Fatherhood and Co-Parenting

 Home / Fatherhood and Co-Parenting Blog

Fatherhood and Co-Parenting Help RSS

Fatherhood, Co-Parenting and Child Support information. Get a better of understanding of your rights as a parent before you go to court. We will also give you information on how to be a better father and co-parent with the mother. Our goal is to increase father's involvement in the family structure.

Preparing for Fatherhood: 16 Ways to Get Ready to Become a Dad

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Monday, February 01, 2021

  • Preparing for Fatherhood:
    16 Ways to Get Ready to Become a Dad

Medically reviewed by Karen Gill, M.D. — Written by Sara McTigue
on March 26, 2020 for Healthline ParentHood

Whether you’re still dealing with the shock or you’ve been waiting for this moment for years, finding out you’re going to be a father is a life-defining moment. It’s normal to have a mixture of feelings, from pure joy to outright terror — even if this is something you’ve always wanted.

In all honesty, it’s hard to ever feel completely prepared to become a father. However, we’ve got some ideas for you as you await your little one’s birth and also to put into place in the exciting-yet-tiring, exhilarating-yet-exhausting months to follow!




1. Start your research

You may not be the one who is physically carrying the baby, but that doesn’t mean you’re not a part of the pregnancy and birth experience. The same can go for those who are using a surrogate or adopting — there are definitely ways to feel involved. Plenty of books out there are written for expectant fathers, but you don’t have to limit yourself to those. Join some online groups or sign up for a pregnancy newsletter. If your partner is experiencing pregnancy symptoms, from morning sickness to heartburn, do some research. Understanding what they’re feeling can help you to better support them as they carry your child.

When the time for labor, birth, and caring for a newborn arrives, knowing what to expect can make the entire thing a much better experience. Read about vaginal and cesarean deliveries, breastfeeding, diaper changing, and more.


2. Get healthy

Before your baby arrives is a great time to focus on your own health. If you smoke, try to quit. Exposure to smoke during pregnancy has been shown to increase the risk of congenital heart defects in newborns. How are your eating habits? Eating well now will help fuel your long days (and nights!) of new parenthood. If your diet could benefit from some small changes, consider these healthy swaps. Or add some fiber-rich and immune-boosting foods to your meals. If it’s been a while, schedule an annual physical with your family doctor or internist. And find out if you’re up to date on all your vaccinations, like whooping cough.


3. Talk about parenting with your co-parent

Now is a great time to start discussions about the kind of parents you plan to be. Are both of you all-in on breastfeeding? (Support from the father is critical to breastfeeding success!) Do you want the baby to sleep in a crib in their own room as soon as you get home? Will both of you be working? What are your plans for childcare? Remember that these things are still theoretical for both of you. Once the baby arrives your feelings may change. Breastfeeding might be more challenging than you had hoped or you may want to rethink your feelings about cloth diapering.

There are also discussions that won’t be relevant just yet, but they are important nonetheless. Discussing discipline, including things like spanking, should happen before your child becomes a feisty toddler. Beginning the discussion now opens those lines of communication and helps you to get on the same parenting page.


4. Start playing as a team

Speaking of being on the same page, now is the time to start thinking of yourselves as a team. You, your co-parent, and your baby are linked for life, even if your romantic relationship with your co-parent doesn’t continue. It’s a good idea to start viewing everything through that lens and letting go of keeping score as if you’re in a competition. If the person carrying your child is feeling exhausted and dealing with morning sickness, helping them out is also helping you and your baby. Feeding them what they are able to eat, picking up the slack on housekeeping, or making sure to check in on them every day are some ways you can support your common purpose — caring for your family.


5. Decide on the father you want to be

Not everyone has a great relationship with their own father. If you’re lucky enough to have a great dad of your own, you may want to be just like him — and that’s wonderful.
If your own dad left a lot to be desired you may feel nervous about your own role as a father. The great news is that you get to decide how you approach parenthood. Find your own fatherhood role models. You’re creating this role from scratch and it’s up to you to decide how you want it to look.


6. Find fellow dads

On that note, it’s great to find some other fathers for your friend group. Having someone familiar with the challenges of parenthood gives you an outlet and a place to ask questions, vent, or commiserate about the experience of becoming a dad. There are online groups, church groups, and groups you can find through your doctor or hospital.


7. Go to the appointments whenever you can

Prenatal appointments are a great way to get excited about the pregnancy. Of course there is the experience of seeing your baby-to-be on ultrasound, but even the other routine checks can help you to connect with the pregnancy and learn more about what to expect. You have an opportunity to ask your own questions, find out what your partner is experiencing, and learn more about your baby’s development. While work schedules and other challenges may prevent you from attending every appointment, talk to your co-parent about creating a schedule that allows you to be there as much as possible. This can continue when the baby is the one scheduled for newborn checkups.


8. Acknowledge your sex life may change

Becoming a parent can definitely have an effect on your sex life. From the first moment you learn your partner is expecting you might feel a range of emotions — intensely connected to them and craving the intimacy of sex, nervous about doing anything that may affect the pregnancy, or simply… confused. This is another place where open communication is key. You’ll hear many jokes about how your sex life is over, or about the changes that happen to the body during pregnancy. These comments aren’t helpful and ignore the emotional complexity of sex and parenthood. The reality is that sex after pregnancy will take time — and we’re not just talking the 6-week recovery that is suggested for physical healing after labor and delivery. It’s important to be sensitive to all the changes you’re both going through — lack of sleep, breastfeeding, the emotional impact of having a newborn — and to communicate with your partner about their needs and your own when it comes to intimacy and sex. But sex after a baby can be even better. You’re connected in ways you never have been and the shared experience of becoming parents can bring many couples even closer.


9. Celebrate the milestones

Often the progress of pregnancy and the celebrations like baby showers are focused on the pregnant person, but you are part of this too. Consider hosting a co-ed shower so that you can be part of the fun. Go shopping with your partner to choose items for your baby. Keep a journal about how you’re feeling. Take lots of pictures of you throughout the pregnancy as well. Documenting these life changes is just as important for you!


10. Embrace your place in the preparations

There’s a lot to do to prepare for a new arrival. It’s definitely not just about carrying the baby. Creating a registry, preparing a space, saving money, researching child care, and so many more items will need to be tackled to prepare for your newborn. You may find that you enjoy being part of all the tasks or that you’re better suited to handling only certain aspects. Look for many ways to be involved in getting ready for your new arrival. 


A few suggestions: 

learn how to install and use the car seat (and volunteer to teach others)

make phone calls about childcare or insurance 

put together furniture or paint the room 

research the best baby carriers or formula 

take a class on birth or breastfeeding with your partner 

talk to your employer about your leave options 

pack the hospital bag.


11. Act as the communicator (or bouncer) when needed

A new baby can bring about the best — and worst — in people. Remember that talk about your team? It’s you, your co-parent, and your new baby. It’s up to your team to decide on things like who attends the birth, how soon you welcome guests, and a million other decisions you’ll make together. If family or friends question your choices it’s important that you speak up. Remember that it’s healthy and normal to set boundaries. If you want to celebrate the birth by inviting everyone you know to your home in the days after your baby’s arrival that is great. But if you want to limit visitors and spend some time alone as a family that is equally great. You can be the one to let others know what you will — and won’t — be doing as a family.


12. Advocate for your co-parent

Not just in family situations. This may mean speaking up to ask questions at appointments or during labor. This could mean doing what you can to support them in their decision to return to work — or their decision to stay at home. This may also mean looking for signs of postpartum depression and helping them to get the right professional help. You’re a powerful force in supporting their health. And having two healthy parents is good for your baby.


13. Share responsibilities

We talked about this through pregnancy, but make sure that you continue to stay involved when the baby arrives. It is easy for fathers to feel left out in the early days, especially if the other parent is breastfeeding. You may feel like your role isn’t as important — but it is. 

Ways to care for your newborn: 

change diapers — not just during the day, but at middle of the night wakings
give baths 
spend time skin-to-skin to help establish a secure attachment 
read to your baby 
choose a special song to sing at bedtime
bottle feed (or if baby is exclusively breastfed, be the burper or care for them pre- and post-mealtime) 
bring your co-parent drinks and snacks 
take on chores like dishes and laundry; you can baby wear while you do many things around the house!


14. Keep your sense of humor

Parenting is messy. It’s hard and complicated and exhausting. But it’s also fun and exciting and rewarding. The key to getting through the moments — both the good and the bad — is being able to laugh. When you haven’t slept enough and every diaper seems to be a blowout and you accidentally pour breast milk into your coffee your ability to laugh will carry you through the challenges.


Read More

6 Things I Wish I’d Known About Fatherhood When My Kids Were Still Young

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Wednesday, January 13, 2021

6 Things I Wish I’d Known About Fatherhood
When My Kids Were Still Young

Some advice from a dad who's been there.

By Claude Knobler Apr 25 2018, 4:03 PM for Fatherly


Here’s the shocking thing about being a dad: One day, just when you’ve started to get good at the job, your kids leave. When the youngest of our three kids headed off to college, I remember feeling like I’d just been term-limited out of the best job I’d ever had. I’d spent so much time learning how to raise my kids, that I was completely blindsided by the fact that one day they’d actually be adults. Well, sort of adults. I’m pretty sure one of them eats pizza for breakfast. On the other hand, he’s a straight-A college student with a better resume than mine, so who am I to judge?


But there were things I realized over time that really stuck with me. Things that, in the slog of every day, I let go of. Or kept fixated on. Or messed up with. And here I am now, with three adult children, thinking about all of the things I could have and should have done.


1. Everything You’re Worried About
Today Will Seem Silly In Two Years.

When my kids were toddlers, I worried about that pacifier stuck in their mouth. Two years later, my kid had moved on, and so had I. They turned five and I can’t believe I ever worried about their binky. At that point, I wondered why they were the only kindergartener who hasn’t mastered Dr. Seuss. And then, two years later, they’d moved on and so had I. Whether it’s sleep schedules, bad play dates, or the fairy tale princess I hired for my kid’s fifth birthday party showing up drunk, whatever it is I worried about then seems so silly now. I wish I had saved myself the misery, and laughed about it then.



2. Write Everything Down.
You Won’t Believe What You Won’t Remember.

One day I was stuck in the single worst traffic jam that the world has ever seen, probably. As I sat there fuming, trying my best not to mutter four-letter words I’d have to explain to my then 3-year-old son Clay, who was sitting in the back, he suddenly said, “Daddy, are you thinking about what I’m thinking about?” I figured I wasn’t but asked anyway.

“I don’t know Clay. What are you thinking about?” He stared out the window for a moment at the car in the lane next to us, and then said, “butterfly wings.” (To which I immediately replied, “why yes, that is exactly what I was thinking about.”) It’s a cute story, right? Here’s the thing, my 3-year-olds said and did cute things all the time. If I didn’t write them down, I wouldn’t remember a single one. I put a reminder into my calendar and spent literally five minutes a week, every week, jotting down little cute stories in The Book of Clay, The Book of Grace, and The Book of Nati, one notebook for each kid. A friend of mine just kept a list on her phone. Whatever. When the kids were still living at home, I could entertain them at a drop of a hat by pulling those books out and reading with them. Worked when they were in grade school, worked when they were in high school. Now that they’re all away, I take the books out to entertain myself. Don’t judge. One day, you will do the same.


3. Beware The Long-Term Yeses.

My daughter wanted a cat. I’m allergic to cats. My daughter now goes to UPenn and I’m still sneezing. It’s great to say yes. You want breakfast for dinner and dinner for breakfast? Sure thing! They want to try bangs or baseball? Great! But some yeses are easy in the moment and awful for much longer than that and yes, I am still thinking about that cat but the principle is true for other things too. Telling your child it’s okay to flake on a commitment they’ve made can be the right thing at times, but often it’s not the best lesson. Say yes often, but think first. (Also, if anyone wants an aging cat, please DM me).


4. The Years Fly
(but Some of the Days Really Drag).

My kids live in North Carolina, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia these days. I miss them more than I can say. I’m 53 years old and every time I see a dad holding his kid on his shoulders I sigh far too loudly and then wonder if my 22-year-old son would let me try to carry him just one more time. But I also remember how bored I was when I had to push him on the swings. I miss getting to kiss my daughter good morning, but I really don’t miss the way she’d complain that her socks “felt funny” every day for eight months. Being a dad is the most important thing you’ll ever do and it’s also, at times, the most boring and exasperating thing you can imagine. Yes, you have to cherish the good stuff but don’t forget to give yourself a break for being bored. Peeking at your phone sometimes on the playground won’t emotionally cripple your kid.


5. Your Kids Won’t Remember Everything
(but You Never Know What They Won’t Forget).

First, the good news: You don’t have to take your kids to Paris, museums, or sign them up for Space Camp. You can if you want to, of course. I loved taking my children to art galleries and we did travel with them, but honestly, most of that culture was for me, since my kids don’t remember much of it. But the bad news: Kids remember weird stuff and by weird, yes, I do mean that one time you yelled at the cat.



READ MORE

All Parents Offer Empty Promises and Hollow Threats. But Do They Do Harm?

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Wednesday, January 13, 2021

All Parents Offer Empty Promises and
Hollow Threats. But Do They Do Harm?

When a child acts out, it is all too easy to make a promise or threat a parent has no intention or ability to keep. But that could hurt your relationship in the long run.

By Jillian Mock for Fatherly Dec 26 2019, 10:50 AM




The hollow threat or empty promise is a near-unavoidable tool of parents. It’s not a good tool — most parents understand this — but it’s one that sometimes feels necessary. Say you’re in a restaurant trying to get to the end of the meal, or you’re late and simply have to get out the door. It might seem like the only way to move forward is to incentivize (or dis-incentivize) your kids: “If you don’t stop acting up, I’m going to take away your Pokemon cards.” Conversely, “If you are good for just 15 more minutes, you’ll get a prize at home.” So you’re not going to take away their precious Pokemon cards, and that “prize”, if not forgotten, will end up being some piece of candy you find lying around. No harm, right?


Not so. Research shows these statements have consequences, eroding the trust between parent and child. “Once you open your mouth, you need to follow through,” says Michele Borba, an educational psychologist and author of UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World. “Because kids are very smart and they have radar detectors and they will find out if it’s a false promise.”


Research shows that young children keep their promises and they expect others to do the same. They also take cues from adult behavior. A 2012 update of the classic marshmallow test conducted at Rochester University showed that having reliable interactions with adults influenced what children did later. Kids who interacted with adults who followed through on what they said they would do waited far longer on average before nibbling a marshmallow than children who interacted with adults who didn’t do what they said. The children seemed to be making a decision about how likely that promised future reward actually was, wrote the researchers in a post about the experiment.

When parents break their promises, it can also teach a child that this kind of behavior is acceptable, says Borba. “If you want your child to be trustworthy, then you’ve got to be trustworthy.”


Hollow threats, on the other hand, can have even deeper consequences. When parent use empty threats all the time, they undermine a kid’s understanding of rules and consequences by suggesting that “rules” are actually can be obeyed or not obeyed depending on the context of the situation. Furthermore, on the surface they stress a child out, making it even more difficult for them to have the self-control required for good behavior.


Instead of leaning on empty promises and hollow threats, there are many other strategies parents can deploy to deal with misbehaving kids, especially if you’re worried about an outburst at the family holiday party.


The first strategy is to take steps to minimize outbursts from the get-go. Kids misbehave four times predictably, says Borba, when they are hungry, bored, tired, or in need of attention. Taking steps to anticipate those needs can help avoid an outburst altogether, she says. It also helps to reduce your own stress around the holidays, because children will mirror what they see in their parents, which could also cause them to act out.


Also, if you have a specific way you want your child to act in a given situation, like acting excited to get a sweater from grandma, for example, Borba recommends practicing that action with them ahead of time. This will allow the child to meet your expectations and head off a potentially negative interaction.


If your child’s behavior does start to escalate, it can be challenging for a parent to slow down and think about their response. But it’s important. “Trust is really easy to snap and really hard to reconstruct,” says Robert Zietlin, a positive psychologist and author of the book Laugh More, Yell Less: A Guide to Raising Kick-Ass Kids. In these moments, he says it can help to “zoom in” to empathize with how your child is feeling in this moment, or to “zoom out” to focus on the big picture rather than how angry you feel right then and there.


Read More

Zoom, It’s Not Just For Work: 30 Fun Activities Families Can Do Online

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Sunday, December 06, 2020

Zoom, It’s Not Just For Work: 30 Fun Activities Families Can Do Online

by Helene Wingens for grownandflown.com

At first we had no idea how we were going to stay connected. Then we discovered that there were, in fact, many ways to
interact even if we could not physically be together. We started Skyping,
FaceTiming and Zooming with friends and family.


We celebrated Zoom birthday celebrations…book clubs….and those ubiquitous happy hours.
But now that we’ve settled into this new reality, we are looking for ways to up the ante.



Fun online activities

Jackbox Games

If you buy them on your computer you can share a screen in Zoom and everybody can play. Each player uses their phone as a “joystick.” There are many games to choose from.


Trivia Games

A lot of people suggested using Kahoot for your trivia games.


Charades

Nothing needed but your imagination. One of the great things about playing charades is that you barely need any materials to get a game going, and you can play with as many people as you want. Just gather your friends together over Zoom, choose your teams, and consult with each other in individual chats to get the rounds going.


Bunco

Here are some directions on how to play Bunco virtually.


Cook/Bake together

Find someone to lead a cooking or baking class. They can send out directions and ingredients beforehand.


Talent Show

Select a panel of judges and then Zoom with others and let everyone give you a taste of their talent.


Card Games

Any of these games can be played with or without Zooming or FaceTiming with the group you’re playing with. If you FaceTime, as I have done while playing, it can feel very close to being in the same room


Read More

The Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Child's Reading Skills

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Sunday, December 06, 2020

The Top 10 Ways to Improve Your
Child's Reading Skills

Find out how to improve your child's
reading skills with these homework help tips.

by: Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S. for familyeducation.com

Nothing is more important to academic achievement than being a good reader.
Parents know their children best and can provide the one-on-one time and attention
that will lead them to success in reading. Here is a list of ways to help your children become more effective readers.


Set Aside a Designated "Reading Time" Daily

Studies show that regularly reading out loud to children will produce significant gains in reading comprehension, vocabulary, and the decoding of words. Whether your children are preschoolers or preteens, it will increase their desire to read independently.



Surround Kids With Reading Material

Children with a large array of reading materials in their homes score higher on standardized tests. Tempt your kids to read by having a large supply of appealing books and magazines at their reading level. Put the reading materials in cars, bathrooms, bedrooms, family rooms, and even by the TV.


More: 8 Classic Dr. Seuss Books for Kids


Have Family Reading Time

Establish a daily 15 to 30 minute time when everyone in the family reads together silently. Seeing you read will inspire your children to read. Just 15 minutes of daily practice is sufficient to increase their reading fluency.


Encourage Reading Activities

Make reading an integral part of your children's lives. Have them read menus, roadside signs, game directions, weather reports, movie time listings, and other practical everyday information. Also, make sure they always have something to read in their spare time when they could be waiting for appointments or riding in a car.


Develop the Library Habit

Entice your children to read more by taking them to the library every few weeks to get new reading materials. The library also offers reading programs for children of all ages that may appeal to your children and further increase their interest in reading.


Track Your Child's Progress

Find out what reading skills they are expected to have at each grade level. The school's curriculum will give you this information. Track their progress in acquiring basic reading skills on report cards and standardized tests.


Look for Reading Problems

Teachers do not always detect children's reading problems until they've become serious. Find out if your children can sound out words, know sight words, use context to identify unknown words, and clearly understand what they read.


Get Help for Reading Problems

Reading problems do not magically disappear with time. The earlier children receive help, the more likely they will become good readers. Make sure your children receive necessary help from teachers, tutors, or learning centers as soon as you discover a problem.

More: The Skills Kids Need to Read


Use Aids That Help With Reading

To help your children improve their reading, use textbooks, computer programs, books-on-tape, and other materials available in stores. Games are especially good choices because they let children have fun as they work on their skills.


Read More

What Parents Raising Boys Need to Do Above All Else

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Sunday, December 06, 2020

What Parents Raising Boys Need
to Do Above All Else

This is what it takes to raise compassionate, resilient men who
are accountable to themselves and to others.

By Andrew Reiner for Fatherly.com

George was similar to many high school-aged boys I interviewed for research on my book, Better Boys, Better Men about the new brand of resiliency boys and men need to thrive at a time when their traditional masculine identity no longer serves them. The then-17-year-old junior from Baltimore said that he had a few girlfriends in whom he could confide the feelings he “couldn’t” share with guy friends — sadness, shame, fear. When his first girlfriend ended the relationship and he was “devastated,” he refused to turn to his parents.


“I learned not to share my struggles with [them],” he said. “They’re always telling me I need to toughen up and learn how to handle things on my own.” So, he did. He sought guidance from a guy friend he “admired,” which was well-meaning but ineffectual. After all, the boy was 17 years old. Eventually, George attempted suicide.

Many boys today know what ultimately gives them greater emotional resiliency: a masculine identity that permits access to the full range of their human emotions.

But this isn’t the script we — parents, teachers, coaches and even the male friends they look up to — hand them, because we fear raising ‘incompetent’ men.

More than any time in the past, however — when boys are more anxious, depressed and suicidal than they’ve ever been — embracing these qualities has devastating consequences to boys’ well-being and ability to thrive and, increasingly, survive. In turn, they have serious repercussions for the rest of us. Yet we still aren’t raising boys in a way that anticipates or meets their most immediate emotional needs.


As soon as boys are born, we, their parents, begin preparing them for ‘manhood.’ Psychologist and researcher Edward Z. Tronick was one of the first researchers to discover this — inadvertently.

Back in the 1970s, the research associate in Newborn Medicine and faculty member at Harvard’s medical school and school of public health began using the Still-face paradigm, which he invented and is still widely used globally. In Tronick’s research — which has always focused on the emotional and physical stress in infants — that meant having mothers sit directly across from their babies for two minutes, stoic and silent, no facial expression. What he discovered was that boys had a radically different reaction to their mother’s seeming emotional withdrawal than did girls. The boys fussed, their facial expressions revealed anger, they twisted and turned in their infant seats, trying to “escape or get away.” They cried and gestured to be picked up more than girls.



In other words, the emotional stress was literally too much for many of the infant boys to bear. They behaved exactly as many of us, if not most, might have expected girls to behave. Tellingly, many of the mothers preferred interacting with their daughters when their sons grew emotionally ‘needy.’

Since the 1990s, Tronick and his research colleagues have also discovered that when mothers are intentionally removed from their infants’ sight for a few minutes, and their children don’t know if they will return, it takes boys far longer to warm back up to them during the reunion stage. It’s as if a degree of trust has been broken for the infant boys.

Allan N. Schore believes it is. The neuropsychologist and faculty member in UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine has observed that when mothers aren’t attentive enough, infant boys can develop “separation stress,” which can cause “an acute strong increase of cortisol and can therefore be regarded as a severe stressor.” Other researchers have found strong evidence that “the attachment style developed in childhood remains relatively stable across the life span and may even be transmitted between generations.” All of this points to neural pathways boys are taught to create at very young ages that set up emotional distance, and in turn, distrust for boys and, eventually, men.

“The ‘manning-up’ of infant boys,” Tronick said in an email to me, “begins early on in their typical interactions and long before language plays its role.
If only it stopped there.


Widely touted research from Emory University biological anthropologists Jennifer Mascaro and James K. Rilling found that fathers reacted far differently to their one- and two-year-old daughters than they did their sons of the same age. Fathers sang to their daughters but not their sons. They used more analytical language and words related to sadness with daughters, whereas the words they used most often with sons encouraged competition, dominance. What’s more, their brains showed a more positive neural response to their daughter’s happy facial expressions, whereas their brains responded favorably to their sons’ neutral facial expressions. And, sadly, this: Fathers responded far more often to their young daughters when they cried at night than they did their sons.

These gender-based responses are nicely framed by a 2018 study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family which found that “despite changing expectations for fathers, hegemonic masculine norms continue to shape fathers’ behavior.”


More research is showing what a 2014 study from the British Journal of Developmental Psychology found — that many mothers unwittingly play into these binary divisions, too. During a play-related storytelling task, mothers used more emotional words with their four-year-old daughters than they did with their similarly aged sons. It’s not that mothers are pushing boys to follow the same traditional masculine norms that too many dads do. But these norms are so deeply ingrained they are reflexive, to varying degrees, in all of us.


Even when children are injured, both fathers and mothers follow the same playbook. A 2016 study examined the language parents used with children after visits to the emergency room for non-life-threatening injuries. The study found that parents spoke to their sons and daughters differently afterwards: They were nearly four times more likely to counsel daughters about the need for caution than they were sons. This sends a message to boys — in addition to teaching them that they aren’t emotional beings, we teach them that unhealthy risk-taking with their bodies is part of who they should be.


It’s no coincidence that boys and men are at the fore of the loneliness and suicide epidemics. They are keeping pace with girls and women when it comes to anxiety and may even experience more chronic depression. (If more healthcare practitioners would use diagnostic scales that more accurately measure such mental illness as it manifests in males, we would see the parity between genders.) The script we teach boys throughout their lives — over which they have no control — plays a large part in these public health crises.


If any of us asked boys what messages our society sends them about what it means to be a ‘man,’ it would likely echo the findings of the 2018 report “The State of Gender Equality for U.S. Adolescents.” Many of the 10- to 19-year-old boys surveyed said that society defines “masculinity” through physical strength, toughness and the willingness to “punch someone if provoked,” as well as to make sexual comments and jokes about girls. The “State of American Boys,” part of an October 2020 report for the nascent Global Boyhood Initiative, found that 72 percent of adolescent respondents felt pressure to always appear “physically strong” and that 61 percent felt pressure to play and excel at sports. Talk about stereotypes.


Then there’s the expectation that boys handle things on their own. Everything. Jake, a 22-year-old college lacrosse player told me that his father was far more helpful with his younger twin sisters than he was with Jake when it came to homework. “He doesn’t think twice about sitting down with them and talking things through. With me? He used to say, ‘Figure it out. You’re a guy.’” Jake told me that his father has always given his sisters affection and nurturing on demand when they’ve needed it, but he stopped turning to his father for this. “He made it clear pretty early on that this wasn’t something I should need from him.”


READ MORE

The 20 Most Common Parenting Mistakes I See

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Friday, November 27, 2020

The 20 Most Common Parenting Mistakes I See

By Mike Leary Jan 25 2016, 10:28 PM


What are some common mistakes parents make that could actually hurt their children’s mental and physical health in the long term?

I have seen so many good intentions go horribly wrong over the years that can result in self-harm, suicide and, in extreme cases, even murder. Here are some of the most common mistakes that can be really harmful to kids.



1. Giving Them Too Many Choices

Many parents think children always should have endless choices, when the reality is kids can be overwhelmed if they’re always given so many options.


2. Praising Them for Everything They Do

It’s very common now to see kids who are almost junkies for praise. They won’t do anything unless there is a payoff for them.


3. Trying to Make the Child Happy

Their job is to learn to make themselves happy, and you can never force a child to be happy.


4. Overindulging Them

They will almost always end up believing acquisitions lead to happiness. This sets up chasing the never-satisfying carrots, and can result in addictions and compulsions.


5. Keeping Them Too Busy

Most commonly with sports. Many parents wrongly believe “activities” will keep their kid out of trouble, but often times this will lead to the child being burned out or even becoming a bully.


6. Thinking Smart Will Save Them

It can be tempting for parents to promote smart as the end-all-be-all. Yet this can lead to a child becoming arrogant, thinking everyone else is stupid or secretly believe that they have to put on an act and are a fraud. As a result, nobody likes them.


7. Thinking a Strict Religion Will Give Them Perfect Values and Save Them

The first time they see hypocrisy in their parents or the touted beloved leaders, the house of cards start to fall.


8. Withholding Common Information About Important Topics — Like Sex

Many parents are terrified of talking about sex, and believe avoiding discussing it with their children will save them. But I’ve seen 13-year-old girls get pregnant, sometimes just to flaunt it at their parents.


9. Being Hyper-Critical of the Child’s Mistakes

It can be easy to assume intense scrutiny promotes success and makes kids better. But kids raised this way are driven to perfection in everything from looks, likability, sports, smarts, or you name it. When a mistake happens, they are worthless as a human being and start getting so angry that in some cases they will resort to self-harm even to the point of suicide.


10. Using Shame, Shunning, or Threats

Never imply that there is a chance you might not love your child due to their actions, as some parents do so in order to get their kids to achieve compliance. It is a short term gain with abandonment lurking in the shadows. Then the child doesn’t care either.


11. Making Kids Do Things Inappropriate for Their Age

I have 3 patients right now who, by age 4, were having to feed themselves and or had to be in charge of a sibling also. I’ve seen many who didn’t have children of their own because as they all said; “I raised my family.”


12. Not Limiting Screen Time

Whether it’s TV, video, games, phone or texting. I know a family where the mom and teenage son text each other constantly and no one else can get into their relationship link.


13. Not Letting Kids Get Bored

Some parents think children are supposed to be stimulated at all times and it’s their job to avoid boredom. Then kids don’t learn to be creative and find the way out of boredom in themselves.


14. Protecting Kids From Their Own Consequences and Loss

I see parents with good intentions get their kids everything, from a simple toy to buying them out of legal trouble, and suddenly are surprised when the child respects nothing. All of us need to learn losing is just another way to gain wisdom and experience about what not to do.


Read More

Sammy's Guide to Internet Safety

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Thursday, November 19, 2020

The guide teaches kids how to enjoy the internet safely while providing fun activities and games.

How Dads Can Get More Involved in Education

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Wednesday, October 21, 2020

How Dads Can Get More
Involved in Education

By Saron Messay from National PTA'S




A father’s involvement with his child plays a vital role in their development and the socio-emotional and academic functioning within their lives.

Research shows that when dads and other father figures are engaged in children’s education, student grades and test scores improve, attendance increases, and students are more involved in school activities.

While fathers are spending more time with their children, many feel they’re still not doing enough. Roughly half (48%) say they spend too little time with their kids. Only 25% of mothers say the same.


Dads + Kids = Improved Milestones

Active and regular father engagement with children impacts a range of positive outcomes, including enhancing cognitive development and decreasing delinquency and poverty in low socioeconomic families. It is important to educate men about the benefits of their engagement and support, not only at home but in their schools as well.

With more fathers stepping up in their daily roles and becoming more active with their children, the change of roles has introduced a new form of fatherhood in America.

With fathers taking a more active role within communities and schools, it is important to share these values with other dads through engagement programs and various projects. Here are some programs that encourage dads to be involved:


The PTA MORE Alliance is helping PTAs get more men involved in students’ education. The partnering organizations The WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads Of Great Students) program can also help you reach and engage your dads as can All Pro Dad, Strong Fathers-Strong Families and 100 Black Men of America, Inc. These four programs make up

All of these programs and resources have proven to be effective tools in bringing fathers and father-figures into schools in unique and powerful ways in order to build PTA membership and capacity.


Dad-To-Dad Tips

Eric Snow, president and cofounder of WATCH D.O.G.S.—and a dad shares the countless ways dads can be involved in their child’s education at all ages that will make a difference.


READ MORE

Why Fatherhood Is Important to a Child’s Education

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Why Fatherhood Is
Important to a Child’s Education

by Letise Dennis from Family Living, Parenting


Fatherhood may not be a rare gift, but it is certainly one to be highly valued and carefully guarded. When a new life is created, the child brings to the mother and father not only exponential joy but also a lifelong commitment and interdependent relationship.

Fathers play many important roles in a child’s life, varying in each individual family based on the provisions of the father and needs of the child. An area in which our society is significantly suffering, though, is the involvement of fathers in the education of our children.

Many fathers are doing an excellent job of participating daily in the education of our nation’s children, but there is still a large percentage not engaging with teachers, homework, schools, and academic development.

Before going any deeper into why and how fathers should get involved in education, a definition of fatherhood should first be explained. Sticking with a formal definition, fatherhood can be simply stated as a state-of-being in relation to being a father. For the context of this article, though, let’s take it one step farther.

Children do not stop needing their fathers because life circumstances or relationships change, because they get older, or because lives get busy. Once a man enters into fatherhood, he is a member for life, and whether he is man enough to take on that challenge or not is up to him. The impact a father has on a child is irreplaceable, as numerous studies have shown, the absence of a father can result in negative consequences that can affect all areas of a child’s life.



One of those significant areas is education. Children with involved fathers tend toward achieving academic success across the board, higher IQs, improved test results, and better attitudes toward school. They are less likely to drop out, fail classes, or develop behavioral concerns.

Knowing children with involved fathers have such a clear academic advantage, here are some ways in which fathers can become actively involved with their child’s learning.


Watch D.O.G.S.

The National Center for Fathering has created a program called Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) to help connect fathers with their children’s schools. They volunteer a day of their time doing varying activities around the school such as assisting teachers, helping to monitor the car line, patrolling the school, and other various tasks as assigned. This is not only a huge assistance to teachers and school staff, but it also helps the children know that their fathers care enough to take a day off from work and invest in the betterment of the school. If Watch D.O.G.S. is not available as an option, ask the school administration or teachers about other volunteer opportunities to get involved.


Bedtime Stories

Find out from the child’s teacher what topics they are covering right now at school. Check out a book from the library or download one online that relates in some way to what is being taught at school. As a part of the bedtime routine, read together this book and discuss anything newly discovered or learned. This will develop a healthy habit of reading every night, will open up communication regarding school and learning, and will create very special memories shared between father and child.


Weekend Exploration

If weekdays prove impossible for a father to engage in many school-related activities, plan to take full advantage of the weekends. For every weekend, base at least one outing or adventure on something connected to either a lesson learned at school that week or something new the child has always wanted to try. This will reinforce learning at school, enable a more hands-on educational experience, and facilitate bonding time.


Ride to School

Mornings are often the most hectic time of the day, but if at all possible, arranging schedules to allow for driving children to school in the morning will open the door for some great conversations along the way. What do you have going on today? What are you most looking forward to? Are you nervous about anything? If it is possible to take the few extra minutes to walk the child to class, too, this makes it easy to speak with the teacher and other school staff. If this time in the morning is impossible to do, a quick appearance at lunch will make a world of difference in a student’s day and allow for the same communication with teachers and staff.


READ MORE


About DFFC

The Delaware Fatherhood & Family Coalition is an extension of the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program and the Responsible Fatherhood Initiative created specifically to give a voice to fathers and the importance of their involvement for the well-being of their children.


Learn more

Newsletter Sign-Up

Sign up today to get the lastest news and info.




Captcha Image