How Fathers Can Strengthen Their Parenting Skills
Becoming a dad is a life-altering event most men are not fully prepared for.
Parenting classes for fathers are uncommon, and new mom groups are more prevalent than new dads support groups. Postpartum dads are filled with a sense of excitement for the role they are suddenly in but often don't have a place to go for the positive parenting support they deserve.
We at Parents First believe ALL parents should be part of the conversation and that dads should feel they matter equally. That's why we partnered with Fathering Together for an educational course focusing on the father and child relationship entitled Intentional Fatherhood.
Fathering Together sees an equitable world where fathers are actively engaged in the lives of their children. They do that by building communities such as Dads with Daughters and Dads with Sons and sharing resources not just within the bounds of their dad groups, but everywhere fathers are!
Fathering Together's Brian Anderson and John Badalament joined Parents First in a series of videos discussing building strong relationships between fathers and children. While the series focuses on fatherhood, all family members are invited to join our community to participate and reflect on the strategies and skills presented! You can find the complete series under the guides section of Parents First.
So what exactly is Intentional Fatherhood?
There is no one perfect manual for fatherhood, but the best manual is one you co-create with your child. This begins with creating a vision and building emotional connections with your child.
As Brian and John explain, Intentional Fatherhood is creating a vision, setting goals to get to that vision, and through those goals and that vision, building an emotional connection with your kids that you can further build on by creating rituals to deepen that relationship.
The fatherhood journey you're on with your children keeps you excited, exhausted, and guessing. How can you be sure you are doing the right thing? How can you ensure that your parenting is helping you deepen your relationship with your kids?
Start by defining your parenting style.
There have been thousands of different ways that men have been fathers over the centuries and across cultures, times, and world views that can roughly be categorized into these four types of parenting:
Authoritative nurturing, responsive, supportive
set strict rules, use punishment rather than discipline, less nurturing
Permissive warm and nurturing, set minimal boundaries, few consequences for action
unresponsive, unavailable, rejecting
No parent fits neatly into one of the above categories. We all have good and bad days. Throughout your life, you'll probably fall into one of these parenting styles in some form. It's critical to think about when and why you do so that you can become more intentional about the kind of dad you are.
While you may strive to be authoritative, many factors impact how you raise each child. Your child's temperament and personality, your family structure and the other authority figures in your child's life, your child's peer group as well as your peer group, all influence how you build your parenting style and define your fatherhood.
As a father, you most likely want your children to look up to you as a role model who sets the road map for what it is to be a good functioning human being.
Ask yourself this:
How do you want to show up for your family?
How are you parenting your kids?
How are you having a call and response with them?
How are you learning to learn with them?
Are you unlearning bad habits so that you're not passing them along?
Fatherhood is expansive. That can be pretty daunting, but it can also be an invitation to start a conversation about being a dad and reaching out for support from a community of parents who include dads because dads have an equal voice in the conversation.
You can continue learning about the four steps to Intentional Fatherhood: Creating Your Fatherhood Vision, Setting Your Fatherhood Goals, Building Emotional Connection, and Creating Rituals in the Parents First group on Facebook. With the resources provided, you will be well on your way to building an amazing relationship with your child and becoming the father you want to be.
Parents First is a large parenting community on Facebook helping parents and caregivers navigate through the wonderful world of parenting.
Our active Facebook group is the village where you can build friendships and turn to the community for anything related to parenting, ask for advice and recommendations, get creative birthday ideas, receive lots of support when it’s overwhelming, and share ALL your parenting wins, no matter how small.
With so many different parenting styles out there, it can sometimes feel overwhelming. Having a diverse community of parents to talk to makes it easier! Parents First brings experts and resources directly to the group so you'll have answers to all your burning questions.
Join us and find your community!