Following the tragic death of Jade Goody earlier this year, Jeff Brazier became a single dad to their children, Bobby and Freddy and embarked alone on the job that he and Jade had shared so successfully.
Since then, Jeff has been on a mission to give his boys a stable, loving and secure upbringing and has done everything to shelter them from any more stress or upheaval.
Jeff has not only inspired everyone with his dedication to his boys but in the last year has also successfully set up two online parental support groups to offer advice and support to almost 1500 members. He truly is an all round Super daddy - which, coincidentally is the title of a new TV show he’s making for Living TV. I caught up with him to find out a little bit more.
So Jeff, tell me about these ‘lock ins’ you have with warring parents?
Its the final and most important part of the process, we bring the parents together to sit and discuss their differences like adults without distraction, its a make or break situation and only then do you know if they will ever be able to put the past behind them for the sake of their child’s happiness.
Do you think it can often be harder for children to deal with two living but resentful parents, than losing one altogether?
Its can sometimes be seen as a noble effort for couples to try to make things work when its clear they aren’t good for each other but it may be that two individually happy parents are better than growing up in an unhappy home.
What made you decide to do this show?
I was interested in why so many parents that split up see each other as the enemy, I wanted to know if there was anything that could be done about this, after all I’d enjoyed a turn around in my own experiences myself so if the methods I used could work for others we'd be doing a very good thing by bringing it to a large audience.
You chose to keep your boys out of the show for the most part, why was that?
We have a priceless ban on any photos ever being taken of the boys during their childhood, if I allowed them to be on film it would be at the expense of that privacy, I turned down a 6 figure sum recently to have a photoshoot with the boys so its something I am serious about maintaining at all costs.
We see a lot of the children of famous people in the media these days (Katie Price, Tom Cruise & The Beckhams etc) do you think we should keep kids out of the media as much as possible and let them make their own choices about whether or not to enter the public eye?
I cant speak for others I just know that my children are so much better off for not having photographers following us everywhere, they have a normal childhood and I wouldn’t change that for any amount of money.
It’s obviously a great way to show other single fathers that they can raise a family alone in the wake of the loss of their mother, have you found that a lot of people are inspired by the media coverage you have gained over the past year? (hence why you created the show?)
I get a lot of great feedback from Twitter and my parent support groups that I set up, maybe if people can see that I’m coping ok it will inspire them to feel that they can too, I think also that society doesn’t always expect much from fathers so if the way the last year has gone for me improves the perception of the role of a dad then that’s a very good thing.
Obviously there’s an age-old belief that the mother is the one who takes care of the children, how hard is it for you being a single father?
I don’t like to think I should feel limited because I’m a dad but the one thing I cant provide is the ability to make a headache or a bruised knee go away with the tenderness that only a mum can provide. I try and be mum and dad rolled into one, there’s a lot of cuddling and kissing going on!
Do you think being in the public eye makes things easier or harder for you to cope on your own?
I guess easier if you imagine I get a lot of kind support through my parent groups that I wouldn’t get otherwise and only harder when other peoples situations that are linked to the kids are highlighted in the press.
You also run Jeff Brazier Official Parent Support Network and Dads in Difficulty on Facebook, how effective do you think social networking tools are in helping fathers through difficult times?
Many people have posted their problems and as i have learnt its not always the advice they get but the fact that somebody took the time to reply that means the most. It has been very effective for many in that when you are going through hard times the right actions do not always come easily where as the people giving the advice may have been through the same situation years ago so they are best placed to give some direction.
You’re obviously a Superdad yourself, but who do you think are great examples of Supperdaddies in the media at the moment?
Bobby has just asked me to say Rey Mysterio from WWE so we’ll stick with that, obviously Peter Andre is doing a great job of bringing his children through the changes they’ve experienced recently.
So finally, you’ve gone a hell of a long way since those days in Shipwrecked, any regrets and what can we expect from you in the future?
I will keep working hard for the 3 of us, I hope to be published by the end of the year, I have a business Idea I’d like to see off the ground, a charity project i hope to put in place for next year and a series of Superdaddy to film! I’ve done lots of different jobs but never have I experienced such a sense of satisfaction that i gained from filming superdaddy, I hope that people enjoy it.
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