April 23, 2013 Leave a comment
Brian Russell speaks with Global Morning Show about dads and how they connect/bond with their babies.
It's the best job on the planet
March 20, 2013 Leave a comment
Fathers can help their children have a healthy lifestyle by teaching their children to look after their body through eating well and exercise.
There are many benefits of having a healthy lifestyle. Here are some:
Here are some ideas of how to building a healthy lifestyle for kids:
Be active: Have vigorous activity for your children everyday.
Do it together:Plan activities together, for example, walks, bike rides and swimming.
Be involved:Encourage involvement in community sports. Children meet new people and learn new skills.
Keep balanced:Help your children deal with stress and other emotions well.
Limit “screen time”:Keep television, computer use, and gaming to a minimum.
Watch the snacks: Keep all snacks as healthy and nutritious as possible. Limit
snacking while watching TV.
Be selective:Teach your children to select healthy food. You will not always be around
to do this for them.
Get good habits:Teach your children good exercise habits.
Sleep:Make sure your children get enough sleep.
Be a healthy role-model:Children learn from your example.
Relax:Have a relaxed, flexible parenting style with your children.
Have fun: Enjoy your time with your children. This is important for all of you.
For more ideas and tips, check out the factmarks at dadcentral.ca.
March 1, 2013 2 Comments
Mental Illness in Men: Awareness, Detection and Treatment
One in 5 Canadians will experience a mental illness, meaning, 20% of men and women will require mental health care at some point throughout their lifetime. Despite the fact that the overall rates of mental disorders are equal in men and women, it has been well established that men are much less likely than women to seek and receive treatment. Although there are many factors to explain this discrepancy, it’s worth taking a look at what needs to be done to ensure men seek and receive equal and adequate care.
For starters, it is important for men to be aware when they have symptoms of mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety or alcohol abuse. Studies have shown that men are less likely to acknowledge symptoms of mental illness compared to women. Doctors also need to be more aware that men suffer from all forms of mental illness and that these illnesses can impair a man’s functioning at home even before it interferes with their ability to work.
This increase in awareness, along with better public education and individual engagement, should improve the accurate detection of mental health disorders in men. In some cases, doctors are quick to diagnose alcohol abuse in men and overlook symptoms of depression. The sooner any disorder can be identified the earlier treatment can begin. Unfortunately men are more likely to receive help when their illness is quite severe, causing significant disruption to their lives.
Effective treatment requires making the right diagnosis, educating the patient, and providing interventions that improve a man’s symptoms and quality of life. In order to provide this type of care, the health care system needs to take a closer look at how to deliver these services to men in a way that truly works. Many university hospitals have well-established Women’s Mental Health Programs designed to treat the unique needs of women, especially mental health issues that arise during pregnancy. These programs can be used as a model to develop Men’s Mental Health Programs that are designed to engage men in order to better understand and treat their unique mental health needs. (Yes, even a women’s pregnancy can be a vulnerable time for the expectant father to develop symptoms of a mental disorder).
Acknowledging, detecting and treating the 20% of us who have a mental health disorder will have a profound impact on our social health. Mental illnesses may negatively influence our behaviour and quite often impair our daily functioning, our relationships and our roles within society including our role as a father. One thing our children need, are fathers who model ways to maintain their mental wellness, and for those fathers with mental illness, it is important that they acknowledge their condition and seek treatment.
Andrew Howlett MD FRCPC
Psychiatrist and Researcher in Men’s/Fathers’ Mental Health
You know there’s nothing like being a dad. It’s so hard and so exciting all at once. Sometimes it feels like you’re messing up while other times you’re so shocked that things work out at all. The best moments I find for reflection are during lessons. It’s amazing how hard it is to get the kids ready and convinced to even go but then there is that one moment in the stands or on a bench where you can slow down and take it all in because, as we all know, they grow up so fast. Take a moment while you’re sitting there, turn off your phone, and just watch your child and enjoy them.I’m a poet so I would like to share with you two poems that I wrote while watch my sons at their lessons. Enjoy.
kick flutter pop breath head tilts cup palm of wave splash under water
dolphin tail slap slip stream stroke spin skims surface belly flop
drop dive swan scuttle flick eggbeater front crawl arrowhead chlorine
kiss shower down.
learning to skate
buttocks kiss ice cold hard a beaver tail slap shot thunderclap snow
plough dime stop helmet bounce skate blade swish ankles bent
pitter-patter shuffle puck pounce zamboni rumble roars high fives.
5th Dan (degree) Black Belt with the Canadian Wado Ryu Federation, Affliated with the Wado Ryu Karate do Academy and the Japan Wado Ryu Renmei
5th Dan with Karate Canada and Karate Ontario, both recognized by Sports Canada
NCCP level I (National Coaching Certificate Program)
York Region District School Board Secondary Teacher for 13 Years
an all round decedent guy and awesome father.
Entering grade 9 was a difficult transition for me. I stumbled into new surroundings with more classmates, new teachers, and higher expectations. For anyone in the first year of high school, it is possibly their first major social and structural life change as a teenager, and it doesn’t come lightly. In my experience, I was able to pull together what was almost a lost semester. I set myself up to attain 7 of 8 credits, French being a grade too low to recover from. Let’s just say my friends use to call it a milk mark cause it was close to two per cent. I completed grade nine with 7 of 8 credits. I entered grade 10 with a plan to pick up the compulsory grade 9 French credit. That was the plan of the adults in my life. I planned to speak to my guidance counselor and get an exemption from the course. I didn’t want to face this challenge and risk failing once again. I skipped 17 of the first 18 classes, determined to prove I was incapable. I didn’t like being a grade 10 student surrounded by ‘minor-niners’. I always made it home from school before my father returned from work. This made it very easy to erase the phone messages that stated my absence from class. I thought I was getting away with it in almost criminal fashion. I set up an appointment with my guidance counselor. This was my chance to get exempt once and for all. He asked me to have a seat and pulled out my grades and attendance records. He acknowledged that French was not my forte but there was one problem; my father told him under no circumstances, is his son to be exempt for failing grades. I begged, and pleaded, but my dad held firm, and so did the guidance department under his instruction. A plan was created for me to meet with my teacher and iron out the details of how I can attain the compulsory credit. The plan required that I spend many lunch hours doing French work in a portable under my teacher’s supervision. I lost much of my social time to make up for my mistake. I didn’t miss another class, for if I did, I would not get the credit. I brought up the argument with my dad on several occasions. His response was always the same: Are you sure you want to be a grade 11 student in a grade 9 class? I quickly learned that he wouldn’t budge from his position. He took interest in my French work each day and asked what I am working on, always asking to see my work. Now that I am older, I understand that my dad was raising a son to be a resilient and perseverant man, who did not make excuses or back out of responsibility. I thank my father for taking a position that wasn’t about an academic credit; it was a lesson in character.
This story is from Celebrating Fathers: A collection of short stories by sons and daughters.
Author: Ryan McLeod
March 1, 2013 1 Comment
Good spirited and kind Alex Nayanookeesic is my one and only son-in-law and is about to become a first time father
at the age of 23, and yes, excited of what lies ahead, but not nervous. He knows what to expect as he has a little sister.
He was born at the Geraldton District Hospital in Northern Ontario and his grandparents are First Nations from theCNR rail village of Auden, which is now just a ghost town of 200 former inhabitants. Although not a practicing spiritual native person, he is aware that there are sacred sites out there.
He met my daughter Laura at an isolated camping spot close to Partridge Lake. She is five years older than he, has a wonderful smile and love of life. They fell in love almost immediately, it was wonderful, fun. She has two children from two other fellows, which did not bother him. He had to deal with this situation because he loves her. It was as he put it, “a package deal”. He just loved her kids just like his own right from the start. He is good with them and for them. Angelina, their daughter, is nine and Justice, their son is six. The new couple wanted to start anew and so got married at the Quebec Lodge in Red Rock. Thirty-three people attended if you include the Minister, his wife, and the photographer. After three months the kids call him daddy. Wow!
Alex and Laura and the children are going to have a baby in June and are so thrilled. They have been to Thunder Bay a number of times for the ultra-sound and things look okay. Is it going to be a boy or girl? Alex knows and now everyone knows except his in-laws who don’t want to!
Currently living as a family in a rental unit geared to income, they are anxious to move to a new house. Where they move will depend on where Alex gets a full-time job. He does not like being unemployed and would much rather be working. He finds it important that all four of them keep together. They have had a few disagreements, growing pains as in any relationship, but things are working out. Also, in a traditional way, Laura has changed her last name to his, as a sign of her long term commitment to their relationship.
At present, Laura is driving for a subcontractor with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and operates a snow plow and sand truck. Alex is so proud of her because she got her DZ license (air brake endorsement) last summer on an automatic transmission unit and this company only operates standard split shift vehicles. She wants enough hours in order to collect EI (Employment Insurance) maternity leave. He helps by looking after the kids as she does a lot of shift work and 12 hour call-ins. I guess for now he’s a “Mr. Mom”, a label he chuckles over, but that is okay with him. In the future he plans to get a heavy operators ticket or equivalent.
Alex has had a lot of luck ice fishing lately for inland speckled trout with Laura, the kids, his step dad Mick and friend Tracy, Laura’s youngest brother Calvin, and the in-laws. Outings are very enjoyable and he has found a good spot close to town (no, I won’t tell you the name of the lake… do you think I’m crazy!!!) It is an excellent social time for Alex to enjoy the outdoors, have a fire, smoke a few cigarettes, run the 1992 Indy 500 Polaris snow machine, and hook some trout. “Awesome” is the word Justice uses to describe the catch. Mick takes the fish home and puts them in the smoker for future delicious consumption.
What it is like for him to be a dad? He struggles a bit with this new label and his circumstances, but has hope that he will get a permanent job so that Laura can focus on looking after the new baby and be at home and accessible for their three children.
Submitted by Gordon Mackenzie, Nipigon, ON – a very proud and grateful father-in-law and member of the Dad Central Steering Committee representing Northern Ontario
February 20, 2013
Special Guest blog post by John Hoffman, an author and long time supporter of Father Involvement in Canada. Check him out here.
Here’s yet another study that shows that being a father, or more to the point, acting like one, affects men’s hormones.
This one was a study of Filipino fathers, led by Lee Gettler, a former student of James the renowned co-sleeping researcher from the University of Notre Dame. Gettler found that dads who co-slept with their babies – that is, shared the same bed or mat with Mom and baby, something that is the norm in the Philippines – had lower levels of testosterone than fathers who did not sleep on the same surface as their babies.
This is consistent with other research, some of it Canadian, that has shown that becoming a father, caring for babies and even just having a pregnant partner can affect men’s levels of, not only testosterone, but also prolactin and cortisol.
People get all gaga about these studies every time they come out and act as if they are revolutionary. But, none of it comes as any surprise to me. My eldest son just turned 28, but I still remember the effect he had on me when I held him as an infant. At the time I was convinced that something biological was going on. I described it in various ways – often as a kind of falling in love. And while I wasn’t thinking in terms of hormones, I was convinced something chemical was happening inside me. I even used to imagine that some kind invisible, unnamable something was passing back and forth between us when we were in physical contact. I recall saying, or maybe I wrote this once, that we were exchanging little chemicals, or electric impulses that scientists would someday be able to measure.
So maybe this was just my hormones (probably Riley’s too) talking, as they tried to support us in developing a father-child bond (I’ve never really bought the idea of the instant bond). I knew nothing about hormones then. I know a little bit now, enough to know that hormones don’t so much make us do things as people are fond of saying, but, rather, try to support us in what we need to do. If a father needs to defend his family from wild animals or hunt for food his body supports him with shots of adrenalin. If, as is often the case, in the modern western world, he needs to bond with his baby (and, hopefully, support his partner) his hormones won’t do it for him, but a little boost of prolactin, one of the hormones that helps mothers make milk, will help him be receptive to that activity. And, some research seems to suggest that the more he does these things, the more hormonal support he gets.
This dovetails with one of my original theories about fatherhood. I have always felt that becoming an involved father is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more a father becomes involved, gets comfortable with his baby and develops baby skills, the more he will feel good about doing it and the more he will want to do it. And, of course, the more he does it, the adept he becomes, and so on.
And I also believe that fathers who want to become involved have to make much more of a conscious decision to do so than mothers. For women, it’s, well, perhaps not quite automatic, but female socialization and biology (monthly reminders of their reproductive capacities, pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding) impel women into motherhood. It’s not like that for fathers. We have to take a more conscious step. I’m glad to know that hormones are there to help us.