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It’s the interview every parent, every footy fan, needs to listen to – dad of EIGHT, NRL great BEN HANNANT talking to Maggie Dent about being THE GOOD ENOUGH DAD…

LiSTNR 5 mins read

There are 5.4 million dads* in Australia and in LiSTNR’s new original podcast series, The Good Enough Dad, famed parenting educator, author, and champion of boys and men, Maggie Dent talks to some of them about their wins, challenges and stuff-ups, proving along the way that being “good enough” is exactly what our kids need. TODAY that dad is BEN HANNANT.


Ben Hannant had a kid nearly every year of his professional NRL career. He retired in 2016 with six children (he now he has eight!!). Ben is a dad who believes in grit, hard work and the value of family. He also may have lost a child on the way to MacDonalds. Don’t worry, the child was found!


He talks of himself being one of 11 kids, and his parents losing everything in the recession and having to live in tents in a neighbour’s yard, of having three kids on the spectrum, two with ADHD and two kids that are dyslexic (“So our life isn't perfect”), how his oldest son used to try and take his life, and the ridiculous hours he worked when he was young and starting his footy career with just the one child. He also says he’d have another eight if they could!


Listen here: The Good Enough Dad - LiSTNR Podcasts




Ben has played in the NRL with the Sydney Roosters, the Brisbane Broncos, the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and the Queensland Cowboys. He's won two NRL premierships and played for Australia. After retiring from NRL in 2016. He started co-hosting breakfast Radio on 90.9 kfm, But it's not his stellar sporting career or his media cred that lights up Ben's world. It's his family. Ben is husband to Emma and together they have eight children, four girls and four boys. Kai is 17. Ella is 16. Mia is 13. Brax is 12. Ava is ten. Channing is eight. Koa is five, and Pippa is three.


[00:02:19] I was very lucky. I was brought up with a mother and a father. And I think that is so rare in today's society. I'm one of 11, so I've got ten brothers and sisters. We grew up in a farm, a ten acre little block in Mudgeeraba on the Gold Coast, and unfortunately when I was about eight years of age, my parents lost everything in the recession we had to have back when Paul Keating was prime minister.


[00:02:45] We ended up moving into our neighbour's backyard in tents, which was quite embarrassing. As a young kid in primary school, we had nothing. We had no cars, we were eating wheat porridge. So there was a time in my life it was probably the hardest time of my life, but it made me realize the most important thing in life. A lot of families break down in these situations when things get tough, but in this situation, it brought my family closer together and all of us kids banded together. We'd do jobs around the place trying to make money here and there, and we all put it towards helping our parents get back on their feet again.


[00:06:41] If my wife and I could, we would have another eight. Because the most important thing in our life is our family. And you can't take money with you. On our deathbeds, I'm pretty sure we're not going to be lonely, which is going to be pretty awesome.


[00:14:30] I've actually got three kids on the spectrum. I've got two with ADHD as well. I've got two medicated. I've got two other kids that are dyslexic. So our life isn't perfect. Our kids aren't great students. We suck at school, to be honest, but they're hard working. And as parents, you navigate and you learn different ways with kids on the ASD spectrum. My oldest son who is on the spectrum, I just thought he was a naughty kid. I didn't understand. It took probably 5 or 6 years before we actually got professional help because things got so bad where we're at a stage where it was a good day when he wanted to take his own life. It was a bad day when he wouldn't say anything and he would try and do it.


[00:05:44] (on meeting his wife Emma at 16): I met an amazing girl at the age of 16, and I was going down the footie path, the party and playing up, having a good time. And there's good church girl starts coming to my church and I knew that there's no way in the world she'd ever date a loser like me. And if I wanted to get someone like that, I'd have to change.


[00:29:39] I'd wake up before midnight on the Gold Coast, leave home on the stroke of midnight drive to Brisbane, and I would throw boxes of fruit and veg and tomato and everything around for eight hours as a 21 year old kid and then go on to NRL first grade training alongside like Shane Webb, Petero Civoniceva, Brad [00:30:00] Thorn, Tony Carroll, Darren Lockyer, Dane Cole, Corey Parker, Sam Thaiday. I was a young kid and that year I played every single game of first grade. I played every semi-finals and I won a grand final. I got up at midnight. I got in my car when I was tired and I had a kid that was on the ASD spectrum.



“Aiming to be a GOOD dad is important, but you know what, research actually shows that being a good ENOUGH parent is how you ace it,” said Maggie Dent. Known around Australia as the “Queen of Common Sense”, Dent shares her characteristic humour and simple strategies with dads from all walks of life. Maggie Dent is a trusted voice – her podcast Parental As Anything has won gold at the Australian Podcast Awards, she regularly travels around Australia presenting to parents on resilience, anxiety and raising boys to men, she’s the author of nine books, the mother of four sons and grandma to seven grandkids.


Dent said: “I’ve wanted to do something for dads for a long time. I’ve watched my own sons become fathers, and there is just so little out there for dads. Seeing dads on telly and in ads being the bumbling fool - apart from in Bluey of course! - is frustrating. Dads are doing a great job…it’s time to celebrate our dads!”  


And celebrate dads is what The Good Enough Dad certainly does. Throughout the 26-episode season, Dent chats with good mate and Triple M Sydney host Gus Worland about the man who shaped the father he is today, former NRL star Ben Hannant about how he parents eight kids, and the hilarious How to Dad NZ Instagram star Jordan Watson on how running from half-crazed sheep in the wilds of New Zealand helped him be the dad he is today. Musician John Butler, singer, actor and TV presenter David Campbell, acclaimed performer Stephen Page, footy legend Brad Kearns, father of twins and podcaster Sean Szeps, comedian and presenter Matt Okine, and TV presenter Tristan MacManus also talk to Dent about their fatherhood journey.


The Good Enough Dad is on LiSTNR, with episodes dropping weekly on Wednesdays.

Source: *Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2 September 2016

Contact details:

Kath Rose on 0416 291 493 or email

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