Interview with Dads Group Inc.

Introducing Dads Group Inc.

Dads Group Inc. was formed in 2014 when co-founders – and rookie parents – Tom and Kate Docking bemoaned the lack of governmental support for new fathers.

Today, DGI is a not-for-profit venture that collaborates with councils and government agencies to develop peer-to-peer support groups.

DGI’s group coordinator Adam Tardif took some time out of his busy schedule to chat with The Dad Website‘s co-founder & editor (and fellow Melburnian) Daniel Lewis.

Thanks for your time, guys. What’s the main goal with DGI?

DGI’s main goal is to reduce isolation by creating a supportive and engaging environment for dads to connect with other dads Australia-wide. Isolation can lead to mental health issues, family violence and suicide.

Can you describe some of the regular events that you manage?

DGI leaders host hundreds of events each year. The most frequent events are micro-community events for new fathers and their babies. These happen in cafes or in parks. DGI also helps to facilitate family events such as BBQs for the whole family to be a part of. We also run major regional events called ‘Man With A Pram‘, which help connect new families with the wider community.

How many groups do you have with the DGI network?

We have more than 30 groups that have a coffee catch-up on a weekly to fortnightly basis. The dads bring their babies along to encourage their involvement – plus a big bonus is that Mum gets a break for a couple of hours as well!

What’s the response from dads been like?

Dads actually love to connect with other dads and their kids. There is a “normalising” of the challenges that come with parenting which seems to inspire new fathers and encourage them on their journey. Some dads are exceptionally isolated and DGI groups allow them to connect back in with a former reality (mates and social connection).

Important Men’s Business

What does being a dad mean to you?

I feel so fulfilled being a dad. Family is my number-one value so having a beautiful child to raise as your own, and adding to the family means the world to me.

Being a dad is the opportunity to nurture, grow and learn from a child. It is also an opportunity to demonstrate leadership in your family and community to positively impact other fathers and families.

Being a dad is the opportunity to nurture, grow and learn from a child. It is also an opportunity to demonstrate leadership in your family and community to positively impact other fathers and families.

What has been the single biggest challenge fatherhood has presented you?

The single biggest challenge for me has been learning how to take care of a baby and how to take care of my partner who’s facing her own new challenges as well. There is no guide; there are no rules so you are just guessing as you go. I have found it’s best to trust your gut instinct and learn.

Do you have any advice for new dads doing it tough?

Take a step back and reflect on what you’ve got, think about what’s important to you, strip back all the bullshit that can cloud your judgment and focus on what you enjoy about being a dad.

Generally, how do you think the modern dad is faring?

I think the modern dads are trying their best to be as involved as possible in the most amazing way, the issue is most are confused about what to do, what their role is and how life is different.

Dads are struggling to deal with the fact that they are still considered as only the provider, not important enough to be involved so we are often pushed to the side. However, that is changing and with the support from Dads Group Inc. we know we can shift the change to have dads more involved in the planning and development of their child.

What about the modern mum?

Modern mothers, like their predecessors, are unsung heroines adding challenge after challenge to their days, often empowering children and partners without even realising their exceptional value. Many wise men realise the honour it is to live life with and learn from their partner… a modern mum.

Would you say the tide is turning in terms of acceptance or understanding of modern dads and their place as caregivers to their kids?

The tide is certainly turning for dads and their place as caregivers to their kids. I think that will continue to grow as long as we are included and supported during the early years of their child’s life. It is not uncommon to see dads at appointments or pushing the pram down the street on their own, we want to see dads connecting in dads groups.

If you had to name one thing you’ve learned about yourself since becoming a parent, what would it be? 

One I have learnt since becoming a parent is to become more comfortable with having very little control. A baby changes practically daily so you have to roll with it.

Finally, our Heart Talks poser: what are five things your kids should know before they turn 18?

  • To always believe in themselves.
  • To show love, care and compassion towards others and themselves.
  • To be grateful for everything they have.
  • That they can do what they want as long as they are happy.
  • To understand the value of a dollar, work hard and earn their way.

Follow Dads Group Inc on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

There are 2 comments

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  1. Daniel Rowley

    Hi, I am a father of 3 children. My eldest is now 16. We have had our ups and downs over the years, but now we are doing loads of stuff and getting on well. This is partly thanks to starting our own radio show!
    We pick the playlist together, write the content and host together.
    It is great fun and we encourage people to get in touch so it can be a great way to combat isolation. Our station is called DCR Online and our show is called My Generation, to reflect our differing musical tastes. Ironically my son often chooses music from the 1950’s and 60’s while I choose modern music. The show is broadcast live digitally as well as being available to listen to on the mixcloud app.
    Would this be of interest to your group?

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