On the United Nation’s International Day of Families the council is highlighting the support it offers to dads in Westminster.
Alan, 47, from Maida Vale, attended a free eight-week parenting course for dads that helped him to build a better relationship with his two teenage girls, Abi 16 and Jessica 19.
“Last year Abi began to miss a lot of school and we noticed her confidence and self-esteem were low. Jessica has always been very confident and there was a mixture of admiration and envy from Abi. We were not communicating well as a family and I wanted to bridge the gap that had appeared between me and my children.
“The first part of the course involved having to understand ourselves, how our messages may be coming across and discussing our anxieties as dads. The course reassured me that there are other people in my situation and having those guys listening was really useful. It can be difficult raising a teenager but the course taught us to see the world through our child’s eyes. Children are exposed to so much and while they seem like they are independent, they still need reassurance, security and comfort from parents.
“I don’t want my children missing out on being a family, and the course has allowed us to be more open and honest. My relationship with Abi is much better. She is now much more confident, her attendance at school is improving and she knows she has a voice in our family.”
There are lots of free parenting courses on offer. Some Children’s Centres organise stay and play and support services for dads, and Family Lives runs a free, confidential helpline for all parents on 0808 800 2222, as well as live chat and email support.