From the Deputy Principal

 “Frequent Father Points”

Much conversation centers around how busy life has become. Pressures of work, keeping fit, juggling day-to-day household chores, entertaining friends while also meeting the needs of family can feel, at times, overwhelming. The introduction of social distancing measures to combat the spread of the virus, has provided us with the opportunity to push the ‘re-set’ button on the busyness of daily life and priortise time together. 

A recently read article by Michael Grose reminded me of the importance of making time for family and in particular spending quality time with our children. My eldest son Spencer is in his final year of schooling, Seb is a fast growing 14 year old and Emilie (or Mouse as she is affectionately known) is an energetic, fiercely independent, 9 year old. I plan to take on board Michael’s advice and hope his article also proves useful to you as you enjoy time with your precious families over the upcoming school holiday break.

Building Frequent Father Points

A good friend enthusiastically told me how he just spent a few days away on his own with his two kids, aged 10 and 13. He was feeling quite chuffed.

He had some ‘dad time’ with his kids. Good on him!

He was doing some memory-building & relationship-building, as well as having some fun.

He told me that he was aware that his kids were getting older and he knew such opportunities were diminishing. I’ve been hearing this type of story a lot lately.

Gone are the days when the only relationship many men had with their kids was through their wife. She would explain to the kids, ‘Your dad’s very busy. He would love to see you play sport but he can’t make it.’ She’d keep him up-to-date with the children’s lives, as well. Blokes, it seems, are valuing the time they spend with their kids on their own. Or at least the dads I mix with are. Spending time alone with kids is a great way to build confidence in dads. And the kids usually just love it. Mothers can play a role here by not getting in the way if their husband wants a little time alone with kids. (Most mums I meet welcome this!) Children usually associate their fathers with activity. When I ask children to tell me about their dads they usually talk about the things that they like to do together with their dads. Playing, walking, fishing, wrestling....the list goes on. It’s through shared activity and involvement in kids’ lives that dads build up frequent father points. It’s hard to build good connections with kids when you are not there! Don’t wait until adolescence. These relationships are best built in childhood, when kids just love their dad to bits and want to be around him. It gets trickier in adolescence, but having shared interests developed in childhood gives you a connection point during these sometimes turbulent times.

Dads also benefit from spending time with their kids. Most health scales state a healthy relationship with their children is a predictor of good health and longevity for men. I’m not sure where the health benefits come from, but I suspect there is something relaxing and de-stressing about getting into a child’s space. There is a big kid inside most men just busting to get out. These days we take parenting pretty seriously and it’s easy to forget that one of the fundamentals of raising kids well is to spend some time in your child’s space, doing stuff, or not doing stuff, whatever the case may be.

So how are your (or your partner’s) frequent father points going? If they need some topping up then you can start by doing something together that they enjoy. Having a bit of fun together is the best place to start. And then start to block in time to spend with kids on a regular basis. One busy dad I know goes for a bike ride with his teenage daughter each Saturday morning, and then goes to watch the local footy with his son in the afternoon. This type of ritualised approach to relationship-building works well with many blokes.

Whatever method a dad uses, the key is to start spending time with your kids right now. As I well know, they grow up in a flash, and before you know it they have either moved out, or are busy getting on with their own lives.

For many years, Pulteney’s Venture Club has provided the opportunity for parents to spend time with their children whilst engaging in a wide range of outdoor activities. Furthermore, students and parents get to know other families and form friendships that often last well beyond their time at school. I encourage you to investigate the range of activities provided through the Pulteney Venture Club, which can be found in this edition of the Pulteney Review or by contacting Richard Drogemuller (richard.drogemuller@pulteney.sa.edu.au ) or Daniel Polkinghorne, Experiential Learning Coordinator (daniel.polkinghorne@pulteney.sa.edu.au )

With Term 2 rapidly coming to an end, I am very much looking forward to time with my family, which will hopefully involve some fishing and camping on the Yorke Peninsula. Why fishing and camping?  It’s my way to ensure I have their undivided attention and ensuring they also have mine. No distractions, no technology, just us. If we catch fish it’s a bonus!

Article taken from ‘Building up Frequent Father Points’ by Michael Grose

Greg Atterton

Deputy Principal