8 ways that you can be a deadly dad

We acknowledge and pay respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the Traditional Owners /Custodians and Elders both past and present on whose lands this site is reaching.


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dads have traditionally been important leaders in their communities. Not only did they play a vital role among their people by being hunters and guardians, they also provided guidance, care and leadership to their families.

Historically, these men were very important role models for each new generation.


For me being a deadly dad is about spending time with my girls. My people are the saltwater people. The sea nourishes us, I show my girls in cultural ways how to fish and net. It’s important to me that my girls know and respect their culture and live and breathe it every day.

Cameron Mann


Being a deadly dad

Having a father figure in your life is an important part of growing up. A positive male role model is fundamental to a child’s emotional wellbeing and development. Having a dad in our life who is positive and supportive has been shown to affect everything from how we treat others to how well we perform at school.

Some people who did not have a dad around while growing up might feel they’re somehow not fully ‘equipped’ to be fathers themselves. Perhaps other kids had a dad to look up to while you didn’t.

The truth is, there’s no reason you can’t be a great role model to your own kids and family.

Here are 8 ways you can be a deadly dad.


  1. Be patient and protective of your jarjums

Being a parent is the toughest job there is. It’s not always going to be easy so play it cool. Help your kids understand how their behaviour affects others, control your own emotions and set boundaries. Not every day will be perfect. Kids are experts at winding up parents, but you can definitely get it right before they’re fully grown up.


  1. Show them what it means to be a good husband or partner

Show them what it means to be a good husband or partner. Teach them how to show respect. Do this by showing them how to listen, how to show appreciation and how to be encouraging.

Above all, show them what it means to be loving. What your children learn from you gets passed onto the next generation.


  1. Help them connect with their culture

It’s important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people to live and breathe their culture every day. Culture builds their resilience, it helps them develop their cultural identity and it builds positive self-esteem. The best way to help your kids learn and understand their culture is to show them yourself. Live your culture together, show them that they’re proud of who you are and help them learn their stories and traditions.

Some dads might feel that they haven’t ‘known’ their people for some time. Maybe you lived elsewhere for a long part of your life, or maybe you were removed? You’re not alone and it’s never too late to reconnect. So go to the community event, the gathering, or the corroboree and learn something together.


  1. Enjoy the simple things together and make lasting memories

The simple things in life are often the best. Spending good quality family time together helps kids make positive and lasting memories of their childhood. Hang out in the back yard, go fishing, go exploring, visit the library, kick a footy, play board games or take the dog for a walk. These are all great family activities that cost very little. Your time together will give your jarjums lasting and loving childhood memories.


  1. Be the best dad you feel you can be

The best way to prepare for being a dad is… well, there’s no easy way. You’re either a dad or you’re not. Deadly dads are just themselves, not the dad that they think other people want them to be.

Being a dad is a tough job but its gets easier. Show your kids love, keep them safe, help them make decisions, let them play, support them and most importantly, just be there for them.


  1. Teach them about making the right choices

Life is full of choices and not all of them are ones we want to make. Leading by example means showing the next generation how to make the right choice. If your child has to make a tough decision, help them through it. Tell them it’s ok to have a yarn about it, talk to them about options, and get them to think about how their choices affect their way of life.


  1. Don’t let your past limit your future

The past is just that – the past. You can’t go back there and you can’t change it. Everyone has something in their past that they’re not proud of. Rather than let it hold you back, learn from the experience. Use this to teach your kids about choices and let them know that their past doesn’t have to affect who they are now.


  1. Teach them to be leaders

The next generation are our future leaders. It’s not just your kids, but your nieces and nephews who will also look up to you.

So be the example that they look up to. Show them how to work with others. Teach them respect and they will know how to show respect to others. Make sure there’s plenty of family time to do things together.

If you are a dad and feel you need help and support to be the best dad you can be, or if you just want to talk to a professional person about fathering and men’s business, you can get on touch for more information and online counselling.


Need help? Find a support service in northern Queensland. Check up on how you’ve been feeling by doing a depression and anxiety test. Join the online mental health forum and talk to others like you.


We are committed to working with, engaging and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in culturally safe ways. We are committed to ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are able to access and utilise culturally appropriate and respectful information about mental health and wellbeing. We are committed to providing information and support that is professional and respectful of the client at all times.