men can work to change them.

In addition to thinking about their children, the men have to reflect on the impact of the maltreatment and abuse of their wives or partners upon their children. We discuss concrete ways for improving not only their relationships with their children but also with their children’s mothers or caretaking-mothers.

The Caring Dads Programme consist of eighteen weekly meetings, each two hours long, and led by two or three facilitators. The team of facilitators always includes a mix of men and women. Between eight and twelve men are admitted to the programme. The groups are run as facilitated, interactive discussions and the men are expected to participate fully them. The groups emphasise strengths-based learning. The facilitators seek to build on the parenting strengths the men already possess and discussions focus on brainstorming and problem-solving solutions to their fathering challenges. The discussions identify, and continually return to, the concrete changes the men can implement with their children and/or their wives or partners.

The groups make extensive use of video clips and role-play scenarios that effectively identify negative parenting strategies and facilitate the ‘role-modelling’ and learning of positive, child-centred alternatives.

In addition, to the group work, the men are given weekly homework. The assignments complement the discussions. They consist of focussed, concrete exercises that the men are expected to implement at home with their children and/or their wives or partners. In addition, the men are expected to keep a journal in which they record their successes or continuing challenges each week.

For further information on the Caring Dads Programme, please contact Mark Bond-Webster on 07817 570 471 or at caringdadsnorfolk@gmail.com.