Involving fathers in community child health services and asthma: an update

Fathers Asthma Australia
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Men in antenatal classes give three common reasons why they intend to father differently than they were fathered: community expectations, partner pressure, and their own wish for connection with their child.

1. Community expectations: highlight the fact that fathers are expected to be involved in the day-to-day care of their baby, not simply to be a provider and protector. 

2. Partner pressure: “She’ll kill me [if I don’t]”: the second reason is offered with some humour by the fathers-to-be. The wives or partners of these men will insist on their taking a different, more hands-on approach than fathers of previous generations.  

3. Their own wish to connect with their child: “Because I want to have a good relationship with my kid, that’s why I am doing this,” is usually expressed by one of the men, and the others nod in affirmation and this captures perhaps the most profound change in our understanding of a father’s role.

There is a recently developed awareness that the pathway to having good relationships with children and teenagers starts early, and these men want to be involved in caring activities when their children are infants. 


While most children with asthma can participate in and enjoy all of their normal childhood activities, asthma is also the most common medical reason for children to be admitted to hospital and a significant community health problem.

In an asthma attack, the bronchi in the lungs narrow because the muscles tighten and the walls of the bronchial tubes become inflamed. This narrowing makes it harder to take in air and causes wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing. While one in ten Australian children are diagnosed as having asthma (‘Asthma and asthma management’, 2012), one in four will experience wheezing at some point in their childhood (‘Asthma’, n.d.). Not all childhood wheezing is necessarily asthma, which can be difficult to diagnose in young children (‘Medication for children’, n.d.).

Related identifier: ISSN 2202 0667

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