Research — 25 August 2016

DADS need to increase their ­involvement in parenting to help stop their children abusing drugs and alcohol and to combat bouts of aggressive behaviour, experts warn.

The University of Sydney’s Child Behaviour Research Clinic found that boys are twice as likely as girls to be identified as having behavioural issues.

The research also found that only one in six fathers attended parenting programs for their child with the majority of work left to mums.

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Professor Mark Dadds urged both parents to provide a united front and be positive role models.

“When fathers do get involved and go to these programs, the outcomes are better for the kids,” he said.

Prof Dadds said while most fathers wanted to be involved in parenting programs, ­research showed they felt restricted by cost, access during work hours and programs being tailored to mums.

He urged parents to address serious behavioural issues as soon as possible.

“Early behaviour shows if the child is at increased risk for social and anti-social problems, substance abuse problems, anxiety and depression, interpersonal problems of domestic violence as well as health issues to do with heart disease and smoking,” he said.

“It comes as quite a shock to people that early onset behaviour problems predict a range of health outcomes.”

The University of Sydney will today unveil a plan to recruit a million fathers to ParentWorks, an Australian-first online program that will empower dads to improve their parenting skills.

One father Chris Northwood, 35, said he strives to be a good role model for his sons Sam, 8, and Logan, 7.

“My dad played a significant role for me growing up and it’s something I hope to do for my sons,” he said.

This article first appeared on ‘The Daily Telegraph’ on 21 August 2016.

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