Catholic Social Services offers Dunedin fathers their own space to talk with other blokes about being a dad.

The agency had been running parenting groups and activities for mums, but saw a need for men to focus on their particular issues as dads.  Fathers’ group ‘Game On’ began in October 2006 with five dads.  Eight groups and 48 participants later, it has become an established course.

Game On is a men’s group which does not focus on negative issues like anger, violence and loss.  “From the start it was decided that this course would take a positive look at fathering,” says social worker Mike Tonks, who co-facilitates the group.

“It’s a group for any father, from any walk of life, who wants to be a more active dad.”

Men taking the course have included teenage dads, solo dads and those who have shared care of their children.

The six-week course, held four times a year, includes sessions on communication, boundaries, good food and smart goals.

“I came along thinking I’d help the other guys, however I soon realised that I needed this,” one participant commented.

Another dad is putting some parenting tips into practice.  “I’ve tried to implement changes at home, such as turning off the TV at meal times and having fresh food for snacks and rewards for helping at home.”

Game On received Tindall Foundation funding in 2007 through our New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference Funding Manager.

For further information contact:

Mike Tonks, Social Worker, Catholic Social Services