FATHERS around the world, including Prince William, are turning to Commando Dad for helpful advice on how to tackle parenthood.
The Commando Dad training manual trilogy, which gives military-style advice to young fathers, has sold over 200,000 copies in 13 different countries.
Tside reporter Steve Peirson, interviewed author and Commando Dad, Neil Sinclair.
“I have an opinion on everything with relation to ‘dad’ – I don’t want to give my kids the impression that it’s okay to sit on the fence,” admits father-of-three Neil.
“In fact I think to be an active parent you have to have an opinion on everything. This shows your child that it’s okay to think differently to other people.”
Neil’s career to date has been exciting to say the least; he completed the ‘all arms commando course’ in Lympstone, and then served in the army with 59 independent squadron, the Royal Engineers, for six years.
“It was brilliant! I had six fantastic years in the army. It was something that I wanted to do from around the age of four – a real ambition of mine.”
He then went on to become a P.E Teacher, a PCSO with the Metropolitan Police, and then a childminder for three years, before becoming a stay at home dad.
It was during this latest role that Neil decided to put pen to paper and write the Commando Dad manuals.
He said:“I would have really liked to have had a training manual when I found out that I was going to be a dad for the first time.
“We first thought my wife was ill when she became pregnant. I remember going to the doctors and I wandered off to get a coffee and a sandwich, before hearing a tannoy message asking me to go back to the treatment room.
“I thought the worst and ran back to find my wife with the biggest smile on her face, saying “You’re going to be a dad”. I just burst into tears.
“It was a bit of a double whammy – my wife wasn’t ill and I was going to become a dad.”
Neil admits that first becoming a dad was a shock to the system, feeling like he was putting in 25-hour days, with few hours of sleep in between.
He said: “When I came up with the idea of writing the manuals, I was inspired by the ‘Basic Battle Drills’ hand-out, given to training soldiers. I didn’t know how to put my boots on properly, but that handout had step by step pictures and really helped me.
“When you’re in the army, you’re trained to such a high level that you can’t wait to get out and do the job that you have been trained for.
“When you’re a dad, you have nothing to fall back on – there’s no training to be a dad and it involves changing tactics constantly.
“Don’t get me wrong, a book isn’t going to take away the sleep deprivation, or the pressure that you feel when you’re responsible for a precious little life.
“It’s more of a reference to dip into when you need it.”
Neil explained that he wrote the book in 10 weeks, though he adds it was shaped by years of experience.
He said; “My goal is to empower dads to be better, not to suffocate them with information.
“Everyone I told about the book said that they wished that I had written it 15 years ago. I still get that response, even from grandparents.”
The books are available worldwide including such countries as Denmark, America, Spain, Croatia, UK, and South Korea.
Neil laughs: “The South Koreans love Commando Dad.”
Meanwhile Neil’s advice for new dads includes:
. Be really present, not just physically but switch your head into being a parent.
. Make sure that you take the first two weeks of your paternity leave, and just spend time with your new family.
. Be uncontactable and just spend your time with your baby trooper and your commanding officer (your partner).
. Make sure that you’re in control of the situation; when family want to come and visit tell them to ring you first, so that you can organise the visit.
Neil added: “I absolutely love being a dad, even though it is definitely the most challenging and demanding of jobs. When I get interviewed, I get asked about my commando career but the most physically demanding job I have done is being a dad.”