Prince William and Kate Middleton worried dads ‘just don’t know what to do’ in lockdown
Prince William and Kate Middleton joined first time dads on a video call (Image: PA)
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Prince William has spoken of the lack of resources for new dads as spoke to a group of beaming first time fathers.
The Duke of Cambridge said he worried they "just don't know what to do, and they don't know where to go" as he and wife Kate spoke to the group helped by Future Men, a London-based charity providing guidance to men and boys.
The duchess has made promoting the early years development of children and support for parents one of the main pillars of her public work.
Future Men provides a range of courses that help with different aspects of fatherhood, from enhancing father-child relationships to teaching practical and emotional approaches to enable dads to take care of themselves, their partner and baby.
During a video call William asked the group: "How does Future Men find some of these other guys out there who have not got the realisation, or the wherewithal if you like, to go looking for services like Future Men and be able to build on a happy future as a father?
Owen Thomas, Future Men's Head of Father Programmes, said dads need to be easier on themselves
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"Because I worry an awful lot, a lot of dads out there who just don't know what to do, and they don't know where to go.
“And they may not have such good grounding, foundations or support around them to be able to know what to do."
The men described their experiences of fatherhood from dealing with their child's sleeping patterns to being a positive role model when Kate asked them about the challenges of family life especially during lockdown.
The Duchess said: “Being able to maintain and form relationships throughout life is such a vital skill.
"Dads play such an important role it shouldn't be a bad thing to reach out for help and advice. So it’s great that services like this are out there.”
Graeme Mackenzie and his son Liam spoke to the royals
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Earlier in the year William and Kate joked about their experiences with home schooling their three young children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis with the duchess saying she had found it "challenging".
When one of the fathers said he knew lots of men who did not know about the Future Men fatherhood courses but were interested, Kate said it was a "shame" similar services were not more widely available.
In a lighter moment Graeme Mackenzie, who towards the end of the video chat was joined by his eight-month-old son Liam, said: "The best thing I like about being a dad is sniffing him and getting that new baby smell."
Peter Sen and his son Elliott also took part in the call
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Peter Sen, who also introduced his first child son Elliott to the group, said: "I think being at home in lockdown has been a blessing and a curse. A blessing that I get to see every part of his development and that's a real joy, and however poorly or badly he sleeps, he always wakes up with a big smile on his face."
When William asked the dads, if being a father was valued by their communities and wider society, and Darren Smith, married with a son called Messiah, said: "I have a strong belief that, especially for me being a younger dad, I think that I have a strong impact on you know, the community, the society around me…
"We're superheroes to these kids, we're their role models. You know, they look at us as 'Ok, I want to be like, daddy'. My son tells me everyday 'daddy, I want to be like you'."
He added: "But at the end of the day, we have to set a good example, for the kids and the future men of tomorrow."
Owen Thomas, head of Future Men’s Fathers Programmes, said: "We also need to be easier on ourselves as men and dads and realise that we don't have to be perfect. We don't have to be superheroes.
"We just have to be good enough. You know, and I think that's really, really important as well. And you know, it's a journey we're all on as parents and we're not always going to get everything right. We're going to make mistakes, just as mums do."