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Sussex County Family Bowling Night

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Sussex County Family Bowling Night



Saturday December 7, 2019
from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Millsboro Bowling Lanes
213 Mitchell St.
Millsboro, DE 19966

RSVP TODAY

Fathering in America: What’s a Dad Supposed to Do?

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Monday, November 04, 2019

Fathering in America: 

What’s a Dad Supposed to Do?

By Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. on Psychcentral
Last updated: 8 Oct 2018



Americans seem more confused than ever about the role of fathers in children’s lives. On the one hand, more and more fathers are absent for all or significant periods of time. According to the 2006 Census, 23 percent of children under 18 do not live with their biological father and the number is climbing. On the other hand, search “fatherhood” on the web and you’ll find dozens of websites dedicated to teaching, encouraging, and supporting men in becoming more nurturing and involved fathers.

Meanwhile, many TV sitcoms and animated shows continue to portray dads as dolts or, at best, well-meaning but misguided large children whose wives have to mother them as well as their offspring. If an alien in another universe happens to tune in to The Simpsons, Everyone Loves Raymond, Family Guy, etc., he (it?) will come away with a rather skewed idea of how men function in American families.


I’ll leave it to the sociologists to explain the many and complicated variables of race, class, gender issues, social policy, employment issues, and governmental interventions that are at the root of the diverging trends and the pejorative TV scripts. It’s enough to note that there is a major rethinking of fathers’ roles and responsibilities going on within the context of lots of rethinking in America.


We may be reconsidering how family should be defined. We may be confused about gender roles. We may be struggling with knowing how to parent well in a complicated time. But in the midst of all this confusion, there is a growing consensus that what kids need, at least, is clear. Kids need their fathers as well as their mothers.

Regardless of whether the father lives with his children, active participation in raising those children is good for everyone. The kids become healthier adults. The fathers come to a fuller and more complex maturity. The mothers have a reliable co-parent to share the responsibilities and challenges as well as the accomplishments of parenting. How does this idea of “involved father” translate to daily life? Current research points to the following practical guidelines for responsible fatherhood.


What’s a Father To Do?

Embrace your responsibility. Once you are a father, you are a father for life. The knowledge of fatherhood changes a man. It can be a source of pride and maturity or a source of shame and regret. Even if you have good reasons for not being actively involved, acknowledging your paternity is a minimal gift you can provide to your child. With it come many legal, psychological, and financial benefits. If you want to be in your child’s life, it also protects your rights to have time with your child should you and the child’s mother have a falling out.


Be there. In study after study, kids consistently say they would like to have more time with their dads. Regardless of whether a dad shares a home with the children and their mother, the kids need dad time. Working together on a chore or simply hanging out can be as meaningful as attending events or having adventures. Kids want to know their fathers. Just as important, they want their fathers to know them.


Be there throughout their childhoods. There is no time in a child’s life that doesn’t count. Research has shown that even infants know and respond to their fathers differently than they do to their mothers. The bond you make with a baby sets the foundation for a lifetime. As the kids get older, they’ll need you in different ways but they will always need you. Insistent toddler, curious preschooler, growing child, prickly adolescent: Each age and stage will have its challenges and rewards. Kids whose parents let them know that they are worth their parents’ time and attention are kids who grow up healthy and strong. Boys and girls who grow up with attention and approval from their dads as well as their moms tend to be more successful in life.


Be in a respectful and appreciative relationship with their mother. Being a good dad is certainly possible both inside and outside of marriage. Regardless of whether you and their mom can work out how to be a committed couple, you can support each other as parents. Kids grow best when their parents treat each other with respect and appreciation. The kids then don’t feel torn between the two people they love.


Do your financial share. Kids need to be fed, clothed, housed, and cared for. Children whose parents provide for them live better lives, feel valued, and have better relationships with both their parents. They need the role model of a responsible male acting responsibly. Just as they need you to be present in their lives, regardless of whether you live with their mom, they also need you to live up to financial obligations to the very best of your ability.


Balance discipline with fun. Some dads make the mistake of being only the disciplinarian. The kids grow up afraid of their dads and unable to see the man behind the rules. An equal and opposite mistake is being so focused on fun that you become one of the kids, leaving their mother always to be the heavy. Kids need to have fathers who know both how to set reasonable, firm limits and how to relax and have a good time. Give yourself and the kids the stability that comes with clear limits and the good memories that come with play.


Be a role model of adult manhood. Both boys and girls need you as a role model for what it means to be adult and male. Make no mistake: The kids are observing you every minute. They are taking in how you treat others, how you manage stress and frustrations, how you fulfill your obligations, and whether you carry yourself with dignity. Consciously or not, the boys will become like you. The girls will look for a man very much like you. Give them an idea of manhood (and relationships) you can be proud of.


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3 Steps to Help Dads Deal with “Dad-Shaming”

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Dad-shaming?

Yeah, it’s a thing.

As dads have assumed a greater role in the parenting of their children, they have assumed a greater risk of being shamed for their parenting.

recent national poll found that more than half of dads of children age 13 and younger had been criticized for their parenting style or choices. Of those dads:

  • 67% had been criticized about how they discipline their child
  • 43% had been criticized about what they feed their child
  • 32% had been criticized for being too rough with their child
  • 32% had been criticized for not paying attention to their child

Dads had also been criticized around decisions about their child’s sleep (24%), appearance (23%), and safety (19%).

Basically, dads receive a ton of criticism about virtually every aspect of parenting. It’s no wonder that some dads can be a little gun shy when it comes to taking care of their children. Let’s face it. The gold standard in our culture for parenting is the way in which moms parent—their parenting style. That standard is the underlying factor that leads to the criticism of dads. Our cultural norms around effective parenting haven’t kept up with the increased role of dads in their children’s caregiving or the research that shows dads and moms parent differently—in complimentary ways that benefit children’s well-being.

Fortunately, that same poll showed that dads are extremely confident in their parenting—9 in 10 (92%) said they do a good job. That’s important because confidence is vital to success in any endeavor.

On the other hand, research shows that people consistently overestimate their awareness, knowledge, and skill. They’re overconfident. Known as overconfidence bias, people are more subject to it the more confident they are. Parenting is no exception.

So, as a professional who serves dads, what should you do with this knowledge?

  • First, assume that an involved dad has been criticized for his parenting even when he doesn’t mention it. Let him know he’s not alone and should not feel shame simply because he parents differently than mom.
  • Second, assume that an uninvolved dad will eventually be criticized for his parenting as he becomes more involved in his child’s life. Prepare him for the criticism.
  • Third, realize that criticism of a dad’s parenting might have merit.
  • Fourth, share with all dads that the awareness, knowledge, and skills they possess and are learning will help them parent effectively. Tell them that as they bring their innate parenting ability to the surface—a dad’s parenting style—that it will benefit their child above and beyond the way mom parents.

With that foundation, help dads discern between baseless and valid criticism. Share these three steps to help dads deal with current and future dad-shaming:

  1. Don’t take it personally. (That’s easier said than done, especially when it comes to something as raw as being criticized for how you parent.) This is the first and most vital step. If you take criticism personally, you won’t move beyond this step.
  2. Keep an open mind, actively listen, and challenge yourself. The ability to keep an open mind, actively listen, and challenge yourself is a cornerstone of any effort to improve, including as a parent. You might overestimate your parenting awareness, knowledge, and skills. Seek to continually improve as a parent. Someone might have a valid criticism of your parenting.
  3. Step back and reflect. Take as much time as you need to reflect, as objectively as possible, on the criticism. It might be clear right away whether the criticism is baseless or valid. (Hint: It’s baseless if the criticism is of a dad’s innate parenting style.) If it’s not clear, seek the counsel of someone whose parenting advice you value and who has shown the ability to be objective and direct with you. It might be the mother of your child, one of your child’s grandparents, or a friend who is a good dad or mom. (It might even be you, the professional!)

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Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway

Tuesday Nov. 26, 2019 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM



Rose Hill Community Center
19 Lambson Lane New Castle, DE 19720

The DFFC will be donating Thanksgiving Turkey’s to 15 Families. All Families must register.


REGISTER TODAY

ORE INFO: Waneka Armstrong (302)498-0454 EXT: 401, warmstrong@firststatecaa.org

Creating A Faith-Based Trauma Sensitive Environment

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Thursday, October 10, 2019

Creating A Faith-Based Trauma Sensitive Environment

Presenter: Dr. Barry Ball, United Methodist Church West Virginia

This workshop provides community and faith-based leaders as well as congregants with an understanding of the impact of trauma on their congregations, the impact of doctrine on their trauma exposed congregations, and strategies to create a trauma-sensitive faith community.



2 Days & 3 Locations

November 20, 2019 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Wyoming United Methodist Church 216 Wyoming Mill Rd. Dover, DE 19904
November 21, 2019 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Goodwill Center
300 E. Lea Blvd. Wilmington, DE 19802
November 21, 2019 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Victory Christian Fellowship
100 Wilton Blvd. New Castle, DE 19702

Domestic Violence Awareness Workshop

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Thursday, October 10, 2019

Domestic Violence Awareness Month
THE WAR WITHIN



Thursday, October 17, 2019
6:00pm - 8:00pm

At Rose Hill Community Center
19 Lambson Lane
New Castle, DE 19720

Before the Baby > Involving Dads in Maternal Child Health

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Before the Baby > Involving Dads
in Maternal Child Health

Posted by Ave Mulhern from National Fatherhood Initiative


At a recent conference on Maternal Health and Infant Mortality, a new concept was presented—a good concept I might add—as it asked health care providers to ask women of child bearing age about their plans to become pregnant in the future. For example, at an annual well woman visit, the provider would ask if in the upcoming year the woman is planning a pregnancy. If the answer was no and the woman did not plan a pregnancy in the near future, the health care provider might discuss various birth control options and also go over some steps to prepare for a healthy pregnancy if in her future plans.

If the answer was yes, the provider would proactively discuss a series of 11 topics and make suggestions that would help the woman have a healthier pregnancy and ultimately deliver a healthy child. That, of course would be the goal. It is a good and proactive step in increasing the health of both the mother and the child. But there was something in particular that captured my attention about this list.

Here are the 11 topics the provider would go over with the woman and in this order:

  1. Pregnancy Intention
  2. Maintaining a Healthy Weight
  3. Substance Use
  4. A Daily Vitamin (with Folic Acid)
  5. Medications You’re Taking
  6. Chronic Conditions
  7. Mental Health
  8. Healthy Relationships
  9. Vaccinations
  10. Environmental Hazards
  11. Health Screenings

What captured my attention was that the healthy relationship question was 8th in the order of the 11 questions. Based on what we know about the importance of father involvement, the first question to ask after determining pregnancy intention should be the healthy relationship question. What is the relationship with the father or potential father? Is the woman in a committed, healthy, preferably a married relationship with father or father-to-be? Statistically, children do better overall in that kind of setting so why would we rank that question as less important than maintaining a healthy weight?

With all the data we have on hand around the importance of father involvement to children, it’s critical to educate women on the value and importance that the relationship with the father can bring to her and the child, with an emphasis on a healthy relationship! 

recent article from the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ), Fathers: Powerful Allies for Maternal and Child Health shares good information and research on the impact, the positive impact fathers have on maternal and child health. It states, “Maternal and child health programs and professionals have become increasingly more cognizant of how fathers, specifically, affect their children’s health and development,”… “Moving this conversation forward, and highlighting strategies that support father engagement and involvement, is a critical opportunity to improve children’s health outcomes in the decades to come.”

The article discusses some of the significant barriers that fathers still face and provides links to some creative partnerships to help promote father engagement. As we learned from the research, fathers may not be aware of the impact they have on their child, and for those that do know their importance, they still may face societal and institutional barriers, or even barriers from the mom.

The article continues that we need to empower fathers as advocates for their children’s health: “I think many fathers know they’re important and their presence matters,” says Berns. NICHQ President and CEO, “But we should do more to impress upon them just how big of a difference they make—not that they are just a supportive addition but that their actions and attitudes really will affect the lifelong health of their children. Intentionally talking to fathers about their impact and what they can do at every stage of their children’s lives will empower them as champions for children’s health and well-being.”


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Kent County's Million Fathers March Social

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Saturday, September 21, 2019

Kent County's Million Fathers March Social


Friday, September 27, 2019 from 6 - 8pm
Central Middle School 211 Delaware Ave. Dover, DE

Relaxed Environment All are welcome, Open Gym free throw shooting contest, 3 point shooting contest Free Food Prizes, Educational workshops

RSVP: http://www.dffcdads.org/BookingRetrieve.aspx?ID=176595

For more INFO contact
LAMONT PIERCE (302) 674-1355 EXT: 218 email: lpierce@firststatecaa.orG www.dffcdads.org | call (855) 733-3232

How to Raise a Strong Kid (But Not a Selfish Bully)

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Thursday, September 05, 2019

How to Raise a Strong Kid (But Not a Selfish Bully)


No one wants to raise a pushover. Most people don't want to raise bullies, either.

By Lizzy Francis Updated May 03 2019, 1:40 PM

Parents, understandably, don’t want to raise pushovers or kids who avoid confrontation. Kids who don’t know how to stand up for themselves grow up into kids who constantly apologize or don’t know who they are. So how can a parent help their kid be self-assured, strong physically and mentally, and have a strong sense of self? Well, it’s not as easy as teaching the ABC’s. But it can and must be done, says child psychologist Gene Beresin, who runs the Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Kids need to tolerate emotional swings. From bad grades to successes, strength requires emotional control and balance of emotion,” he says. But parents can’t go too hard on the strength lesson. It’s important to teach kids strength without letting them err into problematic forms of aggression and selfishness.. It’s good to raise a kid that’s slow to back down. It’s bad to raise a kid who feels compelled to square off with peers or constantly compete. In a profoundly competitive culture, teaching a kid to weather confrontation but not seek it out is a difficult task. Here’s what parents who raise strong, self-assured kids do: 


They Talk To Their Kids About Death

For the most part, the first brush kids will have with mortality will likely be when their family pet dies. While young kids might not understand the permanence of death or what it means to die, the experience of talking through it with kids is a fundamental part of teaching their kids inner strength and resiliency. Beresin says that parents who want to raise strong kids can and should be visibly sad over the situation, but not be debilitated by their grief. This teaching moment, in which parents should go through the grieving process with their kids, mourn their pet, and model emotional strength without withdrawing completely or being cold about it. 


They Endure Physical Tasks Without Complaint

Being an adult often means doing a lot of shit that sucks. Shoveling snow, raking leaves, deep cleaning the fridge: these are all things that come with adulthood and being a parent. Parents who teach their kids strength tend to do these tasks both without constant complaint and without breaking their backs over it, says Beresin. That means that when they do the work, they take breaks, they go to bed the night before, they vocally prepare for the tasks, and, when they’re done, they say they are proud of themselves.


They Take Work Problems In Stride

Parents who want to raise kids who know that what happens to them at work is often out of their control, and therefore have a strong sense of self, try to keep their cool in the face of seriously rocky work situations. Work stress gets to us all, eventually, and it’s important that parents feel they can complain to their spouse about their job at home. But what parents need to remember is that their kids are often listening. So parents who stay level-headed, talk through what’s bothering them, and come up with a meaningful plan of action while also talking about their strengths as an employee and a person. Teaching kids to be honest and thoughtful about their situations in work and life will help them be self-reflective, and know who they are. Parents who do this raise strong kids. 


They Promote Exercise

Strong kids are strong kids mentally and physically, and parents that have kids who promote their physical health engage in activities that promotes physical health themselves. Even after a long day of activities, parents should make sure they still hit that 5-mile-run they talked about or go to the gym early, and they should also talk to their kids about it. While eight-year-olds don’t need to lift weights, getting out on the baseball diamond with them, playing catch, or racing them, is a great way to spend time with kids in a way that prioritizes their physical health.

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Kids Who Do Chores Are More Likely to Be Successful. Here’s Why

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Kids Who Do Chores Are More Likely to Be Successful. Here’s Why

Children who help out at home grow up to be happy, healthy, successful adults — when parents dole out the work in the right fashion.

By Lauren Vinopal Jul 25 2019, 2:25 PM



Chores are good for kids. Like, this-is-going-to-get-my-kid-into-Harvard good. Research shows that kids who do chores grow into happier, healthier, far more successful adults, and the sooner parents start them on them, the better off they are. But why? It seems to all boil down to acclimation. To succeed we all need to work and working hard takes some getting used to. Social scientists suspect that when children are expected to put their toys away, make their beds, or just wipe down the counter around at a young age, they get comfortable with these tasks long before they realize it’s work. When they grow up and inevitably have to accomplish these things, they’re less likely to rail against them. Instead, they get things done and are better off for it.

“The skills that kids learn early will last most of their lives. Chores teach kids skills that they will need to survive on their own and to get along with others,” psychologist Dr. Shane Owens tells Fatherly. “From an evolutionary perspective, chores teach kids how to take care of themselves and to be a cooperative, productive member of the tribe.” And yet in the age of Roombas and screen-based play there’s evidence that kids these days are doing fewer chores than ever before. Parents need to take matters into their own hands, make chores a priority, and follow this expert-back advice on how to get make the most out of chores.

Take the Time to Teach the Skills Associated With the Chores

Let’s face it, young kids don’t have a deep practical skill set (coloring within the lines doesn’t count). Completing small tasks around the house is a good place to start. Chores are one of the first opportunities for children to take on basic, low-stakes responsibilities so they can learn to do them right. Unfortunately, this means that giving children chores does not necessarily translate into less work for parents. It likely means more work, not just because kids may resist responsibilities at first, but they might be bad at them. Sure, if moms and dads want something done right, they can do it themselves and that might seem more efficient and easier in the moment. But if kids are going to ever make their bed instead of jumping on it, it’s worth the time and effort at the front-end. “Kids cannot learn to do that unless they are provided the opportunity and expected to do chores like cleaning up after themselves and helping with cooking, doing the dishes, and laundry,” Owens says.

Focus on Time Management (And, Yes, Use Chore Charts)

“Kids who do chores learn to organize their time and to delay gratification. Both of those are vital skills for later success,” Owens explains. More specifically breaking bigger projects like cleaning the house into smaller, more manageable tasks like putting toys away, shows children how much time and effort certain tasks take. They also learn that sometimes they have to wait before they’re free to go play, which is a reward after getting the job done. In doing this, kids figure out something most people struggle with in adulthood — it takes a little time to improve their surroundings and make life a little easier, but the investment pays off. Want to really drive home the time and effort with a visual representation for your kid? That’s what chore charts are all about.

Frame Chores as a Household Partnership

Twenty years of research from the University of Minnesota reveals that the single best predictor for future relationship success with family, friends, and romantic partners is doing chores at the age of 3 and 4 years old. However, for children who were not given chores until they were teenagers, the exact opposite was true — they tend to struggle in close relationships across the board. Scientists suspect that when it comes to chores, parents might want to start sooner than later. Owens says parents can start as young as 2 years old, before kids see helping mom and dad as an actual chore, so they are more eager to imitate what their parents do, even if it is as simple as sweeping.“A kid who learns early to do chores will be a more generous and cooperative partner,” he says. “It’s easier to live and work with a person who has learned to take care of his own stuff and to be responsible for some of the boring work that adult and family life requires.”

Chores Are Work, So Motivate Them Like a Good Boss

Along with childhood chores being the strongest predictor for relationship success, the same University of Minnesota study found that they are significantly correlated with academic and career success as well. Data also indicated that early chores were linked with higher IQs. This echoes the results of the longest-running longitudinal study in history, spanning 75 years, where Harvard scientists found that success largely depends on individual work ethic, which is correlated with participation in housework as children. To Owens, this connection isn’t surprising. “Chores teach kids important self-regulation skills — organization, discipline, and work ethic — and vital relationship skills like cooperation, teamwork, and respect for others. So kids who are expected to do them are more successful.”

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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.


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