Only 17% of children trust Dad for bullying advice

Most dads feel comfortable giving advice to their children about bullying, only one fifth of children wants to take it. A survey by Relate For Parents revealed that 61% of dads feel comfortable giving advice to their children about bullying but 17% of children didn’t trust his advice. However, 59% of children would trust their mum’s advice.

The research revealed that bullying is a major concern to more than half of children (51%) surveyed, with more boys (59%) worried than girls, and this issue is ranked higher than relationships (20%), drugs (17%) and sex (11%).

The survey also reveals that 74% of children consider their mum to be a role model and 58% of children see their dad as a role model.

Lin Griffiths, Family Counsellor at Relate for Parents, said, “It is possible that the advice that some dads give – ‘stand up for yourself’; ‘tell your teacher’; ‘I’ll sort him/her out’; ‘give as good as you get’; although well meaning, could be seen as another pressure on their son or daughter. Despite this lack of trust, 58% of children still look up to their father as a role model.”

With children turning to the internet for advice on personal issues, less than one in five dads (18%) know if their children are seeking advice online, despite 74% of dads saying that they would rather their children came to them. However, with only half of dads regularly making time to talk to their children, the first step for some fathers may be for them to dedicate more time to talking with and listening to their children.

To help parents with their family relationships, Relate for Parents has launched the new Relate for Parents website, www.relateforparents.org.uk, which provides online support and expert help for parents and families.

Relate For Parents’ top five tips on giving advice to children:

  1. Listen to your children. Really listen to their problems and individual concerns. You might know that it’s part of teenage life to break-up with friends and have fights, but for your child it is a real experience happening to them and they will want to know you are taking them seriously.
  2. Be consistent in what you say and do. It sounds obvious but say what you mean and mean what you say. Children are very good at noticing when you don’t follow through on your own advice. However that doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. In fact it is good for your children to see you admit your mistakes and don’t be afraid to apologise.
  3. Make time. Sitting down and talking to your children shouldn’t just be reserved for the big things, if they feel they can talk to you easily about the small things, this might help when they have big concerns.
  4. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Children remember broken promises and this is something that can damage their trust in you. It is better to make no promises at all than ones you think you might break.
  5. Your children will not love you less if you don’t have answers to all their difficulties. They will feel supported just by the fact that you have listened and understood their struggle.

Relate for Parents provides support and advice for more than 10,000 parents each month, including step-parents, adoptive parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and siblings. Free and confidential online support, including live chats and email responses real life stories, videos and podcasts are also available.

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