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Almost 200 fathers enjoyed conversations over drinks and canapés before joining a ‘fireside chat’ with Dr Justin Coulson in our Independent Theatre. This lively, informal evening was led by Mark Scott, father to three daughters and Secretary to the NSW Department of Education. Mark chatted with Dr Justin Coulson, navigating a wide variety of topics around the joys and challenges of raising happy and adventurous daughters. Both Justin and Mark fielded a range of interesting, engaging questions after the presentation.
Dr Coulson, a father to six daughters, travelled from his home in Queensland to share his insights and wisdom as one of Australia’s most respected relationships speakers, authors and researchers. Justin’s bestselling books and weekly advice column have provided research-based advice to parents across a range of issues. His disarming honesty, coupled with his sense of humour won over the fathers, in a very entertaining and informative evening.
A couple of gems among some outstanding parenting advice included tips on how to set expectations within a safe and caring home environment – and how to respond to social media use without alienating daughters or eroding trust. Advice on ensuring love, limits and laughter in our parenting, and making time to engage with our daughters was very useful. Listening to our daughters’ music or watching shows together brings bonding moments that help relationships endure the tough times. Engaging daughters in discussion on how to best move forward with social media is important – but keeping devices charged and unused outside bedroom every night should be non-negotiable. Fathers left the evening feeling they have a pivotal role to play in who our daughters become.