While fathers have the desire to be good parents, many men grow up without a healthy role model of a father and therefore don’t have the knowledge or skills needed to be a great dad. Fathers represent a diverse set of circumstances. “Men raising children can be grandfathers, uncles, stepdads, adoptive dads, or big brothers. Fathers come from a variety of situations that do not reflect the traditional family structure, including single fathers, stepfathers, newcomer fathers, young fathers, gay/bi/queer/transgender fathers, non-custodial fathers and incarcerated fathers.“
Positive interactions between fathers and their children promote healthy physical, emotional, social and ethical development. Children who grow up with their fathers do better across a range of outcomes: lower rates of drug and alcohol use, fewer teen pregnancies, better school performance and successful relationships as they age. When fathers are involved they build strong relationships with their children and others in their family.
Lessons Learned: Embracing Different Levels of Father Engagement
Fathers who are working, living out of state, incarcerated or otherwise unable to attend meetings and events can still be involved. See the Fatherhood Initiative’s website for resources to support and sustain father engagement. It includes 36-ideas-for-Engaging-Fathers.