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Dinner conversations with Dad

Ever sat around the dinner table and wondered what questions you could ask your dad to really find out more about him?
Remember all families have been through good and bad times. There were many years before you were born that your Dad had a life probably very different to the life we all have today. Find out, you might be pleasantly suprised.

Experience, Knowledge and History

Through it all there is a wealth of experience, knowledge and history that can be explored with pre-thought crafted questions to get the conversation started. Good questions can be fun and they can also help create bonds and show that there is something larger that themselves.

Below are questions that could be written/printed onto cards and taken to your next family dinner, or even on your next zoom call if you don’t catch up for dinners? Its a good idea to pre-warn your dad so that they can weave their answers to demonstrate that they have travelled a road that has had pebbles and rocks but in the end it worked out through good decision making to show the younger generation listening that you have resilience and come through it well or at least ok.

Table Questions:

  1. How many houses have you lived in over you life so far?
  2. What do you remember about those houses you lived in as a child? Which one did you like the best and why?
  3. How did you cope without internet? What do you love about having internet today?
  4. Has there been a family member who has been a good life coach? and why?
  5. What was your favourite book, TV show, Movie when you were my age?
  6. Tell me about a family reunion or family party that you remember attending when you were a child?
  7. Was there a favourite story that your grandfather or grandmother told you as a child? Tell us
  8. What was the most embarrassing thing that your mum or Dad did to you?
  9. What were the best memories you had as a child on holidays?
  10. Did you parents ever loose their jobs? What happened? How did they start over?
  11. What did your grandparents do with you that you loved?
  12. How are you different than your parents? What did they do that you didn’t enjoy?
  13. If you could go back to a period of time in your childhood, when would that be?
  14. How did you parents change after they retired?
  15. If there was anything you could know about our family history or a relative that has died? what would you want to know?
  16. What was the hardest thing you went through as a child and how died you cope with it?
  17. Which family relative did you like the most and why?
  18. Has anything ever happened in the family that took a while to come to terms with?
  19. What career job would you have liked to do but never did?
  20. What hobbies did you have as a child? Which one did you out more time into?
  21. What Primary and Secondary schools did you go to? When did you finish school and why?

Making dinner party memories is easier than you thought, try some more questions here: 40 more dinner table questions

If you’re still lucky enough to have your Grandfather or Grandmother in your life, the answers to their question may be very different to those of your Dads.

Why don’t you write them out onto cards and bring them along to your next dinner and learn a little more about your dad or grandad? Share your experience below, we would love to hear how it went. Did you learn something you never knew? Something insightful or suprising?

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?

Are you All in or do you Chip in

30 years ago it was common place in a heterosexual relationship for the female to do all the housework, cooking and parenting of the children. The male was responsible for earning money and mowing the lawns.

Often the male also took on the role of disciplinarian and that is why many baby-boomer men lacked connection to their fathers and even resented them.

Things have changed “thankfully” it’s no longer about what is the male or female role, it’s about partnership and working together so each person equally shares the load for running the family.

Listening to many mums, they still feel the inequality of parenting and household duties and in some cases are over-whelmed by it, causing tension within the relationship.

Some dads say they are busy working, sometimes travelling away and they think that chipping in is ok?  I’m always amazed and feel sorry for these dads as they don’t realise how much they miss out on.  Are these dads tired, lazy or do they have their fathers’ DNA engrained in them? probably a bit of all it?  I think could be a learned habit from their upbringing!

I remember my partner said to me once “Show me a man that is ‘All In’ around the house and I’ll show you a man that is having sex…an interesting thought ? is it true guys?

When I was a single dad and sharing responsibility of my daughter 50/50, I experienced first hand everything required to run a functional home.  I combined work and nurtured all the needs of my child all at the same time, it’s not easy but the benefits out-way the hard work.  It’s constant, often starting as soon as the kids open their eyes (and sometimes before).

Being organised, having a system and routine helps to reduce the stress in running a functional home.  The less you have to think about when and what needs doing the easier it will be to juggle kids, home and work.  No one succeeds if you don’t give it your best effort, make it something that you want to master.  Master the shopping, master the cooking, master the cleaning, master the nurturing of your child.  It can be all done with little stress if you give into it and never be wishing you were somewhere else or out with your mates.

Having a partner and sharing the household jobs and parenting is much easier than having to do it all by yourself.  Don’t make your partner feel like a single parent. Be an ‘All In’ dad and make life great for all of you.  The rewards are fantastic and you will have a much happier relationship and family life will be more relaxing.

Relationship benefits from being an All In dad.

  • love
  • more sex
  • more fun
  • feel valued
  • productive
  • reduced stress
  • less arguments
  • higher self esteem
  • a sense of purpose
  • emotional support
  • feeling appreciated
  • time with each other
  • time for your hobbies
  • better communication
  • better shared experiences
  • feeling confident and secure
  • become a better version of yourself
  • Feel part of the whole family and something bigger

How many Dads are All In or do you Chip In – answer the quiz below…

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.


What you say before your child walks out the door could save a life

We have all been there, our child (son or daughter) walks out to go off to a party or a club and we say ” have a good time” or “don’t do anything I wouldn’t do” or “take care” or “be careful”.

That’s it? I really do feel we need to spell out what exactly that means, to keep our children and their friends safe.

What we should say – to sons:

  • Make sure you protect girls that are with you and don’t allow anyone to bully them or take advantage of them
  • Make sure you treat all girls with respect and never go along with anything that you know is wrong
  • When you are out drinking with friends and you see a girl that is drunk or vulnerable, you be responsible and ensure she is safe and no
    one touches her in an indecent way. If they do, gather your friends (for support) and say something to make it stop and take her to safety
  • Don’t be frightened to say NO, if you feel whats happening is wrong!
  • Don’t take indecent photos of friends
  • Call 000 if you feel someone needs more help than what you can give.
  • Call me anytime night or day and I will come and pick you and your friends up

What we should say – to daughters:

  • Make sure you stick together and look out for each other
  • Do not allow boys to speak to you or your girlfriends with disrespectful language
  • It perfectly ok to say NO!
  • Don’t leave a girlfriend behind with a group of boys, everyone leaves together
  • Choose boys who you know and trust to get you home safely
  • Never leave your drink unattended when you go to the bathroom, get a good friend to mind it or take it with you
  • If you see a girl that is getting drunk make sure she has friends around her if not, tell her friends
  • Don’t take indecent photos of friends
  • Call me anytime night or day and I will come and pick you and your friends up
  • Call 000 if you feel someone needs more help than what you can give

If your kids walk out and you have had a discussion around safety for them and their friends, they are far better off and safer for it.

The secret for an argument free zone

I always wondered when the debating of simple tasks and requests would start or unnecessary attitude, i can tell you its around 10-12 then buckle up at 13+.
Prior to that, they are beautiful pliable sweethearts that allow you to guide them, take them and pick them up from anywhere and they follow instruction without question (their still beautiful).

Now is chalk and cheese, its another stage that will pass and we will eventually move on… but boy, it can be frustrating, stressful, challenging and hair pulling crazy (if I had any) during those years. I have experienced lying straight to my face over the simplest things, not taking responsibility for actions like loosing keys, public transport cards and keeping their room tidy. We know that teenagers go through a growing up phase and test their weight and Independence with parents.

They do this knowing that the worst thing that will happen is they get a verbal telling off or loose there phone privileges for a day, all pretty soft punishment and i imagine in their mind not enough to curve the behavior?

I think when kids start questioning parents they are trying to figure out what is right and what is wrong because they are starting to become a little more knowledgeable in the world. Although very annoying and frustrating for us parents, its important to remember to keep our composure (don’t fight rudeness with rudeness or yelling with yelling), remind them of the boundaries and politeness they need to show other people and don’t bite back.

I would always keep on carrying out consequences such as reduced time for TV, Loose mobile phone/iPad usage, Early to bed and let them know this will happen if it continues so there are no surprises when it does.

A tip for a argument free zone, is, I do not expect 100% good behavior during these years (it’s about your expectation). I accept 80%, so during these years they can have their own room 20% messier than normal (nowhere else) 20% more attitude without being disrespectful, 20% more moody and they can have that in the quiet of their own bedroom. It takes the pressure off everyone because I feel if we are looking for perfection you will not find it anywhere and it will cause ongoing arguing, so just give them a little slack.

I was told once that everything we do for our children should be a gift. We should not expect anything in return! i.e. we should not expect good behavior because we cook, wash and clean for them. If you expect this then don’t do it. Do these things for them out of love.

Its always a great idea to explain what is acceptable and its a discussion you will not only have once...When your beautiful child says ? Get off my back! or Shut up!? they have often heard it said on their favorite TV shows or possibly from the friends they’re hanging around with.  So be clear about what is and isn’t okay. Tell them, it’s fine to say that she’s angry or tired, for instance, or that she doesn’t feel like talking at the moment. But name-calling, yelling, or telling you to go away is unacceptable.

So there is no need to throw the towel in, its important that your kids know that you will always be in the game regardless of their behavior. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and it will arrive sometime around 18+. Our kids feel the freedom they have been craving. They are getting into full or part-time work, going to Uni, getting their license and feel what its like to have more independence. So turning human again at 18 plus is not to far away for some but for others it feels like a million years 🙂

Its important you don’t let the outburst episodes eat into you, remember its a phases and a time that will pass so don’t buy into the terrible behavior. Roll with it, respond calmly and be kind to yourself even if others aren’t being kind to you. Self-care is critical during these year, treat yourself, find peaceful time away from the kids, talk to a counsellor. Do what ever it take to stay in the game without dissolving your relationship with your child because its not personal, its very normal and happening across millions of homes.

Its a stage like all others stages of growing up and they are completely aware of it too (It’s not easy for them either). Love them unconditionally and be as tolerant as possible, the stage will pass.

xox when they need rescuing

I recently read an article about having an TEXT word if your children are ever in a spot they feel that they can’t get out off and need “rescuing”.

The article was very good but the plan they were using was called the X Plan. The idea was to send an “X” if they needed an out to a situation they found themselves him.

The issue with an X is that if I got this during the night I would just think my daughter was sending me a kiss. I wouldn’t jump out of bed, and head to rescue her, I would probably just send back a “x”.

The idea behind this methodology is to keep your children safe if they feel they are out of their depth or find themselves in a spot they can’t get out of.

I spoke to my daughter about these situations you could find yourself in, such as:

  • Being with a group of boys that you feel are not respecting you or your girlfriends
  • Being offered drugs and the people you are with are not accepting no
  • People you are with are drinking more than you feel comfortable with
  • The boy you are with wants to have sex and he is not accepting no
  • You’re in a aggressive situation and feel you cant leave on your own
  • Have found yourself with strangers and you feel uncomfortable with them for any reason
  • You feel trapped and find it difficult to get way from any harmful situation

I also discussed to be assertive and confident with your decisions but if that is not working then you need to send me a sms with XOX (a little like SOS). This is a safe-plan and using some letters that she would not normally use. I get all the x’s but never a xox, so we decided that was a good sms. You work out the best sms code that work for you too 🙂

If and when I received an sms, I would call the her phone immediately and say…

Hi, Something has happened with a family member and I need to come and get you. I will tell you more about it when you are in the car. Where are you, I am on my way.

If the location is not the location I was expecting her to be, I am happy for her to tell me as little or as much as she wants to. I am just happy that she is away from a situation she believed was harmful.

Managing depression whilst studying

Depression gets a bad rap for a lot of things, which to be fair is pretty reasonable because living with depression is pretty shit. Especially when it comes to exam time, and everyone seems to be bragging about how much study they’ve done, and you can’t even get the energy to make a study plan. This can be ten times worse for repeat exams, as everyone is out enjoying the summer, and you’re at home just staring at your laptop and praying for motivation to fall from somewhere.

Depression plays havoc with your concentration levels, affecting your focus, memory and the ability to sit still and pay attention to something for more than 5 minutes. Or at least, that’s how I find it. Sometimes I get bursts of motivation and I can bring myself to study for a decent half hour, but even then it isn’t easy. Making revision plans doesn’t work, trying to avoid distractions is just a ridiculous suggestion and time is pretty hard to manage because depression is hard to manage, and it doesn’t always abide by time schedules or deadlines.

I used to be really good at studying, I love learning and since I’ve become affected by depression, the thing I’ve struggled with most is not being able to study. I feel lazy, and ungrateful, and despite how hard I worked to get into college in the first place, I feel like by not being able to study, I’m wasting my college place, and all the money that has been spent on it. Depression affects your ability to enjoy the things you used to love doing, so it’s blatantly obvious that it’ll do even more to the things that you know you have to do, but you might not enjoy. Due to this, I don’t enjoy a lot of stuff that I used to do, so when I find things I like, I tend to do them instead of studying. Procrastination is a massive part of my life, and I have wasted so many hours watching Geordie Shore and H2O: Just Add Water, instead of sitting down and going over notes.

I’m repeating exams that I failed because I was in a rough enough place when I took them, and I just didn’t have the spare energy to study, and now I’m back in the same situation. I think there’s a massive amount of pressure on people to go to university and graduate with a decent degree, and when people fail exams, the typical response is “Get your head down, and cop on”. It’s hard for people to understand living with depression if they have never had to, and so some people don’t get how difficult it can be for people with mental illnesses to actually “get their head down”. Studying is hard for most people, and exams are a rough time for everyone, so with added pressure, it’s ten times worse.

Sometimes I wish I could just be accepted into next year without having to study, because I love my degree, and I wouldn’t be able to afford repeating the year. I know I’m not the only one struggling, and I would love it if we were all a bit more honest on social media. It’s natural for us all to compare what we see on Facebook, where people show off their best sides, but every once in a while it would be nice to see some honesty, especially when it comes to things that most of us will deal with. I’m very open about my struggles with anxiety, but sometimes I’m almost embarrassed to talk about my depression, which is ridiculous.

It’s healthy to talk, and many people in Australia suffer from depression, so you won’t be the only one talking.

We have some of the highest suicide rates in the world. The conversation has been repeated so many times, and we made some incredible strides fighting against the mental health cuts in the budget this year, but we need to do more. As difficult as it is, I think we need to talk more about our feelings. It’s even harder for guys to talk about their feelings because of the ridiculous stereotypes surrounding masculinity and emotions. Suicide rates in young men between ages 18 and 24 is 3 times higher than females. Having depression, or other mental health problems are not something to be ashamed of. If you don’t have any mental health problems, that doesn’t make you any less entitled to speak up if you’re having a bad day. It can sometimes be totally isolating, and you deserve to have someone to talk to.

There are many supports for mental health problems in universities, so if you’re struggling with your repeat exams, or any exams at all, don’t be afraid to message your welfare officer and see what help you can avail of. Don’t suffer in silence during exams, and even if you can’t study, you can try to make things a little bit easier on yourself. You deserve it!

Thank you to Rebekah Humphries for her article 🙂

Why are you being so rude to me…I dont know?

Why are you being so rude to me...I dont know I’m learning very quickly about moody teenagers and trying to be tolerant, but I want to jump in a time machine and go forward 10 years because this is hell!
It seems like I cannot do or say anything that is right and any advise or solutions given feels like a lecture to them.

I understand that there are lots of hormones going on, our school had a night for year 7 parents and covered off areas around dealing with this change.

How to cope with teenage children:

  • Don’t buy into schoolyard arguments, the kids will work it out
  • Be a listener and be there but don’t try and solve their problems
  • Be encouraging and be there but let them work things out in there own time

Adults brains apparently have a hormone called THP which has a calming influence, In our teenagers this same THP heightens anxiety – of course it does 🙂 . I keep reminding myself they are going through many new experiences and having to cope with new challenges like: hormonal change, body changes, developing identity, pressure from friends, and a developing sense of independence.

I am sure they don’t like the moods either. I asked her once..

Why are you being so rude to me? She replied “I dont know”?  

So I just left it and I understood she wasn’t meaning to be rude and she didn’t like it either. I could tell she knew it was wrong.

These reminders are my savior, Thank God there are times where she is calm, happy, respectful and loving otherwise I would go completely out of my mind! So I am just trying to roll with it, provide support and stability. Still setting ground rules for respect as I expect her to be respectful to all people. I pick my battles, remain calm and try to redirect the negative behaviour.

A couple of tips in this areas could be:

  • Pick your battles. If your teenager is basically behaving, ignore minor annoyances such as shrugs, raised eyebrows, or bored looks.
  • Sometimes, teens may be inadvertently disrespectful. (Again, their brains are developing.) Calmly ask about their intention — for example, “That comment came out sounding pretty offensive. Did you mean to behave rudely?

I know its a stage that lots of kids go through, she is a beautiful girl and has a kind warm heart. If she is rude and I do discuss it, I make sure I talk about the behaviour not the person. I’m always  trying to affirm her worth as a person even as I explain why her behavior was unacceptable.

Through the next few years (OMG), I’ll always be involved and interested in her everyday life and be interested in her sport and activities. Even during the times when she is unlovable, I will still give hugs, words of praise, little note in her lunch box with words of love often, because they need it and want unconditional love to help them get through it.

I came across this YouTube video and it reminds me that sometimes they DON’T KNOW why they are being rude and we shouldn’t get upset or take it personally.

Will your teen choose to take drugs or alcohol?

Will Your Teen Choose to Take Drugs or AlcoholAt some point during their teenage years, almost all young adults will be given the opportunity to try drugs or alcohol. Some teens will resist the opportunity that is presented to them, whilst others will be unable to give in to temptation: The problem is though, that for children with addictive tendencies, what was intended to be a one off thing could well lead to a lifelong addiction problem. The best course of action, then, is to encourage your teen to always say no: but what makes one teen more likely to be able to resist temptation than others?

Some teens are simply better equipped to stand up to their peers and say no; often those teens with the ability to do this have other healthy coping skills when they are facing times of adversity, such as exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and attending positive sports and social groups such as their school band or other organised groups and societies.

Unfortunately, the drug and alcohol industry is full of successful marketeers who make the idea of taking drugs or drinking alcohol seem glamorous and ‘cool’: many teens are susceptible to these kinds of messages. Drug and alcohol use are still widely shown in movies, in music videos and on TV, which can sadly normalise their use amongst teens, leading teens to make adverse choices.

Exploration is an important part of being an adolescent, but uncontrolled exploration of drugs and alcohol can be very dangerous and potentially life destroying: this is something it is important for parents to attempt to control.

To find out more about the reasons why teens may choose to turn to alcohol and drugs, you can read a full version of this article here.

Thank you to Mel Gale for her guide.

Missing childhood events can impact adult relations

missing childhood events can impact adult relationsFor many years my eldest daughter has not spoken to me and I don’t really know why? You do a lot of soul searching and try to piece events together to get some sense of her saying that she “wants to distance herself from you”

She has married and you guessed it, I was not invited to the wedding! No walking her down the isle, no spending time with her prior to the wedding reminiscing about life and the wonderful possibilities that lay ahead. No meeting her future husband or her new extended family, just shut out. I did not do anything that deserves this punishment.

My relationship with her I believe was loving but less than satisfactory due to the restraints that were put upon us. When she was only a little child of 2 years, the family court said I could only see her on every second weekend. Making the most of it, we were Melbourne’s biggest tourists. I kept myself available for that weekend. I didn’t seek out career opportunities because it may have had me working away from home, I didn’t take on a girlfriend because I wanted to be completely available to her. Those weekends seemed to come around quickly, it was 52 days out of 365 a year and I cherished every one of them.

I sought counselling in the early days to deal with the grief of missing her and coping with a non supportive mother. They told me “maintain your commitment and don’t argue, just be her knight and shining armour and she will realise you are a good dad and a committed one when she is older”. In the weeks between, I would send her a card or a CD single of what ever was a popular song for that fortnight, there must have been shoe boxes of them if they were kept? but I think the forces were against me from the start!

She very quickly had a step-father and two step sisters, an instant family versus a single dad every second weekend.

Looking back I liken it to getting in the ring with Danny Green, it was never going to go my way.

Separation from your child causes sadness, heartache, regret and shame, not to mention the belief that you’ve failed at one of life’s most important tasks. Never for one moment would I have believed that I would be rejected for no apparent reason or no explanation?

Confused and at a loss to understand why I have been cut out of her life, I went searching online for answers. It seems that instances like this are often rooted in issues that go back to childhood. Issues and feelings that were never dealt with during childhood such as a conflicted divorce which can cause pain and anger that can fester. Then a “triggering incident” occurs later in life, often leading to an argument, and then the child cuts the parent off.

The arguments that can trigger these events can be a little as where to have Christmas dinner? In my case it was over her inability to attend the theater which opened up a can of worms that I was never expecting.

It has been very hard for me to comprehend what I did to push her away, in my mind I chased her and Ive been available all her growing years (every second weekend) until late teens. However there are some critical moments that play a huge role in the ability to connect in the early years that may result in suppressed anger and disappointment.

Answers I have uncovered recently that I wish I had of known earlier. Questions like:

  • Were you there for their school plays?
  • Did you attend parent teacher interviews,
  • Did you help them with their homework?
  • Did you go to their birthday parties?
  • Did you take care of them when they were sick?

Knowing the answers to these questions gives me insight into how my absence could have contributed in her ability to walk away.

I was never avoiding my daughter it was the set of circumstances we were in, I regretted every day that we were apart.

My ex wife and I did not have a co-parenting relationship, I had to constantly fight for fair access even though there was a court order in place. At one point I was denied my agreed access so I headed immediately back to court and had it reinstated.  This went on during the early years which killed any future healthy communication between her mother and I. Attending any joint events I felt like I was not welcome and I didn’t want my daughter to see that.

Regrettably I couldn’t attend her 21st, I was completely torn between going and not going. The anxiety I felt was overwhelming. Lots of old “so called” friends that deserted me like rats leaving a sinking ship were going to be at the party. I had become very distant and removed from that circle of friends due to our divorce. Even my best friend of 25 years sided with his fiance at the time and chose to distance himself from me.  To attend what I perceived to be the “lions den” caused over whelming anxiety, I just couldn’t do it! .

I discuss my feelings in depth with my daughter and I thought she understood my position, maybe not… I cant help but think what is happening now could be part of that unresolved festering anger ?

I know that an apology may not heal all wounds, I did wish back then I had the chance. She refuses to communicate and didn’t return calls or messages after repeated attempts on my part, so I have pulled back. You can’t force someone to love you, at some point you need to come to peace with the fact that you did everything you could to be the best dad that you were allowed to be.

I will be the only father she will ever have.  She has now had 2 children of her own, hopefully she will understand the undying bond between a parent and a child has and imagines what I went through as a separated dad seeing her sadly only 52 days a year.

Some of my reference material from my online sole searching has been from: The secret side of anger ,  Why adolescence don’t appreciate their parents , How to heal a rift with your adult children

Protecting children is everyone’s business

Report AbuseWhile browsing the web, you come across an image of a child which causes you distress. You believe the child has been sexually abused.

So, how can you report this to police?

You can report online child sexual abuse at by clicking the Report Abuse button. Reports of this nature go directly to our Child Protection Operations team for assessment.

In any situation where a person or child is in immediate danger, call Triple Zero (000).

Protecting children is everyone’s business. This White Balloon Day, think about how you can help to make Australia the safest place in the world for our kids.