Father figures vital for healthy childhood development

30 August 2020





Act for Kids is urging fathers to spend quality time with their kids, as new figures confirm engaged dads play an important and irreplaceable role in child development and wellbeing.

Early figures from Act for Kids’ Australian-first family support program found: 85% of children who had an actively involved father or father figure showed positive outcomes, including improved emotional wellbeing, increased learning outcomes, fewer behaviour problems and stronger family relationships.

Act for Kids Executive Director Stephen Beckett said the impact of a supportive, loving and engaged father figure can be life changing for a child.

“Being an active father figure is one of the most important things dads, stepdads, granddads and uncles can do for kids.”

“Whether it’s attending tea parties or being a superhero, kicking the footy or reading a book, involved fathers play a significant role in the mental, emotional and social development of their children, with lasting influences into their adult life.”

“Sadly, society often places less value on the role of fathers, however having a father or father figure as a stable source of love and encouragement helps ensure that children grow up happy and healthy,” Mr Beckett said.

In the lead up to Father’s Day, Act for Kids has launched a campaign ‘Being Present is the Best Present’, calling on dads and father figures to help create stronger families and improve outcomes for their children by making a conscious effort to engage in their children’s lives.

Mr Beckett said it was important that families celebrate and inspire all different types of dads this Father’s Day.

“Father figures come in all shapes and sizes, and being a parent can sometimes lie with a less-traditional role-model. So, it’s important we celebrate all the different dads out there who help shape who we are.”

High profile dads supporting the ‘Being Present is the Best Present’ campaign include the Lord Mayor of Brisbane Cr Adrian Schrinner, the North Queensland Cowboys’ John Asiata, Minister for Police Mark Ryan, and the Property Council’s Chris Mountford.

The campaign also features every day dads talking about why they love being a father and encouraging others to play an active role in their child’s life.

Lord Mayor of Brisbane Cr Adrian Schrinner said a silver lining of the pandemic was the extra time he’s been able to spend with his wife Nina and kids, as a family.

“We can often forget to press pause on our busy lives, so this has given us a moment to take stock of what really matters and for me; it’s being there for my kids as they grow up,” Cr Schrinner said.

“It’s a blessing to be a father and I treasure every bit of time I have with the kids, even the total chaos that comes with having four kids under eight.”

“As a parent, your kids look to you and learn how to love and respect others, from the love you show them and also the way you treat other people,” Cr Schrinner said.

North Queensland Toyota Cowboys player John Asiata says being a hands-on father to his two children was a top priority for him.

“I want to be a good role model for my kids and caring for them is definitely a team effort with my wife,” John said.

“I believe our children need positive male mentors and figures in their lives, now more than ever with our young ones having to navigate different pressures growing up.”

“I encourage all fathers and father figures to be engaged and change a life for a child – it can be life-changing for you also.”

Minister for Police Mark Ryan said becoming a dad changed his life forever and for the better.

“But, as any new parent knows, it’s not always easy! Our two little boys can be a handful just like any little ones.”

“I’ve found fatherhood challenging in some really fundamental ways. It’s such a big responsibility and you ask yourself ‘am I being a good dad, am I doing the right thing to give these precious little people the best chance to grow up to be good people’.”

“But then I look at the people around me, like my dad. Looking back at my childhood, my dad, in his own humble way, showed me how to be a good dad.”

“And then I look at my wonderful wife, Holly. She is such a good mum. It makes me strive to be the best dad I can be.”

“In the end though, I’ve come to the conclusion that a big part of being a good dad is to make sure you show your kids how much you love them.”

“Because if they know that they are loved, that’s the best start you can give them,” he said.

Chris Mountford, Property Council Executive Director, said there was nothing more rewarding than being a supportive, loving father to his two beautiful children.

“Although there is no such thing as a perfect dad, I work hard at being the best possible dad I can be”.

“For me, this means going on adventures, helping with homework, being a shoulder to cry on and spending quality time with my family.”

“I’ve been lucky enough to see first-hand the wonderful work that Act for Kids does, and have learnt it takes a collective effort to raise a child.”

“It is an honour to be an ambassador for an organisation that works tirelessly to support families and help keep them safe, happy and together,” he said.

In Australia, one in four children live in a one parent family and 80% of these children live without their father.*

*Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2019

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For media enquiries, please contact Zoe Templeton, PR and Communications Specialist, on:

M: 0427 794 666

E: zoe.templeton@actforkids.com.au