As dads, we sometimes don't get included in decisions about our kids

Wow, as dads, aren't we under pressure? Pressure such as taking our kids to a festival (read this "silly season" space filler in The Observer) - but, would you believe it, as dads, we sometimes don't get included in decisions about our kids.

This is because it's the mum that, more often than not, can respond most quickly when we read in the handover book at 8pm, that the next day Stan needs to be dressed as a Gladiator, with chariot, sword and shield.

So I've started the Dad's curry night for my local group and it's been really helpful- here's a photo of us meeting. And it comes directly from my involvement a few years ago in some excellent research led by Christine Towers at the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities (FPLD).Their Recognising Fathers research was really good. I've written before on the need for the blokes to get blokey.

But this research was really helpful, not just to me but to others who were less fortunate; for instance, when asking for time off work to attend the myriad of appointments that we need to go to; who can sometimes be spoken through, rather than to, if the Mum is present; who may find it difficult to open up when it comes to discussing difficult matters. (I count myself in on the last two!)

Our curry nights have been fantastic - and brutally honest. Some of the newer members (ie those with younger kids) have heard it "warts and all" about what our teenagers get up to. One conversation involved a game of one-upmanship about what items two of the boys - including Stan - had broken, ripped up and lost. (I've blogged about that too). We lads can be a bit backward in coming forward, and it's important for us to be fully involved with schools, hospitals, doctors and all the appointments our kids tend to have. And the really good news is that, this year, Stan has a male teacher too.

So, nothing wrong with guys having a chat, a bit of extra support and the confidence to take their place in the support system that their child needs. Then we can be great role models to our children.