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He was a father desperate to see his daughter, not the criminal he was.

Watch this powerful real story and listen to the effects and consequences of parental alienation.

Parental alienation refers to a situation in which one parent attempts to manipulate or influence a child’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviours to turn them against the other parent, often during or after a divorce or separation. It typically involves one parent (the alienating parent) engaging in behaviours that undermine the child’s relationship with the other parent (the target parent) with the intention of creating distance, hostility, or estrangement between the child and the target parent. These behaviours can take various forms, including:

  • Negative Talk: The alienating parent may consistently speak negatively about the target parent, portraying them as bad, dangerous, or uncaring. They might make false accusations or exaggerated claims to damage the child’s perception of the other parent.
  • Limiting Contact: The alienating parent may attempt to restrict or interfere with the child’s access to the target parent. This can involve withholding visitation, interfering with phone calls or communication, or failing to cooperate with parenting schedules.
  • Sabotaging the Relationship: Some alienating parents may create situations designed to sabotage the child’s time with the target parent, such as scheduling conflicting activities or appointments during visitation times.
  • Alienating Behaviour: The alienating parent may encourage the child to reject or resist the target parent, even when the child initially wants to maintain a relationship with both parents. This can involve emotional manipulation, guilt-tripping, or bribery.
  • False Allegations: Allegations of abuse, neglect, or other serious misconduct against the target parent, without evidence or validity, are sometimes used to manipulate the child and the legal system.

Parental alienation is considered harmful to children because it can lead to emotional and psychological distress. It can also have long-lasting negative effects on the child’s relationship with the target parent, their self-esteem, and their overall well-being. Courts and mental health professionals often address parental alienation in custody disputes by attempting to assess the situation, provide therapy or counselling, and establish strategies to rebuild and maintain a healthy relationship between the child and the target parent.

It’s important to note that parental alienation is a complex issue, and allegations of alienation should be carefully examined and substantiated before any actions are taken. Legal and mental health professionals play crucial roles in evaluating and addressing cases of parental alienation to ensure the best interests of the child are upheld.

What is “love” defined by kids

A survey was conducted at a primary school where children between the ages of 4-8 were asked “what is love”.  The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined.

Such a simple question, this is what they said…

“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore.  So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.”

– Rebecca – age 8

“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different.  You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.”

– Billy – age 4

“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.”

– Karl – age 5

“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.”

– Chrissy – age 6

“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.”

– Terri – age 4

“Love is when my my daddy makes me breakfast every morning”

– Ian – age 7

“Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more.
My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss”

– Emily – age 8

“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.”

– Bobby – age 7

“If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.”

– Nikka – age 6  (we need a few million more Nikkas on this planet)

“Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.”

– Noelle – age 7

“Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.”

– Tommy – age 6

“During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared.  I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling.

He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.”

– Cindy – age 8

“My daddy loves me more than anybody.
He reads to me.”

– Clare – age 6

“Love is when my Daddy gives me the best piece of chicken.”

– Elaine-age 5

“Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.”

– Mary Ann – age 4

“I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.”

– Lauren – age 4

“When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.”

– Karen – age 7

“You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.”

– Jessica – age 8

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Skills, Ability and Knowledge

Not sure about other dads but I entered the world of fatherhood completely unprepared.  I didn’t realise how demanding it was going to be, I think women have a better advantage.  Women group together and talk about parenting, share stories and experiences far more than we ever would.  So it is probably no surprise that their skills, ability and knowledge are more fine tuned when children arrive on the scene.

Us blokes stand on the sidelines and talk about footy and the MotoGP whilst we cook the BBQ.  I have never been out with a group of guys discussing parenting skills.  Traditionally we just left it up to our partners, I don’t think it is hard-wired into our DNA.  BUT, it is a skill we can learn, for some it does not come naturally, it just needs some practice.  Once we do it solo a few times “whaaala” we become experts, I think, it really is that easy to become competent …and of course you need the “want” to do it.

I remember I organized a breakfast for the “new dads” (dads of the mothers group) and their babies once a month.  I booked a table of 10 in a local cafe.  It was a great sight, 10 dads and their babies, everyone in the cafe were looking and saying well done boys 🙂 We had dads feeding bottles to their babies, changing nappies and nursing their new babies all while trying to eat our bacon and eggs and catch up LOL.  It was a great morning but each month that past we lost half the dads, so after 3 months it ended.

There are challenges and trying times amongst dads when it comes to parenting, but we know that the outcome of trying is well worth the effort and the results are proof.

Not wanting to attend a fathers breakfast has nothing to do with commitment to fathering, they were all protective of their role as a father and would not allow anything that seriously interfered with it, they were all great guys and were all married at that time, I don’t see any of them any more.  The way they felt about fathering would be exactly the way I/we feel about it today, it makes no difference whether we are married or not when it comes to our approach and commitment to fathering.

In the book Divorced Dads Survival Guide there is an article on just that topic. It talks about… Beyond working hard for their families, fathers say their role also includes teaching their kids about life, being a moral role model, and being a good model for adult relationships.  Divorced fathers feel that they have important information to impart about women and relationships.  If the father sought the divorce, he may feel it is necessary for his children to know that a good marital relationship is important and that divorced people don’t lack commitment  in their character, but rather may not want to settle for a bad marriage.  If the father was left by his former spouse, he can emphasize to his children that life has no guarantees and that to adjust to any hand dealt is a challenge that must be accepted.

Either way, the father feels his “lessons of life” are important for his children.  Most parents do.  Of course we should not expect our children to be interested in learning what we have to teach. Many children, in fact, will resist parental teachings in favor of learning it on their own.

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Well done dads

Even though separation and divorce is common place, it still feels like failure and in some ways we are embarrassed at times because of it.  We get pigeon holed into “single dad” or “separated father” when in fact we are simply a “dad” or a “father”.

There are times when we have to explain our situation. I remember being at a shopping center with my daughter and a photographer had a stand set up and was handing out promotional cards. I took one and he engaged in conversation about getting a portrait done. It looked good and I was happy to discuss it until he asked “where is mummy”?  I said there is no mum that will be in the photo, he said “no problem” we can just take the two of you.  I lost interest and said no thanks! you might be better of finding a mummy and a daddy to take photos of 🙂

Another time was when I went to a cafe for breakfast and the waitress (older woman) handed out the menu’s and said “no mummy”? and tilted her head sideways as if that was the most unfortunate thing she had heard all week?  You can probably imagine I didn’t find anything on the menu I liked. It is unaware and ignorant people that seem to put their foot in their mouth, it took me quiet awhile to accept their ignorance. These days I still refuse to buy anything from a business that appears to have a negative  opinion on separation I guess so many people have an opinion i.e. friends, family, waitresses, photographers etc that you get a bit tired of feeling like you are a second class citizen.  We already feel like we have failed in some ways, we just need to be treated like anyone else and respected for our contribution for positive parenting.

We work harder at parenting our children than when we had two people sharing it in-fact, we should pat ourselves on the back and say well done. 🙂 We have turned what could have been a disaster into a positive environment for our children even if the situation isn’t how we would have preferred.  We have taught our kids some important things and we have modelled good behavior.  We show controlled conflict resolution, provide for them emotionally and financially, we behave in a dignified and mature manner and we always keep our eyes on the main event…our children.

What Every Teenager Wants Their Parents To Know

What every teenager wants their parents to knowDear Mum and Dad,

Please stick with me.

I can’t think clearly right now because there is a rather substantial section of my prefrontal cortex missing. It’s a fairly important chunk, something having to do with rational thought. You see, it won’t be fully developed until I’m about 25. And from where I sit, 25 seems a long way off.

But here’s what i want my you to know..

My brain is not yet fully developed

It doesn’t matter that I’m smart; even a perfect score on my math test doesn’t insulate me from the normal developmental stages that we all go through. Judgement and intelligence are two completely distinct things.

And, the same thing that makes my brain wonderfully flexible, creative and sponge-like also makes me impulsive. Not necessarily reckless or negligent but more impulsive than I will be later in life.

Please stick with me.

So when you look at me like I have ten heads after I’ve done something “stupid” or failed to do something “smart,” you’re not really helping.

You adults respond to situations with your prefrontal cortex (rationally) but I am more inclined to respond with my amygdala (emotionally). And when you ask, “What were you thinking?” the answer is I wasn’t, at least not in the way you are. You can blame me, or you can blame mother nature, but either way, it is what it is.

At this point in my life, I get that you love me, but my friends are my everything. Please understand that. Right now I choose my friends, but, don’t be fooled, I am watching you. Carefully.

Please stick with me……..

Here’s what you can do for me

1. Model adulting.

I see all the behaviors that you are modeling and I hear all of the words you say. I may not listen but I do hear you. I seem impervious to your advice, like I’m wearing a Kevlar vest but your actions and words are penetrating. I promise. If you keep showing me the way, I will follow even if I detour many, many times before we reach our destination.

2. Let me figure things out for myself.

If you allow me to experience the consequences of my own actions I will learn from them. Please give me a little bit of leash and let me know that I can figure things out for myself. The more I do, the more confidence and resilience I will develop.

3. Tell me about you.

I want you to tell me all the stories of the crazy things you did as a teen, and what you learned from them. Then give me the space to do the same.

4. Help me with perspective.

Keep reminding me of the big picture. I will roll my eyes at you and make all kinds of grunt-like sounds. I will let you know in no uncertain terms that you can’t possibly understand any of what I’m going through. But I’m listening. I really am. It’s hard for me to see anything beyond the weeds that I am currently mired in. Help me scan out and focus on the long view. Remind me that this moment will pass.

5. Keep me safe.

Please remind me that drugs and driving don’t mix. Keep telling me that you will bail me out of any dangerous situation, no anger, no lectures, no questions asked. But also let me know over and over and over that you are there to listen when I need you.

6. Be kind.

I will learn kindness from you and if you are relentless in your kindness to me, someday I will imitate that behavior. Don’t ever mock me, please, and don’t be cruel. Humor me — I think I know everything. You probably did as well at my age. Let it go.

7. Show interest in the things I enjoy.

Some days I will choose to share my interests with you, and it will make me feel good if you validate those interests, by at least acting interested.

One day when the haze of adolescence lifts, you will find a confident, strong, competent, kind adult where a surly teenager once stood. In the meantime, buckle in for the ride.

Please stick with me. 

Thank you to Helene Wingens for her insight and research click here to see her blog.

Thank you also to Dareen Lewis of Fathering Adventures for introducing me to this information, I love the work you do!
Let’s look at our teenagers a little differently from now on and “stick with them”.

2022 A New Year a Fresh Start

what if your resolution was to love yourself a little moreLike most of you every year I make new resolutions.  They include everything from giving up smoking (which I did 19years ago and thank god I did) to saving money, learning guitar, taking up a gym membership and sticking at it! or to learn a particular skill.  For a couple of years I would write my goals and resolutions on a card and stick them on the fridge so they were always top of mind.  It did work and I achieved many small goals and a few big ones.

There is one resolution I have never added to my list, however I will this year and I urge all Dads to add this to your list too.

Love yourself a little more

I want to be the best version of myself, I believe looking inwardly helps me achieve this.  Understanding that we are worthy of respect, love, help, friendship etc sets a standard of how we want people to treat us – no worse than we treat ourselves.  If your are treating yourself well by loving yourself a little more it will set positive expectations and you will achieve the right outcome.

You may ask what is Loving yourself a little more?

Its not that deep and meaningful, it is just living by a few rules you set for yourself, like:

  • Don’t be to hard on yourself. Remember that this will only make you feel bad.  Everyone makes mistakes, so go easy and always be focus on the good that you do.
  • Keep a list of your receipts.  This is about when you have Paid it Forward by doing a good deed. Always be looking to help others, donate your time to a person in need, pick up that piece of rubbish, share a kind word with someone, it can be anything that contributes to a more positive community.  We call it giving yourself a “receipt” write them down and refer to them during the year.
  • Make time to pat yourself on the back.  When your brushing your teeth in the morning or at night before bed, think to yourself “nice work today M8” or “Be a gladiator today” or “Have an awesome day because I’m an awesome person”. Even a smile in the mirror as you leave for work. Feed your brain with positive words.
  • The past does not equal the future.  Look back over the years and consider all the good things that you have done and achieved.  There will be some!  Its these things you need to remember because they have made you who you are today.  Never forget the good things you do.
  • You don’t need much to be happy.  Have you seen people living in hard communities or countries where there is overwhelming poverty and they still come out smiling?  Whilst others with wealth and every material object known to man can complain, feel hard done by and unappreciative of life and what they have.  Feel blessed with what you have and be grateful.
  • Love and focus on the people that care about you.  Knowing where to direct your energy is easy.  Direct it to the people who care about you and who are good to you.  Give them the best version of yourself and share as many happy times as possible with them and create memories.

These living rules are pretty easy to accomplish if you set your mind to it.  If I have forgotten any that you feel would help make a difference, please share them with us.

Have a wonderful 2022.  Remember to find the time to love yourself with the ideas above as often as you can.  The days and months will fly by, lets make the most of every minute 🙂

New dad tips for parenting infants and toddlers

Parenting infants and toddlers is amazing, rewarding and frustrating and it can happen all in the same day.
Imagine being a toddler for just a minute…they can’t articulate clearly what you want, they are completely managed by a parent, given food that you might not like, dressed and changed multiple times a day and restricted to the confines of a play pen, bed or high chair.

All very normal and right but it can cause the child to occasionally throw a tantrum and its these moments we find the most difficult.

There are somethings dad you can do to help reduce the stress in your household and possibly make tantrums less frequent, such as:

Love is the first step

Firstly its super important your infant or toddler feels unconditional love. We have spoken before of about providing Attention, Affirmation and Affection to your child, let’s face it who would feel secure and loved if they received the 3 A’s all the time.

Not to many rules

Don’t bombard your child with to many rules, make your home child safe so they can crawl around where ever they want without being told “not’ to do or touch that. It can eliminate one frustration. Your child might start to get frustrated if you are saying “no” all the time, so look for many opportunities to say “yes”.

If you are getting a lot of “no’s” try not to react, simply repeat the request in a nice calm voice. Is there some way you can make what your’e asking your child to do that could be made more fun? All aged children prefer to do tasks that are fun and enjoyable.

Give them choices

If its changing into PJ’s and he or she doesn’t want to, try getting two out for them to choice which one they would prefer to put on. Same goes with going to bed, its always a trigger for pushback. Try getting two books and asking which one will we read tonight?

If there is a power struggle and we know there will be, you can use choices like “Its bed time, would you prefer to brush your teeth or put your Pyjamas on first?

Stick to a routine as if your life depends on it

Children of all ages operate far better if there is a strict routine in the home. So they know exactly what to expect each day, whether it be morning or night. I know it can become boring and mundane but trust me on this one…have routines and scheduled time for things every day and stick to it.
Routines help children feel safe and secure. Because when you introduce things that happen the same time every day, things like waking up, breakfast time, lunch time, dinner time, cleaning your teeth, what time you come home from work, time for a snack or a sleep, it allows the child to trust you and they are left feeling emotionally secure to just play, explore and be a child.

Be a good role model

Set examples, remember you might not think your child is listening but I guarantee they are watching everything you do.

  • Your moods
  • How you speak to your partner
  • How you react to news
  • If your an easy push over and don’t stick to routines
  • Do you keep the home clean and tidy
  • Do you cook nutritious meals
  • Are you comforting and nurturing with them
  • Are you intentional about the time you spend with them
  • Everything you do and say is teaching your child how to behave.

Teaching your infant or toddler new skills

You will find you get push back probably because your child doesn’t know how to do what you are asking?
Teaching them how to perform simple tasks like putting on a jumper, or putting toys away can be a great start. Start teaching them by talking through the instructions of each task whilst you perform them.

“ok Jimmy, lets pick up all the yellow toys and put them back in the box, see 1,2,3. Then we pick up the blue balls and put them in the box, 1 blue ball, 2 blue ball, 3 blue balls, into the box so they can rest for the night and it keeps the room clean and tidy. Why don’t you show me how you can pick up the pencils and put them in the box too?

Teach instruction on everything you do from the earliest age possible and before you know it, you will have a more ready to help child and less tantrums.

What tips or ideas have you got that you could share with other first time dads? Share them below in the comments box.


New dad tips for handling a newborn

Most of us enter fatherhood with very little knowledge on how to raise a baby let alone bring up a good human being. We’ve held our nephews and nieces in our arms but feeding, cleaning, soothing, burping, changing nappies, nurturing is something that we are thrown into…and I mean thrown.

We’re never shown what we need to do to be a successful new dad. We definitely get a feel on what is the right way to bring up a child from watching how we were raise and because our parents were never taught the right way too, many mad bad mistakes.

When I see other people speak so lovingly of their parents, I feel they must have done a good job.

There are millions of dads and grandads that have dedicated themselves to raising good kids and been successful at it, success often comes from being intentional and dedicating time to solely focus on bringing up your child.

Let’s face it, it doesn’t matter whether you’re at home with your partner, separated or divorce? you need to be good at this!

I have put together some greats tips on how to raise kids at different ages, check out this first series on handling new borns.

Tips on handling a new born baby

If you haven’t spent a lot of time around newborns, here are a few basics to remember:

  • Wash your hands before handling your baby. Newborns don’t have a strong immune system yet, so they’re at risk for infection. Make sure that everyone who handles your baby has clean hands.
  • Support your baby’s head and neck. Cradle the head when carrying your baby and support the head when carrying the baby upright or when you lay your baby down.
  • Never shake your newborn. Shaking can cause bleeding in the brain and even death. If you need to wake your infant, don’t do it by shaking — instead, tickle your baby’s feet or blow gently on a cheek.
  • Make sure your baby is securely fastened into the carrier, stroller, or car seat. Limit any activity that could be too rough or bouncy.
  • Remember that your newborn is not ready for rough play, such as being jiggled on the knee or thrown in the air.

Bonding and Soothing

Bonding, probably one of the most pleasurable parts of infant care, happens during the sensitive time in the first hours and days after birth when parents make a deep connection with their infant. Physical closeness can promote an emotional connection.

For infants, the attachment contributes to their emotional growth, which also affects their development in other areas, such as physical growth. Another way to think of bonding is “falling in love” with your baby. Children thrive from having a Dad or other adult in their life who loves them unconditionally.

Begin bonding by cradling your baby and gently stroking him or her in different patterns. Both you and your partner can also take the opportunity to be “skin-to-skin,” holding your newborn against your own skin while feeding or cradling.

Babies, especially premature babies and those with medical problems, may respond to infant massage. Certain types of massage may enhance bonding and help with infant growth and development. Many books and videos cover infant massage — ask your doctor for recommendations. Be careful, however — babies are not as strong as adults, so massage your baby gently.

Babies usually love vocal sounds, such as talking, babbling, singing, and cooing. Your baby will probably also love listening to music. Baby rattles and musical mobiles are other good ways to stimulate your infant’s hearing. If your little one is being fussy, try singing, reciting poetry and nursery rhymes, or reading aloud as you sway or rock your baby gently in a chair.

Some babies can be unusually sensitive to touch, light, or sound, and might startle and cry easily, sleep less than expected, or turn their faces away when someone speaks or sings to them. If that’s the case with your baby, keep noise and light levels low to moderate.

Swaddling, which works well for some babies during their first few weeks, is another soothing technique first-time parents should learn. Proper swaddling keeps a baby’s arms close to the body while allowing for some movement of the legs.
Not only does swaddling keep a baby warm, but it seems to give most newborns a sense of security and comfort. Swaddling also may help limit the startle reflex, which can wake a baby. Baby should not be swaddled after 2 months old.

Putting a nappy on

You’ll probably decide before you bring your baby home whether you’ll use cloth or disposable nappies. Whichever you use, your little one will dirty nappies about 10 times a day, or about 70 times a week.

Before putting a nappy on your baby, make sure you have all supplies within reach so you won’t have to leave your infant unattended on the changing table. You’ll need:

  • a clean nappy
  • fasteners (if cloth prefold nappy are used)
  • nappy ointment
  • nappy wipes (or a container of warm water and a clean washcloth or cotton balls)

After each bowel movement or if the nappy is wet, lay your baby on his or her back and remove the dirty nappy. Use the water, cotton balls, and washcloth or the wipes to gently wipe your baby’s genital area clean. When removing a boy’s nappy, do so carefully because exposure to the air may make him urinate. When wiping a girl, wipe her bottom from front to back to avoid a urinary tract infection. To prevent or heal a rash, apply ointment. Always remember to wash your hands thoroughly after changing a nappy.

Nappy rash is a common concern. Typically the rash is red and bumpy and will go away in a few days with warm baths, some nappy cream, and a little time out of the diaper. Most rashes happen because the baby’s skin is sensitive and becomes irritated by the wet or pooy diaper.

To prevent or heal nappy rash, try these tips:

  • Change your baby’s diaper often, and as soon as possible after bowel movements.
  • Gently clean the area with mild soap and water (wipes sometimes can be irritating), then apply a very thick layer of nappy rash or “barrier” cream. Creams with zinc oxide are preferred because they form a barrier against moisture.
  • If you use a cloth nappy, wash them in fragrance-free detergents.
  • Let the baby go un-nappied for part of the day. This gives the skin a chance to air out.

If the nappy rash continues for more than 3 days or seems to be getting worse, call your doctor — it may be caused by a fungal infection that requires specialist treatment.

Bathing Basics

You should give your baby a sponge bath until:

  • the umbilical cord falls off and the navel heals completely (1–4 weeks)
  • the circumcision heals (1–2 weeks)

A bath two or three times a week in the first year is fine. More frequent bathing may be drying to the skin.

Have these items ready before bathing your baby:

  • a soft, clean washcloth
  • mild, unscented baby soap and shampoo
  • towels or blankets
  • a clean diaper
  • clean clothes

Sponge baths. For a sponge bath, select a safe, flat surface (such as a changing table, floor, or counter) in a warm room. Fill a sink, if nearby, or bowl with warm (not hot!) water. Undress your baby and wrap him or her in a towel.

Wipe your infant’s eyes with a washcloth (or a clean cotton ball) dampened with water only, starting with one eye and wiping from the inner corner to the outer corner. Use a clean corner of the washcloth or another cotton ball to wash the other eye.

Clean your baby’s nose and ears with the damp washcloth. Then wet the cloth again and, using a little soap, wash his or her face gently and pat it dry.

Next, using baby shampoo, create a lather and gently wash your baby’s head and rinse. Using a wet cloth and soap, gently wash the rest of the baby, paying special attention to creases under the arms, behind the ears, around the neck, and in the genital area. Once you have washed those areas, make sure they are dry and then diaper and dress your baby.

Tub baths. When your baby is ready for tub baths, the first baths should be gentle and brief. If he or she becomes upset, go back to sponge baths for a week or two, then try the bath again.

In addition to the supplies listed above, add:

  • an infant tub with 2 to 3 inches of warm — not hot! — water (to test the water temperature, feel the water with the inside of your elbow or wrist). An infant tub is a plastic tub that can fit in the bathtub; it’s a better size for babies and makes bathing easier to manage.

Never leave the baby alone. If you need to leave the bathroom, wrap the baby in a towel and take him or her with you.

Circumcision and Umbilical Cord Care

Immediately after circumcision, the tip of the penis is usually covered with gauze coated with petroleum jelly to keep the wound from sticking to the diaper. Gently wipe the tip clean with warm water after a nappy change, then apply petroleum jelly to the tip so it doesn’t stick to the diaper.

Redness or irritation of the penis should heal within a few days, but if the redness or swelling increases or if pus-filled blisters form, infection may be present and you should call your baby’s doctor immediately.

Umbilical cord care in newborns is also important. Some doctors suggest swabbing the area with rubbing alcohol until the cord stump dries up and falls off, usually in 10 days to 3 weeks, but others recommend leaving the area alone. Talk to your child’s doctor to see what he or she prefers.

An infant’s navel area shouldn’t be submerged in water until the cord stump falls off and the area is healed. Until it falls off, the cord stump will change color from yellow to brown or black — this is normal. Call your doctor if the navel area looks red or if a foul odor or discharge develops.

Feeding and Burping Your Baby

Whether feeding your newborn by breast or a bottle, you may be stumped as to how often to do so. Generally, it’s recommended that babies be fed on demand — whenever they seem hungry. Your baby may cue you by crying, putting fingers in his or her mouth, or making sucking noises.

A newborn baby needs to be fed every 2 to 3 hours. If your partner is breastfeeding, give your baby the chance to nurse about 10–15 minutes at each breast. If you’re formula-feeding, your baby will most likely take about 2–3 ounces (60–90 milliliters) at each feeding.

Some newborns may need to be awakened every few hours to make sure they get enough to eat. Call your baby’s doctor if you need to wake your newborn often or if your baby doesn’t seem interested in eating or sucking.

If you’re formula-feeding, you can easily monitor if your baby is getting enough to eat, but if your partners breastfeeding, it can be a little trickier. If your baby seems satisfied, produces about six wet nappies and several poo’s a day, sleeps well, and is gaining weight regularly, then he or she is probably eating enough.

Another good way to tell if your baby is getting milk is to ask your partners if their breasts feel full before feeding your baby and less full after feeding. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about your child’s growth or feeding schedule.

Babies often swallow air during feedings, which can make them fussy. To help prevent this, burp your baby often. Try burping your baby every 2–3 ounces (60–90 milliliters) if you bottle-feed, and each time your partner switches breasts if breastfeeding.

If your baby tends to be gassy, has gastro reflux, or seems fussy during feeding, try burping your little one after every ounce during bottle-feeding or every 5 minutes during breastfeeding.

Try these burping tips:

  • Hold your baby upright with his or her head on your shoulder. Support your baby’s head and back while gently patting the back with your other hand.
  • Sit your baby on your lap. Support your baby’s chest and head with one hand by cradling your baby’s chin in the palm of your hand and resting the heel of your hand on your baby’s chest (be careful to grip your baby’s chin — not throat). Use the other hand to gently pat your baby’s back.
  • Lay your baby face-down on your lap. Support your baby’s head, making sure it’s higher than his or her chest, and gently pat or rub his or her back.

If your baby doesn’t burp after a few minutes, change the baby’s position and try burping for another few minutes before feeding again. Always burp your baby when feeding time is over, then keep him or her in an upright position for at least 10–15 minutes to avoid spitting up.

Sleeping Basics

As a new dad, you may be surprised to learn that your newborn, who seems to need you every minute of the day, actually sleeps about 16 hours or more!

Newborns typically sleep for periods of 2–4 hours. Don’t expect yours to sleep through the night — the digestive system of babies is so small that they need nourishment every few hours and should be awakened if they haven’t been fed for 4 hours (or more often if your doctor is concerned about weight gain).

When can you expect your baby to sleep through the night? Many babies sleep through the night (between 6–8 hours) at 3 months of age, but if yours doesn’t, it’s not a cause for concern. Like adults, babies must develop their own sleep patterns and cycles, so if your newborn is gaining weight and appears healthy, don’t despair if he or she hasn’t slept through the night at 3 months.

It’s important to always place babies on their backs to sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Other safe sleeping practices include: not using blankets, quilts, sheepskins, stuffed animals, and pillows in the crib or bassinet (these can suffocate a baby); and sharing a bedroom (but not a bed) with the parents for the first 6 months to 1 year. Also be sure to alternate the position of your baby’s head from night to night (first right, then left, and so on) to prevent the development of a flat spot on one side of the head.

Many newborns have their days and nights “mixed up.” They tend to be more awake and alert at night, and more sleepy during the day. One way to help them is to keep stimulation at night to a minimum. Keep the lights low, such as by using a nightlight. Reserve talking and playing with your baby for the daytime. When your baby wakes up during the day, try to keep him or her awake a little longer by talking and playing.

Even though you may feel anxious about handling a newborn, in a few short weeks you’ll develop a routine and be parenting like a pro! If you have questions or concerns, ask your doctor to recommend resources that can help you and your baby grow together.

Dad’s I hope this has been informative, share it with a new dad you know and we’d be very interested to read how you are going, put your comments in the box below and share your story with us and other dads.

Thank you to Kids Health for this valuable information for new Dads.

The first night…

Do you remember the first night after separation or divorce when your child stayed over with you?

You can do it You've got thisI was a little nervous, I just had to step up , plan and ensure it all worked. I very quickly got in the swing of things and it worked out well. The rest is history!

Some of the initial scary thoughts that ran through my head were catering for breakfast, lunch and dinners every day, planning activities and going to the toilet whilst we were out?  This all was now all up to me, no sharing any more, just me.  I felt I grew up quickly because my desire to care for my child outweighed the hard work that I knew lay ahead of me.  I’m not sure but I think it was a mix of perspiration and desperation that got me through, I got used to planning and preparing then we were off and running.

I can’t help but think some mothers would experience the same scary thoughts, for many Dads like me, we could never talk about that, too busy hating each other.

There is definitely something empowering and rewarding when you know you have managed your access days well.  You get better at everything, you start to get a repertoire of recipes, you know what size clothes and shoes they wear.  You know their taste in music, books and movies, you share laughter together and one on one time, you understand morning routines and of course all the hissy fits that goes with it.  The sense of owning that space feels good even if it is only every second weekend.

You little girl can always bury her head in your shoulder if you go to the mens toilets.When we were out and about, and it came time to take her to the toilet or maybe I needed to go? she came with me and simply buried her face into my shoulder when we walked through the mens to the cubical, Always a good time to try and get them to go too, even if they don’t feel like it. When she was big enough to go on her own, I would stand near the door of the female toilets and didn’t move until she came out.  The wheel chair access toilets are gold!!

? I remember we were at the swimming centre one day when I walked into what I thought was the mens change room and proceeded to help my daughter change into her bathers, when a women in a towel came out of the showers ? For a few seconds I really thought she was the one in the wrong change room. Then she said “I think you are in the wrong room” I apologised and left, honest mistake but laugh every time I think about it.

Do you have experiences that you can share?

Would your son or daughter know how to land a Airbus A380?

NO?…Your right! because know one has shown them how too and they would crash for sure.

Its the same as your child handling new situations in life as they get older.
If they are not told how best to handle and cope with situations, they’ll probably crash.
There are many disappointments through-out life from not getting that job, breaking up in a relationship, not having the money or falling out of friendship.

One of the best things a parent can do is to talk about these things when the time is right and be a good listener.

Just leaving them to work it out or to cope from their own experiences is not helping your child build resilience or to cope and move past the upset…and we know it will past, so take the time when those moments arrive and sit down and talk it through.

Some advice I could give would be to sit down and workshop healthy solutions to problems, make sure that your child understands that they won’t be able to fix every problem straight away, and that’s ok.

Because problems generally don’t get solved immediately, there will be some stress going on so its important to talk about how to relieve the stress whilst things are working out, don’t forget to mention they always do but they might not be able to see it at right away.

When talking about coping with stressful or sad situations, try and align it to what normally your child would do in better times and that could be…watch a favourite movie, swimming, exercise, listening to music or self guided meditation, reading, drawing, talking the dog or recommend and help them do something that makes them happy, this can help relieve stress, sadness or upset.

It is super helpful that your child discuss’s their problem with someone they trust. You are their parent and a significant person in their life but depending on their age i.e. teenagers, they might not want to share it all with you so get them together with a person they would trust like a friend, family member or even a counsellor, they can all be very helpful.

A couple of things to remember:

When your child is sad, it’s a perfectly normal emotion and everyone feels sad sometimes. The difference between depression and feeling sad is that depression will hang around and sadness will disappear.

There are so many reasons people can feel sad:

  • You have had an argument with someone
  • You’re feeling isolated
  • You had a bad day at work
  • Someone said something nasty to you
  • Your relationship has ended
  • You didn’t get that job interview
  • You failed on a test
  • Parents have decided to separate

There are professional services that can be there if that is a better situation for your child, such as:

  • Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800 for 5 to 25 year olds.
  • Lifeline – 131114 for all ages
  • ReachOut – 
  • Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
  • 1800respect – 1800 737 732

If anyone is in danger call 000 immediately, it’s better to keep safe than be sorry you didn’t act earlier.


Establishing good communication with your children’s Mother

This is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your children. No longer required or is it appropriate to discuss aspects of your life such as feelings, hopes, dreams, plans, finances or what you did today. Share this stuff with friends and other people but never your ex.

There must be a line drawn in the sand that any intimate discussions are out! You both must acknowledge that you are never getting back together. To lead a healthy life going forward, which allows you both to move onto healthier relationships, your discussions from here on are purely around the welfare of your children.

Appropriate and healthy discussions is one element of having shared parenting. Everything to do with the kids like, education, sport, medical, emotional and general well-being is what should be open for discussion. There are some separated or divorced couples that can have a meal or a cup of coffee together to work through their children joint plans but there are others that face to face meetings always turns into arguments. It’s mostly because the discussion goes off topic. Know your limitations and work with it, but don’t ask your children to be the messenger or for them to be the mediator.

You must be the adult and put differences aside and focus discussions purely on what needs to be worked out for the children. As mentioned most arguments happen when you go off topic, writing down what needs to be discussed and stay on topic. When you work out whatever it is, it’s then time to call it a meeting, telephone call, or coffee?

You both don’t have a relationship anymore, you are only co/parenting your children. Nothing else matters or should be of interest to the either party.

If you have a terrible relationship with your ex and can’t stand the site of each other, it would be best to communicate by email and making sure that you monitor the tone and stick to only what must be discussed. It might even be necessary to seek a formal agreement or parenting plan covering the responsibilities of each parent, the more that can be pre agreed to the less contact you need to have with each other, which means the less stress , more routine and consistency and less anxiety if communication is poor.

Consistent and a routine is great for everyone but life has it that sometimes things come up that will prevent you from having the children over during your agreed time. It could be from you, your ex or something your children have on, when this happens and it will, don’t look for make-up time, simply let your ex know that something has come up and you’ll speak to your child but will just need to pick up from the next agreed time.

Its important to support and promote healthy friendship groups for your children

As your children get older, they will have things that will stop them from coming over from time to time. Treat this as normal, it’s not personal, they just like to be with their friends (they still love you). Best thing you can do is be supportive of this, be flexible and go with the flow.

Share your comments below so others can learnt from your experiences.

The Do’s and Don’ts of managing the time your child has with you.

Not living with your child everyday can make some Dads very protective, even jealous of time with your children. While many people would think this is a normal emotion it also highlights a need to look at things differently so that your protectiveness does not effect your children or your relationship with them.

It’s not about the time you have with your child. Rather, it’s the time your child has with you.

As children get older, they take on more and more external activities such as sport, friends and school activities etc and these activities can start to get in the way of your time. The feelings your experiencing are normal. But remember they are normal growing and developments pains. Understanding this and being accepting and flexible will only benefit you and your child’s growth and development.

If you are selfishly protective of your time with your children, if you believe that they would prefer to spend time on their own personal activities or with their friends rather than you, or if you complain and whinge, and think that their mother promotes this over spending time with you then you are gravely mistaken. Making your kids feel guilty about not spending their “allocated” time with you will only distance yourself from them and never achieve a normal relationship with your kids.

The best thing you can do is to show everyone including your children that their best interests are your top priority by displaying flexibility, understanding and maturity. You will gain major points with your kids if you approach it in this way.


  • Support and encourage your child’s healthy activities.
  • Provide financial, emotional and moral support.
  • Always offer transportation and logistical support even if its not on your time or if its not the activity you would have chosen.
  • Promote practise time of all activities when they are with you.
  • Let your child go to sleep-overs or visit their friends even when its on your time.
  • Promote your child to have friends sleep-over at your place, this will help keep the normalicy around your home.
  • Get involved if possible with their sport and be a volunteer at the club.


  • Deny your child good things to get involved in such as healthy activities, promote these activities always.
  • Be upset that these activities get in the way of your time with them. Instead where possible get involved in their activities (in a non intrusive manner).
  • Ask your ex for “make-up” time for the time you have missed because of these other activities. Being a Dad and sacrificing time is normal and it is a growing experience for you as well as them.
  • Make your child feel guilty or sad “EVER” for the time that they miss with you. Your child’s healthy active activity is far better than being forced to stay at home.

If you do this right, I can’t stress how much this will benefit you. It will assist in your Children’s adjustment and development, they’ll have a positive attitude towards you, request more time with you, and your relationship with them will be more normal.

Share your experiences as a separated parent and be part of the conversation, it can benefit many dads going through separation.

Note: Some phrases and points I have used from a good read called: Wednesday Evenings and Every other Weekend.