Fatherhood video series

Fathers in portrait: 10 stories about the diversity of father roles

Ten men talk about being a father

How do men experience fatherhood? What changes with the birth of a child? And how do fathers fulfill their role? In these very personal video portraits, fathers from North Rhine-Westphalia have their say. They talk about their experiences, challenges and happy moments of being a father.

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Active fatherhood

The following video portraits* with a length of five to six minutes can be found on our YouTube channel Familienportal.NRW in the Playlist "Active Fatherhood".

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"I never hugged my dad."

Actor Bill Mockridge tells how, as a six-year-old, he wanted to hug his father when he returned from a trip and he said: "Men in this house don't kiss and hug". This form of parenting did not prevent him from being a 150 percent father to his six sons.

He describes how he was there for his children, sometimes perhaps a little too much, as he self-critically notes. Bill Mockridge has gathered a wealth of experience as a father. His personal conclusion is: be present, listen, react to the children and also act yourself.

To the video with Bill Mockridge on YouTube

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"When I'm cooking with my children, I'm in my element."

Ataman Yildirim describes why it is particularly important to him that his four children experience nature and go through life independently. He sees diversity as an opportunity and encourages his children to learn from others and use their own potential.

To the video with Ataman Yildirim on YouTube

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"Being together is what makes it special."

"There's not a moment I don't love!" is how Ahmet Sinoplu enthusiastically describes his everyday family life with his two-year-old son Cem-Gregor. Thanks to his eight months of parental leave, a 30-hour week and very good family time management, the social pedagogue is able to provide his son with intensive support - right from birth.

Unlike his own father, who always worked a lot and was rarely there for him, he doesn't want to have his valuable time as a father taken away from him.

To the video with Ahmet Sinoplu on YouTube

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"I'm having a blast being a father."

What does a father feel when he receives notice of redundancy three days before the birth of his child? Dr. Bernard Knubel talks about the uncertainty the job loss meant for him - at a time when he wanted to offer his son security.

Today, he knows that security comes from a strong bond. As a father, he is happy to be able to accompany his son Camillo's development every day. He sees the intensive interaction with him as a person of a different age as a great gift.

To the video with Bernard Knubel on YouTube

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"I share my whole life with my children - despite the separation."

The separation of parents means a profound change in family life. Christian Gärtner explains how he and his ex-partner have found a good solution to maintain the close relationship with his two children.

Thanks to the so-called alternating model, Lotta and Tom each spend two days and alternate between Friday and Sunday with him and their mother. This allows Christian Gärtner to play his part in the children's development. For the past four years, he has shared a daily routine with them that brings them closer together.

To the video with Christian Gärtner on YouTube

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"If the children call me uncle one day, I'll sell the company."

Jörg Fuchs, father of two school-age daughters, says: "If I'm going to be a father, I'm going to do it properly". He shared the family and housework with his wife right from the start. The self-employed master metalworker has organized the work processes in his workshop so that he can be with his children in the afternoons.

Being a boss and a father? Absolutely! Because he can no longer imagine life without his children.

To the video with Jörg Fuchs on YouTube

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"My son is part of society - just like me."

"The best moments are when my little son asks me questions, for example about my origins," says Nigerian-born Eli Abeke, father of three children (6, 23, 24). "It makes me think about my own childhood, just as I asked my father a lot of questions."

Eli Abeke describes why it is natural for him that a father should not only be involved in his job but also in the household - and what his own father has to do with it.

To the video with Eli Abeke on YouTube

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"Being a father has opened up a whole new world for me."

Fabian Christiandl gives an insight into his fulfilling life as a father. Before his son Max was born, he didn't know that he had something special - Down's syndrome.

"Immediately after the birth, I was shocked. I thought for a brief moment that life was over," he says. "But that was mainly because I had no idea". Today he knows that Max is a great child, extremely enthusiastic and eager to learn: "I am grateful for every day with him".

To the video with Fabian Christiandl on YouTube

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"I don't want to end up like my father."

Thomas Mahlberg, a skilled bakery worker looking for work, explains how his father's experiences of alcohol and violence shaped him. He clearly distances himself from this and describes how he guides his three daughters through life with encouragement and support.

To the video with Thomas Mahlberg on YouTube

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"I love it when he says 'father'."

Muhammed Sayyad Warsi talks about everyday life with his four-year-old son. He talks about his wishes for him and reveals his best moment of happiness as a dad: "I love it when he says 'father'."

To the video with Muhammed Sayyad Warsi on YouTube

* The videos were produced in 2016. All statements correspond to the status at that time and have not been updated since then.