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.

10 Tips for New Fathers

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Tuesday, January 28, 2020

10 Tips for New Fathers

If you are a new dad, guess what research shows is one of the best things you can do to bond with your new baby and make your marriage stronger?



1. Time and tolerance.

The most important thing you can do is simply spend time with your newborn. Serious research about fatherhood is only a scant 30 years old, and what we know is that the more time fathers spend with their infants the better. Researchers in the early years of father-infant bonding couldn’t find fathers spending enough time with their infants to study them. In other words, dads weren’t spending an adequate amount of time with their baby to even start measuring the impact. What we know now is that the time you can just be with your infant is valuable.

Along with time, you will need to have some tolerance for you and your new creation to get to know one another. This is your first time being a father and your son or daughter’s first time being a human being. Be kind and gentle with yourselves. Allow for some learning, experimentation and mutual tolerance. Give yourself time to learn and grow into the role.


2. Eye contact.

We have known for a long time that infants are drawn to the human face, but with computer-enhanced research we were able to realize what they look at: the eyes. Babies have a preference for the human face in general, and eye contact in particular. The one thing to remember about this is that they can only see clearly about a foot in front of them, so remember to smile, stay close, and look ‘em in the eye.


3. Repetitive sounds.

Particularly something called the bilabials; Pa-pa, Ma-ma, Ba-ba are the first and most common sounds infants can make. They are simple because the two lips are pressed together with a puff of air pushed through them. That is why most first utterances around the globe for mother, father and bottle use these sounds. They are easy to make and the infant can get some quick language control and feedback from their environment in this way. (Trust me, the first time your little one says Pa-Pa to you will be a peak experience.) To strengthen the connection, when you hear them making the sound, make it back. Eventually the two of you can start your own bilabial chorus.


4. Infants are fans of motion.

They love it and crave it, and need it. They love to be held, jostled, bounced and jiggled. There is good reason for this. Movement helps infants develop everything from their brains to their sense of balance. When you hold your baby, give them a feeling of security, but not too tight or too loose. Don’t be afraid to hold and sway and bounce and cuddle. Learn what he or she likes and cultivate that motion. You want to be the one with that magic touch when baby needs a motion magician.


5. Change that diaper!

Researchers early on found out that the fathers who helped diapering their baby had stronger, better, and more long-lasting marriages. So if you want to score points with mom and with your baby — learn the art of diapering and treat it as a shared duty with mom. If you don’t want the feces to hit the oscillator in your relationship, learn to deal with it at the source.


6. Make a play date with baby.

Maybe Tuesday is girls night out, or you don’t start work until noon on Thursday, but whatever the schedule can permit, have planned time to be the one and only caregiver for your baby. One-on-one bonding is important. When mom is in the room there is typically a preference by the infant for her to be the one in charge. Take time to figure out what your relationship is with your newborn — just the two of you. This is important. You need to be able to manage this baby thing solo, and there is no other way to get this experience.


7. Teamwork.

The above point having been said, you also need to realize you are part of a team. You and mom are a tag-team. This may be a different set of skills than when you are one-on-one. As an example, when mom was out and I was joyfully bottlefeeding my daughter with breast milk we had pumped for her, everything was wonderful. But the moment mom came home from her classes, my daughter wasn’t in the mood for Mr. second-best. She could hear and, through the magic of pheromones, smell mom and wanted to be with her. This was the transition time. Recognize that the three of you function like a mobile hanging from the ceiling and are in balance with one another. As the infant’s needs change, the balance of mom and dad will need to change along with it.


8. Keep your promises.

As your child grows and as you develop as a family, remember that dads have to be absolutely certain to do one thing: keep their promises. If you promise your spouse you are going to be home at 6:30 p.m., make that the priority in your life that day. As your child grows, these promises to him or her become the backbone of your relationship. Deliver on what you promise and the ease and security of the relationship will evolve. Renege on these consistently and an insecure bonding, something you definitely do not want, can happen. I encourage parents I work with to only make commitments and promises they can keep. I’d rather them keep one promise than make three and only keep two.

Read More

The Involved Father

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Friday, January 24, 2020

The Involved Father




Fathers are just as essential to healthy child development as mothers. Psychology Today explained, “Fatherhood turns out to be a complex and unique phenomenon with huge consequences for the emotional and intellectual growth of children.”“Shuttle Diplomacy,” Psychology Today, July/August 1993, p. 15. Erik Erikson, a pioneer in the world of child psychology, asserts that a father’s love and a mother’s love are qualitatively different. Fathers “love more dangerously” because their love is more “expectant, more instrumental” than a mother’s love.As cited in Kyle D. Pruett, The Nurturing Father, (New York: Warner Books, 1987), p. 49. A father brings unique contributions to the job of parenting a child that no one else can replicate. Following are some of the most compelling ways that a father’s involvement makes a positive difference in a child’s life. 

Fathers parent differently.

Fathering expert Dr. Kyle Pruett explains that fathers have a distinct style of communication and interaction with children. By eight weeks of age, infants can tell the difference between their mother’s and father’s interaction with them. This diversity, in itself, provides children with a broader, richer experience of contrasting relational interactions. Whether they realize it or not, children are learning, by sheer experience, that men and women are different and have different ways of dealing with life, other adults and children. This understanding is critical for their development.


Fathers play differently.

Fathers tickle more, they wrestle, and they throw their children in the air (while mother says . . . “Not so high!”). Fathers chase their children, sometimes as playful, scary “monsters.” Fathering expert John Snarey explains that children who roughhouse with their fathers learn that biting, kicking and other forms of physical violence are not acceptable.John Snarey, How Fathers Care for the Next Generation: A Four Decade Study (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993), p. 35-36. They learn self-control by being told when “enough is enough” and when to settle down. Girls and boys both learn a healthy balance between timidity and aggression.


Fathers build confidence.

Go to any playground and listen to the parents. Who is encouraging kids to swing or climb just a little higher, ride their bike just a little faster, throw just a little harder? Who is encouraging kids to be careful? Mothers protect and dads encourage kids to push the limits. Either of these parenting styles by themselves can be unhealthy. One can tend toward encouraging risk without consideration of consequences. The other tends to avoid risk, which can fail to build independence and confidence. Together, they help children remain safe while expanding their experiences and increasing their confidence.


Fathers communicate differently.

A major study showed that when speaking to children, mothers and fathers are different. Mothers will simplify their words and speak on the child’s level. Men are not as inclined to modify their language for the child. The mother’s way facilitates immediate communication; the father’s way challenges the child to expand her vocabulary and linguistic skills — an important building block of academic success.


Fathers discipline differently.

Educational psychologist Carol Gilligan tells us that fathers stress justice, fairness and duty (based on rules), while mothers stress sympathy, care and help (based on relationships). Fathers tend to observe and enforce rules systematically and sternly, teaching children the consequences of right and wrong. Mothers tend toward grace and sympathy, providing a sense of hopefulness. Again, either of these disciplinary approaches by themselves is not good, but together, they create a healthy, proper balance.


Fathers prepare children for the real world.

Involved dads help children see that attitudes and behaviors have consequences. For instance, fathers are more likely than mothers to tell their children that if they are not nice to others, kids will not want to play with them. Or, if they don’t do well in school, they will not get into a good college or secure a desirable job. Fathers help children prepare for the reality and harshness of the world.


READ MORE

Father’s Day: A Father’s Bond with His Newborn Is Just as Important as a Mother’s Bond

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Father’s Day: A Father’s Bond with His Newborn

Is Just as Important as a Mother’s Bond

Dads, you’re not alone if you’re feeling out of bounds with your newborn. I know life with a new baby can be overwhelming, particularly for new dads. This Father’s Day, I want to emphasize the importance of daddy-baby bonding with your newborn. Daddy-baby bonding is a topic that is not discussed enough but needs to be addressed. Did you know father-infant bonding is just as important as a mother-infant bonding during the immediate postpartum period? It is vitally important for a father to interact and bond with his newborn to help the infant’s development and to reduce the risk of paternal postpartum depression. That’s correct. Postpartum depression is not exclusive to new moms. Delayed bonding over the course of the first couple of months can increase the risk of paternal postpartum depression.



According to a new study published in Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing (JOGNN), from the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), when fathers delay bonding with their newborns, they risk altering the long-term course of paternal involvement as the infant progresses throughout childhood and adolescence. In addition, fathers “reported that they didn’t start to experience fatherhood until birth” while, mothers reported that they started to experience motherhood as soon they received news that they were pregnant. This difference influences the amount of time it takes for a mother and a father to feel a loving connection and bond with their newborn. Most fathers enter parenthood expecting an immediate emotional bond with their newborns, but many reports that forming that bond takes time.

Moms can help by encouraging dad’s involvement with their newborn. As a mom, I know that we have a ‘take charge” approach with our infants but this attitude can have negative effects on dads. Fathers have reported delayed onset of feeling bonded with their infants for as long as 6 weeks to 2 months after birth. In an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the authors reviewed 43 studies on depression in new fathers. They found that prenatal and postpartum depression was evident in about 10% of men in their studies and was relatively higher in the 3- to 6-month postpartum period. We can help fathers reduce the risk of paternal postpartum depression by getting them more involved with their newborns from the time of birth.

Successful father-infant bonding during the immediate postpartum period has been shown to have several benefits for the infant: it reduces cognitive delay, promotes weight gain in preterm infants, and improves breastfeeding rates. Dads can start to bond with their newborns by practicing these tips found in AWHONN’s magazine Healthy Mom&Baby:

       Jump right in. Don’t be afraid to begin immediately caring for and loving your baby. The more you hold your baby, the more comfortable and natural it will feel

       Take a night shift. Once mom is breastfeeding well, she may want to let you give the baby a nighttime meal. This way she can get more sleep and you will have the opportunity to bond with your newborn

       Read your newborn a book. Your newborn will enjoy the rhythm and pace of your voice while you read a book. In the early months, it’s not about what you’re reading; it’s about reading itself

       Initiate the bath. Bathing your newborn will enhance bonding and provide a multi-sensory learning experience.

       Create a bedtime ritual. Infants will learn to depend on the consistency and predictability of a nighttime routine.


Fathers are vitally important to their kids’ health and to public health research

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Fathers are vitally important to their kids’ health and to public health research




Helping our children to develop healthy eating, exercise and screen-time behaviours is an important public health goal globally.

This is because behaviours established early in life often track into adulthood. And these behaviours have a big impact on a person’s risk for chronic diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

However, many Canadian children are not establishing healthy habits early in their lives. National data suggests that 70 per cent of four- to eight-year-old children do not consume the recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables and close to 80 per cent of three- to four-year-olds exceed screen time recommendations

Because children’s health behaviours emerge early in life and in the context of their family, engaging parents in health promotion is critical.

Fathers are largely missing from this picture. A 2017 review of family-based health interventions found that fathers made up only six per cent of all parent participants.


It matters how Dad eats and moves

Emerging research suggests that fathers are critical stakeholders in the development of children’s health behaviours.

International research studies have found associations between fathers’ eating and activity behaviours and those of their children, suggesting the important influence of fathers’ role modelling.

Research with families in the Guelph Family Health Study found that modelling by fathers, but not mothers, of healthy food intake was associated with a healthier diet among their children, which points to the unique role of fathers.

Given the important role fathers play in the development of their children’s health behaviours, it is important to include them in health-promotion interventions.

Research supports involving both parents to maximize impact. One review of parenting studies found that programs including both mothers and fathers resulted in better child outcomes than those programs with only mothers.


Healthy eating is not ‘women’s work’

Despite men’s increasing involvement, women remain responsible for the majority of house and family work in Canada. On average, Canadian women spend one hour more each day than men on unpaid household work, including caring for children and meal preparation.

By including only mothers in our health-promotion efforts, we may inadvertently reinforce these inequitable gender norms and practices — for example, the notion that providing healthful foods is “women’s work.”

It could also result in less effective family-based interventions, as families may be less likely to implement and sustain behaviour changes that reinforce these inequalities


Fathers matter to health research too

It is important to engage fathers in family-based research, so that public heath interventions are informed by those with lived experience of fathering.

We recently hosted a conference that brought together international experts, students, health professionals and community stakeholders — to identify effective strategies to engage fathers in family-based health and obesity-related research.

The recommendations include targeting recruitment specifically at fathers. Research has shown that fathers are interested in participating in child health research, but report that they often don’t participate because they do not feel like they have been asked. Researchers need to use the words “father” or “dad” rather than non-specific words such as “families” or “parents” when recruiting for child health studies.

It is also important for researchers and public health professionals to honor the diversity among fathers and families, incorporating differing cultural traditions and recognizing that fatherhood varies along with ages, ethnicity, location, sexual orientation, country of origin and socioeconomic, marital and custodial status.


READ MORE

Fathers Matter for the Whole Family

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Fathers Matter for the Whole Family

This fatherhood video shows a diverse group of dads answering questions such as:

  • Where do men learn to be fathers?
  • How does society view fathers?
  • What more can society do to support fathers?

The Problem of Incarceration for America's Children

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Monday, April 03, 2017

The Problem of Incarceration for America's Children

Posted by Melissa Steward from National Fatherhood Initiative


There are 2.7 million children with a parent in prison or jail. Ninety-two percent (92%) of parents in prison are fathers.

The sort-of good news is that ninety-five (95%) of all inmates will eventually be released. The not-so-good news is that most—2 out of 3 inmates—will re-offend and be back in prison.
It's clear we have a problem. But we also have a solution.
When we talk about father absence in general, we focus on the U.S. Census Bureau's statistic that 24 million children—one out of three—live without their dad in the home. Consequently, there is a “father factor” in nearly all of the societal issues facing America today.

We must take action to raise up more involved, responsible, and committed fathers. And that includes fathers who are currently (or formerly) incarcerated.
To help you better understand and share this message, we created a simple yet powerful infographic outlining the problem and solution for America's children due to fathers behind bars.

The Facts [The Problem for America's Children]

There are 2.7 million children with a parent in prison or jail.  
The number of children with a father in prison has grown by 79% since 1991.
Having a parent who is incarcerated is now recognized as an “adverse childhood experience” (ACE). This is different from other ACEs because of the trauma, stigma, and shame it inflicts on children.
More than 650,000 ex-offenders are released from prison every year. Fathers are returning to their children and families without the skills they need to be involved, responsible, and committed fathers.
Incarceration often spans generations. Fathers in prison are, overwhelmingly, fatherless themselves. Youths in father-absent households have significantly higher odds of incarceration.
Two-thirds of released prisoners, or 429,000, are likely to be rearrested within three years. Recidivism is a huge, national problem, and fathers are leaving their children behind.


The Solution for America's Children


Give incarcerated fathers a vision that they have a unique and irreplaceable role in the life of their child. Increased confidence, along with changes in attitude and skills are a powerful motivator for successful reentry and to bring home fathers to their children.

Use an evidence-based program to rehabilitate fathers and train men on what it means to be a man and a father. NFI's InsideOut Dad® program is the only evidence-based parenting program designed specifically for incarcerated fathers. An evaluation conducted by Rutger's University found that fathers who went through InsideOut Dad® while in prison showed statistically significant increases in fathering knowledge and confidence/self-esteem compared to a control group.

Connect fathers with their children heart-to-heart. Through activities and group sessions in a program like InsideOut Dad®, fathers take action to reach out to their children to begin, repair, or rejuvenate relationships with their children and families.

Help to reduce recidivism, especially for fathers. Fathers who are involved with, and connected to their children and families prior to release are less likely to return to jail or prison. In fact, some states have conducted evaluations that connect the use of NFI's InsideOut Dad® program along with other interventions to reduce recidivism.


Read More

Men's attitude to fatherhood influences child behavior, says study

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Men's attitude to fatherhood influences child behavior, says study

Nicola Davis, TheGuardian.com

Preteen behavioral problems less likely in children with confident fathers who embrace parenthood, suggest researchers



Children of confident fathers who embrace parenthood are less likely to show behavioral problems before their teenage years, researchers have found.
A new study suggests that a man’s attitudes towards fatherhood soon after his child’s birth, as well as his feelings of security as a father and partner, are more important than his involvement in childcare and household chores when it came to influencing a child’s later behavior.
“It is the emotional connection and the emotional response to actually being a parent that matters enormously in relation to later outcomes for children,” said Maggie Redshaw, a developmental and health psychologist at the University of Oxford and co-author of the research.

Writing in the journal BMJ Open, Redshaw and colleagues at the University of Oxford describe how they explored the influence of fathers on the behavior of their offspring by analyzing data from the Avon longitudinal study of parents and children – a large-scale UK study that followed the health and development of thousands of children born in the early 1990s.

The study asked parents to complete questionnaires at various points in their child’s life. Among the surveys, mothers were asked to assess their child’s behavior at nine and 11 years, with questions probing a variety of issues including the child’s attitudes towards other children, their tendency to restlessness, whether they were willing to share toys and their confidence in unfamiliar situations.

Fathers, meanwhile, were asked to complete questionnaires on their approach and feelings towards parenting both eight weeks and eight months after their child’s birth, with questions including how often they helped with housework, how confident they felt as a parent, and whether they enjoyed spending time with the baby. Answers were given on scales, and then totted up.
Looking at the results for more than 6,300 children who lived with both parents at least until eight months old, the researchers found that children whose fathers were more confident about being a parent, and who were more emotionally positive about the role, were less likely to show behavioral difficulties by the ages of nine and 11. By contrast, the degree to which a father engaged with chores around the home or activities with their child apparently had no such influence.

Examining the fathers’ scores for emotional responses to their babies, taking into account factors such as the child’s gender, family size and socioeconomic status, it was found that for every point the scores increased above the average, the relative chance of the child having signs of behavioral problems decreased by 14%, and 11% at ages nine and 11 respectively. Similarly, for every point increase beyond the average in the fathers’ sense of security in parenting, the relative likelihoods of the child having behavioral problems were 13%, and 11% lower by ages nine and 11, respectively.
While the authors admit that study relied on self-reporting, and that attitudes to parenting might have changed over the years, Redshaw says the work highlights the impact of how parents feel about their roles on child development. “It is part of the approach that early experience matters and it matters from the point of view of both parents,” she said.

READ MORE

Dads Are Magic Too. [Video]

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Thursday, March 16, 2017

Dads Are Magic Too.

Posted by Melissa Steward

Trusted legacy brand, Baby Magic, has partnered with National Fatherhood Initiative® (NFI) to launch a campaign “Dads Are Magic Too”, which puts a spotlight on influential dads across the world that are changing the way society looks at fatherhood.

For years, dads have often been known as the “passive parent,” but research shows that modern dads are more involved in their families’ lives more than ever before. In honor of these amazing role models, Baby Magic, the makers of Baby Magic products alongside parent company Naterra, have made a commitment to highlight real dads of all kinds – single dads, stay-at-home dads, dads working alongside moms – to help dads everywhere realize that they have a lot more to offer.



The partnership will support NFI’s commitment to teaching more men the importance of fatherhood, and uplifting those who may not have had a strong father figure themselves. To that end, Baby Magic will make a monetary donation to help sustain NFI’s key initiatives, and will also promote NFI’s work on many platforms.

“Baby Magic was inspired to launch the ‘Dads Are Magic Too’ campaign after observing the way that fathers all over the world are stepping up more than ever to become irreplaceable forces in their children’s’ lives and are working together with mothers to raise little ones,” said Baby Magic Director of Marketing, Laurie Enright. “In conjunction with our new campaign, we’re thrilled to be able to partner with National Fatherhood Initiative to raise awareness around the importance of fathers engaging in their children’s lives, while encouraging people across the globe to support this great cause and show love to wonderful fathers everywhere.”


Read More

4 Reasons to Promote Marriage to Dads

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

4 Reasons to Promote Marriage to Dads

Posted by Christopher A. Brown from National Fatherhood Initiative

Dads' self-interest.
Did you think I'd say because it's in the best interest of children? And besides, that's just one reason, isn't it?
There's no doubt that growing up with married parents provides benefits to children. That's a vital reason indeed to promote marriage to dads.
But let's face it. Humans are motivated by self-interest. So it's important to appeal to dads' self-interest when it comes to marriage.
Here's the good news in that regard. Marriage is great for men! A recent brief from the Institute for Family Studies highlights marriage's benefits for men and, consequently, dads. Specifically, compared to single men, married men realize the following four benefits. They:

  • Make more money--about $16,000 a year, to be exact. Marriage increases men's earning power.
  • Have better sex--quality sex, that is. While married men might not have sex as often as, say, cohabiting men, the quality of the sex is superior.
  • Have better physical and emotional health. Compared to singles, married couples do a better job dealing with sickness, monitoring health, and adopting healthier lifestyles.

  • So if marriage is so great for men, why have we seen a decline in the rate of marriage? Massive culture change that's not in men's best interest (or their children's).


    I've seen this change play out in the reactions of some facilitators to the marriage content in National Fatherhood Initiative® (NFI) programs. (NFI's 24/7 Dad® and InsideOut Dad® programs cover the benefits of marriage for men and their children.) One facilitator of a NFI program I interviewed, for example, simply doesn't include that content in the delivery of the program. When I asked why, the facilitator pointed to four reasons:

  • Marriage isn't important to dads.
  • Dads are scared of it.
  • Marriage isn't common in their communities.
  • Fear that dads will stop participating in the program if the facilitator addressed marriage.
  • Read FULL STORY

    The Father Absence Crisis [Infographic]

    Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Thursday, February 16, 2017

    The Father Absence Crisis [Infographic]

    Research shows when a child grows up in a father-absent home, he or she is...

    Posted by Melissa Steward from the National Fatherhood Initiative


    The good news is, we can all help. How? By focusing on creating generations of responsible, involved fathers. Whether you are with an organization that serves fathers and families, or you are a father yourself, it's important to carry the message of the value of fathers to our nation.
    To help you share this message, we created a simple yet powerful infographic outlining the father absence crisis in America, and how it's affecting our children.
    Won't you take this to heart and help promote responsible fatherhood? The children of our future will thank you.

     (You can find even more data and statistics here in Father Facts 7.)

    Research shows when a child grows up in a father-absent home, he or she is...

    • 1) Four Times More Likely to Live in Poverty: Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor. (U.S. Census Bureau)
    • 2) More Likely to Suffer Emotional and Behavioral Problems: Children of single mothers show higher levels of aggressive behavior than children born to married mothers. (Journal of Marriage and Family)
    • 3) Two Times Greater Risk of Infant Mortality: Infant mortality rates are nearly two times higher for infants of unmarried mothers than for married mothers. (National Center for Health Statistics)
    • 4) More Likely to go to Prison: One in five prison inmates had a father in prison. (Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs)
    • 5) More Likely to Commit Crime: Study of juvenile offenders indicated that family structure significantly predicts delinquency. (Journal of Youth and Adolescence)
    • 6) Seven Times More Likely to Become Pregnant as a Teen: Teens without fathers are twice as likely to be involved in early sexual activity and seven times more likely to get pregnant as an adolescent. (Child Development Journal)
    • 7) More Likely to Face Abuse and Neglect: Compared to children living with married biological parents, those whose single parent had a live-in partner had more than 8 times the rate of maltreatment overall, over 10 times the rate of abuse and more than 6 times the rate of neglect. (Child's Bureau)

    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