Supporting Fathers in Parenthood
Fatherhood Support Groups
Fatherhood support groups are a great way for men to get the help they need. The groups offer support for all types of dads, including working dads and stay at home dads. They also offer resources on fathering strategies and parenting skills.
Throwing yourself into the foxhole of common life difficulties with other single-dads forges long-lasting friendships. These friends will be the ones to lean on during tough times.
NRFC Virtual Collaborative Community
The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC), an Office of Family Assistance-funded resource, serves as a national hub for fathers, practitioners, programs/Federal grantees, states and the public at large. It offers resources that encourage and equip people to work with fathers, and provides a forum for sharing and learning about best practices. NRFC also hosts webinars that discuss various topics related to working with fathers. Its virtual collaborative community allows users to join groups and engage in peer dialogue on a variety of topics. These include re-engaging absent fathers, supporting male caregivers and mentoring programs. It also covers incarcerated and military fathers. NRFC is administered by the National Fatherhood Initiative, a nonprofit organization that equips organizations that serve families with tools to engage dads.
The NFI has a long history of promoting responsible fatherhood through advocacy and the creation of partnerships with like-minded organizations.
National Fatherhood Initiative
Many of the early fatherhood initiatives were small-scale, local efforts. Their development and implementation did not require or result in major system changes by public agencies (e.g., child support and employment agencies) and community organizations.
Facilitators in fatherhood programs need to be able to establish group rules that promote respect and dignity for all participants. This is especially important when working with young fathers.
Facilitators should also encourage contact among group members outside of the sessions through phone, text, or email. This can be a way for fathers to share successes they have had applying what they learned in the program or to offer support to other fathers in the group. The National Fatherhood Initiative has a toolkit for working with young fathers that includes tips and strategies to engage this unique population.
Flourishing Fathers is an all men’s support group that creates community and helps participants explore their identities. This is important for men who are parenting children with mental health challenges. These men face many barriers in their pursuit of flourishing. They include contextual and organizational barriers and internalized barriers.
Fraternity of Fathers is a program that allows dads to discuss their experiences and learn new ways of thinking about kids’ behavior and development. The program is provided by Starfish Family Services in partnership with Brilliant Detroit and is currently running in Leelanau County. This is an opportunity for local communities to learn about the benefits of this innovative program.
Fatherhood Support Network
Men need a strong support network to help them navigate the challenges of fatherhood. This can include leaning on family and friends, seeking professional support, prioritizing self-care, and embracing co-parenting. Many of these resources are available through local and state agencies.
Programs can also help men develop their own parenting strategies through educational and peer support groups. Some programs can also offer parenting classes, co-parenting classes and mediation services for separating or divorced parents. Some of these courses can be court ordered by a judge as part of a custody case or child welfare case.
These programs offer fatherhood mentorships to encourage responsible and involved fatherhood in Florida. These services can include fatherhood education and support programs, Baby & Me parenting classes, domestic violence intervention for men, training to work certification and employment placement.
People used to think that most men are not interested in active parenting, but many fathers want to teach their children survival and life skills, build their self-esteem, encourage them to become the best they can be, and help them develop responsibility. They also want to be able to protect their children from harm.
In addition to providing peer support, fatherhood resources offer tips and activities for responsible fatherhood. They include field-shaping research and information sites, practical tools, and programmatic guidance for responsible fatherhood initiatives in systems of care.
Involved fathers have been linked to greater success in children’s mental, emotional, and social well-being. In fact, children from father-absent homes are twice as likely to be poor and live in single parent households. Hence, every father deserves a supportive community.