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  • Writer's picturePeta

Father's Day Special: How to raise a girl to become a strong woman

Happy Father's Day. My dad Clive has agreed to be on the podcast! Listen to his experiences and insights into what it is like to be a dad who has a child with a disability.

You can ask Peta a question via:


You can follow Peta on Instagram @petahooke


Episode transcript:

Peta [00:00:02] Hello and welcome to The I Can't Stand Podcast, the podcast, answering your questions and what it's like to live with a disability. My name is Peta, I'm your host. I have cerebral palsy and I love to answer your questions. This episode is a bit of a special one. It's a bonus to celebrate Father's Day here in Australia. I've asked my dad to be on the podcast. I hope this conversation really illustrates to you the sort of relationship I have with my dad and how special he is to me. He has the biggest heart and I love him to absolute bits. So without any further ado, he's my dad, Clive.

Clive [00:01:03] Hi, everybody, my name's Clive and I'm Peta's dad.

Peta [00:01:08] So first of all, happy Father's Day, Dad.

Clive [00:01:11] Thank you, Peta.

Peta [00:01:13] How would you explain your relationship to me when I was born? Did it take you a little while to sort of get used to the idea that you have a child with a disability?

Clive [00:01:27] I mean, it didn't affect my relationship with you at all. I took a very practical view on it. That was whatever we could do to assist you in living with your disability, we would do whatever it took.

Peta [00:01:46] What has it been like to be a father to somebody with a disability?

Clive [00:01:53] I actually don't think of you as a person with a disability. I think as you as our daughter.

Peta [00:02:01] Disability is about the dis of ability, right?

Clive [00:02:05] Yes,.

Peta [00:02:05] It's the inability to do things, whereas for you, cerebral palsy is a diagnosis.

Clive [00:02:12] Yes. And not an inability.

Peta [00:02:15] And I think that's where. I hope that people understand that. Dad doesn't not view me as having a disability as far as not having cerebral palsy, you just believe that I have all the potential that everybody else has.

Clive [00:02:31] Definitely. And you have continually demonstrated that.

Peta [00:02:37] I think you and I have a very unique relationship, would you agree?

Clive [00:02:41] Yes, very unique. Very unique.

Peta [00:02:45] We are very close, and I think it's because we have spent so much time together, but an extraordinary amount of time.

Clive [00:02:54] Yes, I think most people when the children get to either late teens or early 20s, they they appropriately go off and explore the world with either their friends or themselves. You did that with us.

Peta [00:03:13] It's really hard to illustrate to you the sort of upbringing that I've had because I've had a very old school type upbringing, I would say

Clive [00:03:26] yes, I think so. I mean, as you keep reminding me, I'm a baby boomer.

Peta [00:03:31] Yes.

Peta [00:03:33] How old were you when I was born?

Clive [00:03:36] 43.

[00:03:39] How with that additional age, experience and maturity, how did that affect your parenting skills?

Clive [00:03:47] Age gives you maturity, understanding. An empathy for other people's perspective. I was fortunate enough to have a very successful career, and I think once again, dealing with with people over a range of ages and countries, that gives you an understanding and appreciation that that only comes with age.

Peta [00:04:20] Particularly being an only child, you were an older parent, even though you had a very stressful job and a lot of the time I didn't see you when I did see you, like it was a pretty unique experience.

Clive [00:04:35] Yes, when I you know, now that I think back, I mean, playing hide and seek or just spending time with you, taking..

Peta [00:04:42] Let's explain how we played hide and seek, Mum would try and find us.

[00:04:48] Mum would have had the job of finding us and I, I would place Peta, I suppose, is the best way of describing it in the most inappropriate? Think about it. Like one we could never finder her. Upstairs. We had a the return duct on the heater, which you could open and take the whole thing out. So I put Peta in the return duct. So, yeah, so we we had very much the same sense of humour. Being able to laugh at yourself is an indication of how you feel about yourself and Peta certainly can laugh at herself.

Peta [00:05:38] I think like as much as like Mum's episode was excellent right?

Clive [00:05:43] Oh, don't give me that.

Peta [00:05:44] It was. Mum and Dad are very competitive with each other. But like, Mum epiosde was excellent. And it's really hard for me to illustrate because I think there isn't much reflection of what it is to be a dad with a person with a disability, whereas mum very much fit into that loving, nurturing sort of stereotype with a lot of tough love, sort of, you know, actively mixed into that. Honestly, I don't know anybody else that has. The level of closeness with their father.

Clive [00:06:20] That's very thank you, that's very, very heartening.

Peta [00:06:26] All this emotional stuff isn't quite dad's cup of tea.

Clive [00:06:30] Now, I really. I probably struggle a little to put it into words. I know my feelings and they're very strong.

Peta [00:06:41] Going back to the early days when you were in executive. But also, he was so good at switching off work and yes at the time there wasn't emails, there was a fax and maybe a few phone calls. But how did you maintain that balance?

Clive [00:07:02] Somebody who I was very close to said very early on in my career. You only worry about the things that you can influence and you've got to learn to leave issues at the office so you can come back the next morning refreshed to tackle problems. So I've always had the ability to leave issues at the office and not bring them home.

Peta [00:07:32] Yeah, and I think that's where I really need to work on my professional development.

Clive [00:07:37] Yes. You're probably doing too much.

Peta [00:07:39] Yes. So what do you think of the podcast?

Clive [00:07:42] Oh I mean, I listen to them and, you know, I'm very biased, as you would expect from a father, but I find them just truly. Inspirational, they're educational, they're challenging and and I think they're thought provoking for the wider population that doesn't understand or appreciate the issues of people with disabilities across the spectrum.

Peta [00:08:15] I think also one of the biggest privileges for me with you being my dad is the fact that you had the ability to retire when I was 13.

Clive [00:08:26] Yeah, I took a very conscious decision to step away from corporate life where I wanted to devote the next years in your critical educational period to support you and nurture you through to where you've got yourself to today.

Peta [00:08:48] You moved away from corporate life and you were able to be with me a lot more like the fact that you took me to school every day at high school. You were the only dad did that. I was going to talk to you about also everything that you did for me, which was unusual for a father at that stage, but we went on I went on my grade six camp and you were there to support me. I mean, I know this makes you really uncomfortable. But it is the reality and this is probably another thing, like when you have a disability, it forces you to deal with things as a parent that you normally wouldn't have to face. Particularly being of your era and that's I got my period, the first one on that school camp and, you and I had to deal with.

Clive [00:09:41] As a result of that, I had to go to the the local IGA in the little town and here I was on my hands and knees reading, reading the writing on the back of tampon packets. And a lady, shop assistant came and said, Can I help you? And I had to explain. Yes, I do need help.

Peta [00:10:05] It was probably the first time you ever had to do that.

Clive [00:10:08] Correct?

Peta [00:10:09] Yes.

Peta [00:10:11] It's unusual when a lot of people would probably find that a really uncomfortable story to think of having to do that, deal with that situation with your dad. But when you have a disability, there's just different rules. What advice would you give someone who had just had a child with cerebral palsy and their a dad?

Clive [00:10:38] That the advice I'd give, to dads, particularly, is to say, support your child and give it all the love and affection that you can and support your partner because there will be issues and the road ahead can be very, very difficult. But don't ever, ever give up on your child with a disability. They will continually amaze you with what they do and how they develop as their own individual.

Peta [00:11:16] Do you think you had lower expectations on me because of my disability?

Clive [00:11:21] No! No I don't. I think the expectations would be that you can achieve what you can achieve to the best of your ability. So I never set in my mind limits to what that would be. And as you developed and and matured, you keep adjusting that bar to push yourself a little bit further.

Peta [00:11:51] And I think that's part of the reason why I really struggle when people talk about, the public particularly talk about, the low expectations that they have a people with a disability, it just couldn't be further from my experience in my upbringing.

Clive [00:12:09] I want you to be more successful than what I've done in my career and more successful as an individual.

Peta [00:12:21] I also think there's a big emphasis on always being happy.

Clive [00:12:26] Yes, you've got to be happy. And you've got to live every day, and I think particularly in the state, we are in the moment with this pandemic. That you've you've got to continually look on the bright side and think that it will get better. I don't regret one moment of our relationship and our life together. I think I've achieved everything that I would ever want to hope for you both. Personally and professionally. And enjoying a margarita occasionally.

Peta [00:13:06] Well, thank you, Dad, for coming on the podcast today. I hope you enjoy this.

Clive [00:13:11] Thank you, Peta. I've got one last thing to say. I love you.

Peta [00:13:15] I love you too.

Peta [00:13:19] Oh, that was great, I loved that chat with my dad, and I hope you did, too. I'm very proud to give you a father's perspective of what it's like to have a child with a disability. And I will see you on Tuesday for another episode of The I Can't Stand Podcast. Until then, bye.


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