New survey shows 89 percent of Canadian dads feel more engaged with their children during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet nearly 50 percent feel there is a lack of online resources aimed at fathers
TORONTO, ON–Men’s health charity Movember has launched the world’s first online parenting program designed with dads in mind, helping to navigate tricky parenting situations, particularly in children aged 2-8 years old. Movember’s Family Man is a free, online course designed to equip parents, particularly dads, with the practical skills needed to help cope with frustrating situations with an ultimate goal of improving their mental wellbeing by empowering them to feel more confident and engaged in the parenting process. The free evidence-based online course is currently comprised of three modules and built with time-poor dads in mind, taking only an hour to complete. The program is available in English and French.
Family Man launches amid the COVID-19 pandemic, where many parents have had to adjust their parenting styles to accommodate the constantly evolving situation and increased amount of ‘home time’. While parents may be at home more, dads are quickly realizing there aren’t many resources available to them. In fact, a newly launched Movember survey of 1,600+ dads across North America including 800 Canadian dads from across the country showed that while 89 per cent of Canadian fathers feel more engaged with their children as a result of the pandemic, nearly 1 in 2 dads (46%) feel there is a lack of online parenting resources aimed at dads.
The Movember survey, completed in partnership with Toronto-based research company Maru/Blue also revealed:
Almost 1 in 3 (29 percent) dads had low to moderate levels of confidence in their ability to manage their children’s behaviour
41 percent of Canadian dads felt parenting advice from websites and social media was not aimed at them
80 percent of Canadian dads were not aware of any online parenting resources aimed at fathers
1 in 3 (32 percent) Canadian dads would be very or extremely likely to seek advice from a parenting website dedicated to dads
Approximately seventy to eighty per cent* of the world’s men will become fathers at some point in their lives however adjusting to fatherhood can be overwhelming and dads continue to be an underserved and at-risk population for poor mental health. Previous research by Movember has shown that 50 per cent of Canadian dads say they feel more pressure to be a ‘good father’i yet, global research shows only a fifth (20 per cent) of parents who have taken a parenting course are menii. Experts believe that financial costs, work commitments, lack of time, as well as a reluctance to seek help may be possible barriers for many dads.
“Being a parent can be a very rewarding experience, but it certainly isn’t always easy. Dealing with meltdowns at the mall or a child who repeatedly ignores instructions can be incredibly stressful. It causes friction at home and over time that can impact the whole family’s mental wellbeing,” says Jane Endacott, Director of Digital Health – Mental Health and Suicide Prevention at Movember. “There is a huge amount of research that shows parenting is more effective when its done as a team. We know that when dads are fully engaged in parenting decisions, it benefits the whole family.”
Although the interactive program – which is comprised of three 20-minute animated episodes – can be used by either parent, Family Man is the first of its kind that is primarily aimed at fathers. Each episode features a father as the main character who is faced with a challenging situation 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 situation, the pros and cons and likely outcomes of each option are clearly explained, using clear and direct instructions.
Adapted from successful Australian-based program ParentWorksiii which was designed by Professor Mark Dadds at the University of Sydney, Family Man has been vetted by a global panel of psychologists and parenting experts.
“Evidence-based parenting programs are effective in reducing behavioural problems, yet few involve the participation of fathers,” says Professor Dadds. “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 can be fully delivered online, without the support of trained practitioners, which is a key barrier for many parents.”
Movember is the leading charity changing the face of men’s health on a global scale, focusing on mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer. The charity raises funds to deliver innovative, breakthrough research and support programmes that enable men to live happier, healthier and longer lives. Committed to disrupting the status quo, millions have joined the movement, helping fund over 1,250 projects around the world. In addition to tackling key health issues faced by men, Movember is working to encourage men to stay healthy in all areas of their life, with a focus on men staying socially connected and becoming more open to discussing their health and significant moments in their lives. The charity’s vision is to have an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health. To donate or learn more, please visit Movember.com.
About the Maru/Blue x Movember Findings:
^These are some of the findings released by Maru/Blue Public Opinion from a survey undertaken between January 22 and 28 2021 by Maru/Blue of 807 randomly selected Canadian adult fathers who are Maru Voice Canada online panelists. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 3.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results provide representation across the Canadian provinces. Discrepancies in or between totals when compared tote data tables are due to rounding.