By Thomas Lynch, National Development Manager at Dads Rock
We’ve been running Dads Rock for just over four years now, we’re busy doing the work and don’t often take the time to reflect on why Dads Rock is so important.
In case you’re still to hear about us, we run free playgroups for all dads/granddads/male carers and their children. We also run free antenatal classes for dads with NHS Lothian, counselling for dads and mums and run a playgroup in prison. We started Dads Rock as we couldn’t find any general dads groups in Edinburgh and wanted somewhere fun for our kids. We knew that we loved to play alongside our children and wanted to make it easy and free for more dads to do the same.
As the Fatherhood Institute says, major studies across the world which follow families over time have found fathers’ involvement with their children linked with their higher educational achievement and higher educational/occupational mobility relative to their parents (Sarkadi et al, 2008; Flouri, 2005; Pleck & Masciadrelli, 2004).
We’re set up to give dads a place that’s theirs, but really we’re here for the children. We want to give them the best start and the best chance to know their dad, to play and be alongside them to support their rights as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
We’ve found many dads benefit from coming to Dads Rock, it gives them something precious — time. Time alone with their children, or time in a group with others. If you ask children what they want, more often than not they’ll say they’d like more time with their parents. We know that parenting has changed over the years. My mum and dad didn’t really play alongside me, they would tell me to go play, or watch me play. I loved my parents, they were great parents, but times have changed and we’ve become more comfortable playing and understanding the value in it. We’re getting better at understanding how important play is, but more needs to be done. We believe play is one of the best therapies.
Dads are clearly vital for our children, yet time and time again we’ve come across services and processes that are set up to minimise input from Dads. We all need to do more, and I would challenge you in this ‘Year of the Dad’ to think, what are you doing to make dads more welcome? And what can you do to include them in all aspects of children’s lives?
There is so much potential in our families and communities, I believe we have a good foundation to work from and we all will continue to give our children the best start. Dads are key to that, after all – Dads Rock!
YOTD website: www.yearofthedad.org
Dads Rock are based in Edinburgh, co-founded by David Marshall and Thomas Lynch, and are a group whose vision is of a Scotland where dads are seen as being equally valuable and vital.