'The purest love': Peter Overton opens up about parenting two tween daughters

Photo: Peter, Jess, Allegra and Giselle on a recent family holiday. Instagram / Jess Rowe
Photo: Peter, Jess, Allegra and Giselle on a recent family holiday. Instagram / Jess Rowe 

Peter Overton is a father to two beautiful girls on the cusp of becoming teenagers.

While the Nine newsreader admits that every age has its challenges, with eldest daughter Allegra turning 13 early next year, he says the "puberty freight train is knocking at the front door."

"I just try to keep it even," he tells Essential Kids. "As I learn to understand and manage the mood swings and ups and downs, I just try to keep it even as much as I can." 

"Love, communication and understanding is the bedrock to navigating this age and stage."

According to Overton, negotiating social media and screen time limits is one of the family's biggest push points.

"When you throw in social media at this age, and the dangers that can come with that, it can be a potent mix," he reveals. "As a dad, I just want to protect her. And in some ways, I think this age can be more difficult for a father than a mother." 

Overton says he is fortunate to get lots of fantastic advice and insightful comments from his wife of 15 years, Jessica Rowe.

"She says 'Peter, think of it as a butterfly coming out of a cocoon. This is what is happening to Allegra. If you're stressed about something that's going on at 53-years-of-age, how do you think she feels at 12?'

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Jessica Rowe (@jessjrowe) on

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The importance of the father-daughter relationship is at the forefront of Overton's mind, and he strives to keep the channels of communication open at all times.

"I constantly say to Allegra; 'I will always listen to you and I'll always help you, I will never judge you'."

According to Overton, walking and talking is one of the best ways to connect with his eldest daughter. 

"That's where I find you can have the best conversations because there is no direct eye contact. You are just walking and relaxed." 

He adds: "And I love going to watch her play school sport. She's a great touch footballer."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

My girls... my heart is full 💕💕 #craphousewife #diaryofacraphousewife #girlsrock

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Along with Allegra, Overton has a second daughter with Rowe, 10-year-old Giselle.

He describes Giselle as a beautiful writer, who loves making speeches, playing her french horn and hopes to be a vet one day.

"Just listening to her speeches and rehearsing brings me great joy," he says. 

Overton bursts with pride as he recounts his very special daddy-daughter date with Giselle on the weekend to see Maleficent.

"That to me is the greatest day in the world - just you and your daughter holding hands, chatting it up, reviewing a film, that sort of stuff."

The popular TV journalist and newsreader is absolutely besotted with his girls and loves nothing more than being "present and there" for them. 

"Of course at times your fuse can be short, and they know how to push your buttons, but these are the challenges for every parent."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Holidays here we come!! Who is the most excited?? #craphousewife #diaryofacraphousewife #holidays

A post shared by Jessica Rowe (@jessjrowe) on

Travelling is also a great way for the family of four to connect, and this year they managed to squeeze in a trip to both Uluru and Hawaii. 

"We actually learnt to surf as a family in Hawaii", he laughs. "It was terrific fun and so exhilarating watching the kids stand up. It's like winning the lottery."

Despite Rowe standing down from her full-time TV hosting role last year, Overton says she is still "incredibly busy" with her charity work and emphasises the importance of spending time as a couple. 

"Every parent is peddling hard with their kids, but we are very focused on trying to work a date night in at least once a month. We are overdue, actually!" 

The Sydney-based couple often reflect on how lucky they are to have such a great relationship with their children.  

"We really invest in them and have worked hard," he beams.

"I describe it as 'the purest love' - I have never loved in such a pure way as the love I have for my daughters."

Peter Overton with his wife Jessica Rowe and their two daughters Allegra and Giselle.

Peter and Jess with their beautiful girls on Father's Day in 2013, when Allegra was 6 and Giselle was 4. Photo: Jacky Ghossein

Peter Overton is the chief newsreader for Sydney's 6pm edition of Nine News.