Movember Launches World’s First Online Parenting Programme For Dads

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Movember, the men’s health charity, launches online parenting programme designed for fathers.

Men’s health charity, Movember, has launched the world’s first online parenting programme aimed at helping dads (and mums, too) to improve their parenting skills and understand their children’s behaviour.

Movember’s Family Man is a free, online course designed to equip parents of children, aged between two and eight, with the practical skills to manage challenging child behaviour and increase their parenting confidence.

Following research that parenting interventions are more effective when both parents are involved, a study also revealed that only around 20 per cent of most parenting programmes are fathers¹. According to the research, it’s claimed financial costs, work commitments, lack of time and a reluctance to actively seek help are among the leading reasons dads are often less involved parenting courses.

The course has been adapted from a successful evidence-based programme called ParentWorks, designed by Professor Mark Dadds at the University of Sydney, and has been vetted by a global panel of psychologists and parenting experts.

The results of an open trial of the ParentWorks programme, which was tested on 456 parents and published in the journal of Child Psychiatry & Human Development last year, found significant decreases in parent-reported child emotional and behavioural problems and parental mental health problems in those who took part.

It’s said that improvements in child behaviour following Movember’s Family Man parenting programme may be seen within as little as two weeks.

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What’s Included in Movember’s Family Man Parenting Programme?

The course is an interactive programme, comprising of three 20-minute animated episodes. Although the programme can be used by any parent or caregiver, Family Man is primarily aimed at fathers.

Each episode features a father as the main character who is faced with challenging child behaviours in different situations such as a battle over the dinner table or a tantrum in public.

Users are given a number of possible ways to respond to the child’s behaviour in each situation, and the pros and cons and likely outcomes of each option are clearly explained, which helps the user understand the best possible parenting response.

Speaking about the programme, Jane Endacott, Director of Digital Health, Mental Health and Suicide Prevention at Movember, says: “Being a parent can be a very rewarding experience, but it isn’t always easy. Dealing with meltdowns in the supermarket or a child who repeatedly ignores instructions can be incredible stressful. It can cause friction at home and over time that can impact the whole family’s mental wellbeing.

“There is a huge amount of research that shows parenting is more effective when it’s done as a team. We know that when all available parents are engaged in parenting decisions, it benefits the whole family.”

Professor Dadds of the University of Sydney adds: “Evidence-based parenting programmes are effective in reducing behavioural problems, yet few involve the participation of fathers.

“Family Man was designed to be accessible to all families and may be especially useful in rural and remote areas, where resources can be hard to access.

“It is delivered online, without the support of trained practitioners, which overcomes a key barrier for many parents.”

¹Fletcher R, Freeman E, Matthey S (2011) The impact of behavioural parent training on fathers’ parenting: a meta-analysis of the Triple P-Positive Parenting Program. Father J Theory Res Pract Men Father 9(3):291–312

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