Presentation on theme: "Promoting Father Involvement"— Presentation transcript:
1 Promoting Father Involvement Healthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant6/26/2007Promoting Father Involvement
2 Healthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant The Training for the Healthy Marriage and Family Formation curriculum was created through the cooperative efforts of:Healthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant6/26/2007Jennifer L. Baker, Psy.D. Anne B. Summers, Ph.D. Debbi Steinmann, M.A. Training Instructor / Mentors Melissa A. Gibson, M.S. Kim Rozell, M.A Graduate Assistants Brent Anderson, M.S. Matthew Biller, M.A. Cate Brandon, M.A Dawn Clinard, M.A. Jessie Clinton, M.S. Tabitha Carlson, M.S. Anup Jonathan Tony Larson, B.A. Nicole Mannis, M.A. Robert Mindrup, M.S.S.W. Colleen Quinn, Ph.D. Amber Schafer, M.A. Amanda Schroeder, B.S.
3 Why Be Concerned With Father Involvement? Healthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant6/26/20071996: United States became the world’s leader in fatherless families.Mother-only households grew from 7.7% in 1960 to 21.6% in 1990.2000: 25% of America’s children lived in mother-only families.Of these mother-only households, the percentage of mothers who had never been married increased from 3.9% in 1960 to 31.5% in 1990.Why should we be concerned with father involvement? In 1996 the United States became the world’s leader in fatherless families.In fact, mother-only households grew dramatically from 7.7% in 1960 to 21.6% inIn 2000, 25% of America’s children lived in mother-only families.2 Mother-only families result from a variety of factors including death, divorce, and abandonment.Of these mother-only households, the percentage of mothers who had never been married increased from 3.9% in 1960 to 31.5% in ,3,4 The increase could be related to many factors, but most of us would probably agree that a never married mother is more socially accepted now than in 1960.
4 Children Living Without their Biological Father Healthy Marriage and Family Formation GrantChildren Living Without their Biological Father6/26/2007Nearly 40% of all children.Almost half of the 40% haven’t seen their father for at least a year.Over 50% of children born in the U.S. will spend half of their childhood in a father-absent household.What percentage of children are living without their biological father? The answer is nearly 40% of all children. And almost half of these children haven’t seen their father for at least a year.5While many children of divorce see their father every other weekend or on holidays, for others, visits with dad are rare, infrequent, or non-existent. Over 50% of children born in the U.S. will spend half of their childhood in a father-absent household.5ASK: How would you guess these numbers compare to the number of children living without their biological mother? (Invite audience to guess.)The numbers aren’t even close. In fact, nearly ten times as many children in single-parent households live with their mother and have an absent biological father compared to the number who live with their father and have an absent mother.6(ILLUSTRATE ON WHITE BOARD IF AVAILABLE)One study offered the following estimates:13,252, vs. 1,393,000Absent AbsentFATHER MOTHER6
5 Locating Data in Your Area Healthy Marriage and Family Formation GrantLocating Data in Your Area6/26/2007Office of Child Support Enforcement Website:Kids Count 2004 Data Book Online:Those are some of the national statistics, but you may want to locate more specific data for your area. Many of you probably work for agencies that have your own data or reports. Some of you might say, “I don’t need the data, I see this problem every day.” But for those who are interested here are two websites you can check out:The website for the Office of Child Support EnforcementThe Kids Count Data Book Online. For those of you not familiar with Kids Count, it is a national and state-by-state effort to track the status of children in the U.S. on several measures. This website has an abundance of useful information on it. For example, we found that in Greene County, Missouri, the number of children in single parent families rose from 17.4% in 1990 to 23.9% in
6 Father Presence Enhances Healthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant6/26/2007Fetal and infantdevelopment.Physical well being &perceptual abilities.Competency forrelatedness with others.Competence, self-reliance, and ambition.Initiative and self-control.Clearly the number of children growing up without their father has increased. But aren’t children resilient? Does it really make that much of a difference? The answer is “yes,” it does make a difference. Researchers have linked father presence with improved fetal and infant development.8Specifically, father presence affects a child’s physical well being, perceptual abilities, and competency for relatedness with others, even at a young age.9Having an involved dad increases a child’s competence, self-reliance, and ambition.10Research has shown that, when children are reared with involved fathers, they demonstrate greater initiative and increased self-control.11
7 Father Involvement Decreases Healthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant6/26/2007Poor school performance or drop out.Early and promiscuous sex.Influence of peer pressure.Engagement in criminal behavior.Drug use.The advantages of having an involved father continue to affect children as they grow. Research has shown that father involvement contributes to children becoming less likely to:Do poorly in school or drop outEngage in early and promiscuous sexBe influenced by peer pressureEngage in criminal behaviorUse drugs.12
8 Father Involvement Decreases Healthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant6/26/2007PovertyChild AbuseEmotional and Behavioral Problems•••••••••••••••Children in two-parent families simply do better.On average, children who live absent from their biological fathers are at least two to three times more likely to experience a range of difficulties when compared to peers who live with their married, biological or adoptive parents. These difficulties include:PovertyRisk of child abuseEmotional and behavioral problems.13Today we will look at several variables that are related to father involvement. The research indicates that children in two-parent families simply do better overall.14
9 Father Absence Linked to Early Sexual Activity and Teenage Pregnancy Healthy Marriage and Family Formation GrantFather Absence Linked to Early Sexual Activity and Teenage Pregnancy6/26/2007Child Development reported on a 15-year longitudinal study that was conducted in the U.S. and New Zealand. The conclusion was that father absence was an overriding risk factor for early sexual activity and adolescent pregnancy.15Stated conversely, father presence was a major protective factor against early sexual activity, even if other risk factors were present.15In addition, girls with early father absence (defined as either the biological or adoptive father leaving when the child was between age 0-5 years) had the highest rates of both early sexual activity and adolescent pregnancy.15Study in the U.S. and New Zealand found:Father absence was a risk factor for early sexual activity and adolescent pregnancy.Father presence was a major protective factor against early sexual activity.Girls with early father absence had the highest rates of both early sexual activity and adolescent pregnancy.
10 Importance of Marriage on Father Involvement Healthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant6/26/2007Marriage increases father involvement.Fathers who live with their children:spend more time with them.contribute greater financial resources to their support.have greater input on decisions that affect children’s lives.Marriage is one of the strongest predictors of father involvement. It is reasonable to expect that fathers who are married to the mothers of their children are more involved in their children’s daily lives.Fathers who live with their children spend more time with them in the morning, at dinner, and at bedtime. Their presence alone makes it easier to be involved.In addition, they contribute greater financial resources to their support and have greater input on the decisions that affect their children’s lives. Of course, many non-custodial fathers would like to be more involved, but realistically, it is much more difficult.16
11 Importance of Marriage on Father Involvement Healthy Marriage and Family Formation GrantImportance of Marriage on Father Involvement6/26/2007Studies reveal that even in high-crime inner-city neighborhoods, well over 90% of children from safe, stable, two-parent homes do not become delinquents.Studies reveal that even in high-crime inner-city neighborhoods, well over 90% of children from safe, stable, two-parent homes do not become delinquents.12 This illustrates that a stable, two-parent home can be a very strong protective factor even in the face of peer pressure and high crime environments.
12 Transition to Fatherhood Healthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant6/26/2007Occurs primarily through:Birth of Child.Secondarily through:Marriage (step-parenting)AdoptionWe have established that having a father present and actively involved in the lives of children is very important. It helps give children their best chances of success and serves as a strong protective factor against behavioral and emotional problems. So, how do we get that to happen? How can we get fathers more involved?For most fathers, the transition to parenthood occurs primarily through the birth of a child but it can also occur through marriage into a stepfamily and through adoption.17Regardless of how it occurs, the transition can be very challenging under the best circumstances, such as when parents have a planned and healthy pregnancy and think they are ready.Unplanned pregnancy adds to the challenge. Many fathers say they feel left out of the process, especially during pregnancy.
13 Expectant and New Fatherhood Healthy Marriage and Family Formation GrantExpectant and New Fatherhood6/26/2007Becoming a father consists of three sub-processes:Grasp the reality of the pregnancy and child.Strive for recognition as a parent from others.Begin to construct and assume the role of an involved father.Becoming a father consists of three sub-processes.First, the father has to grasp the reality of the pregnancy and the child. This is often easier for the mother because she generally feels and sees differences in her body long before her partner does. So often people ask the mother how she and the baby are doing, ignoring the father and his adjustment and ability to cope during the transition.Early in the pregnancy, men often struggle with assimilating that they are going to be a father.After the baby is born, men often have to strive for others (mate, co-workers, friends, family, baby, and society) to recognize them as a parent. After that occurs, they have the task of constructing and assuming the role of an involved father.17It’s important to note that the greater knowledge of well-educated fathers does not necessarily make their emotional transition easier. In fact, the only factors that appear to assist with adjustment are an appreciation of human relationships and a willingness to respond to their children’s needs.17We’ll talk about some programs that can help with this transition in a little bit.Transition to Fatherhood: A Model18TraditionsValuesAttitudesKnowledgeSkillEmotionsCommunicationHuman relationsFamily relationsParticipation
14 National Fatherhood Initiative Healthy Marriage and Family Formation GrantNational Fatherhood Initiative6/26/2007Founded in 1994 to lead a society-wide movement to confront the problem of father absence.NFI’s mission is “to improve the well being of children by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers.”To address the needs of new fathers, the National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) has developed several fatherhood programs designed to support and encourage father involvement.The NFI was founded in 1994 to lead a society-wide movement to confront the problem of father absence.Their mission is “to improve the well being of children by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers.”19For more information, go to their website at:
15 Healthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant ChallengesHealthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant6/26/2007Relational conflict.Time demands of work.Family of origin.Attitudes, motivation and skills.Age when becoming a father.Child’s gender.Specifically, the National Fatherhood Initiative has worked to overcome some of the challenges to father involvement.Some of the most common barriers include:Relational conflict.Demands of the father’s work.Family of origin influences.Attitudes, motivation and skills.Age when becoming a father.Gender of the child.We’ll talk about each of these in more detail.
16 Healthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant Relational Conflict6/26/2007Constant fighting and conflict often cause fathers to withdraw from their children.Mother’s feelings about father can affect how much he is involved.Angry mothers are much more likely to try to exclude father involvement.The mother’s attitude and the father’s relationship can either facilitate or become a barrier to father involvement. Unfortunately, this relationship frequently poses a challenge.Constant fighting and conflict often cause fathers to withdraw from their children. In addition, the mother’s feelings about the father can dramatically affect how much he is involved.And as you might guess, angry mothers are much more likely to try to exclude fathers from being involved.20
17 Healthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant Relational Conflict6/26/2007Father involvement increases when mother believes:He is competent at childcare.He is interested in participating in childcare.His involvement is seen as valuable.Father involvement decreases when:mothers are critical or judgmental of father’s care-giving ability.In general, father involvement increases when mother believes:• Father is competent at childcare.Father is interested in participating in childcare.Father’s involvement is valuable.On the other hand, father involvement decreases when mothers are critical and/or judgmental of father’s care-giving ability.21Keep in mind that these factors can be influenced. That is, we can help mothers see the value of father involvement and mothers should be aware of how their criticism can discourage fathers from participating in their children’s care.HANDOUT: Getting Along with Your Ex (17A)
18 Healthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant Time Demands6/26/2007Emotional climate of work:High stress jobs have “spill over” effect.Job satisfaction promotes healthy interaction.Work socialization impacts fathering:Those in highly autonomous jobs value independence in their children.Fathers in highly supervised jobs tend to value obedience and conformity.Another common challenge to father involvement is that time invested in employment reduces the time a father has available to spend with his children. The emotional climate of work may impact the level of energy remaining at the end of the day to invest in family. Fathers in high stress jobs often have a “spill over” effect, meaning they bring this stress home.A father’s degree of distraction and concern about events at work can affect the family’s functioning. However, high job satisfaction can mediate this effect and lead to healthy interactions.Work socialization also impacts fathering styles. Those in highly autonomous jobs tend to value independence in their children. However, fathers in highly supervised jobs tend to value obedience and conformity.21Not only does work affect the amount of time available for fathers to spend with their children, but it also affects their values and their ability to parent effectively.
19 Healthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant Family of OriginHealthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant6/26/2007Father’s relationship to his own family of origin.Modeling: learning the role by example.Compensation: if their example was negative men attempt to make up for this in their own parenting style.Attitudes, motivations, and beliefs.A father’s relationship to his own family of origin can pose a significant challenge.During childhood and adolescence, the family of origin teaches the meaning of various roles through the process of modeling or learning by example. If a new father remembers his own dad taking him fishing, he will likely consider fishing a part of being a good dad.However, if the example was negative, men often attempt to compensate, or make up for this in their own parenting style. If a father’s own dad was punitive or rejecting, he may feel unsure regarding his role as a father and he may try to compensate by buying gifts.Finally, our families of origin help to create our attitudes, motivations and beliefs in general.21ASK: What positive attitudes, motivations, and beliefs do you see that men have brought from their family of origin? What are the most frequent negative attitudes you see in men with whom you work?VIDEO: What about fathers? (Marriage Just a Piece of Paper)Time: 12:20 min. Start from: (59:52 to 72:12).
20 Healthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant 6/26/2007Younger fathers are more likely to:Be less educated.Have lower academic abilities.Became sexually active earlier.Be involved in crime.Another factor that impacts a father’s level of involvement is his age. Young, unwed fathers are often less educated and they may have lower academic abilities.In addition, these fathers probably became sexually active at a very early age and are statistically more likely to be involved in crime.In contrast, men who have children later in life tend to have less financial strain, more job flexibility, and greater confidence in one’s role as a father.21Older fathers are more likely to have:Less financial strain.More job flexibility.Greater confidence in one’s role as a father.
21 Healthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant Child’s Gender6/26/2007A higher percentage of male children in the household was associated with increased father involvement over time.Fathers with all male children showed a greater increase of involvement over time than fathers with all female children.The last factor to consider is the child’s gender. A higher percentage of male children in the household was associated with increased father involvement over time. Also, fathers with all male children showed a greater increase of involvement over time than fathers with all female children.22ASK: What factors might explain these findings? (Possible ideas include):They may feel more comfortable “playing rough” or “horsing around” with boys than with girls.They might view girls as more fragile or delicate and be intimidated about engaging in play with them.As children age, fathers may have more in common with a son’s interests (e.g., football, hunting, or cars), than with a daughter’s activities.
22 Healthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant Child’s GenderHealthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant6/26/2007Fathers:Touch and talk more with newborn boys.Vocalize more to their sons.Are more responsive to a son’s vocalizations.Are more likely to engage in physical activities like tossing/lifting with a son than a daughter.Another study found that these differences in father involvement with sons versus daughters can begin when children are very young.They noted that fathers:Touch and talk more with newborn boys.Vocalize more to their sons.Are more responsive to a son’s vocalizations.In addition, fathers are more likely to engage in physical activities like tossing/lifting with a son than a daughter.21
23 Fatherhood Programs and Resources Healthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant6/26/2007Transition to FatherhoodLove’s CradleBecoming Parents ProgramBoot Camp for DadsPromoting Father Involvement24/7 DadsDads at a DistanceFathers Reading Every Day (FRED)There are many fatherhood programs available that are working to increase father involvement at all levels.For the initial transition to fatherhood there are programs such as Love’s Cradle, Becoming Parents Program23 and Boot Camp for Dads.24And finally there are programs that are designed to promote father involvement for any dad. The program, Fathers Reading Every Day, known as FRED, is designed to encourage fathers, grandfathers, and other important male role models to read to their children on a daily basis.25
24 Healthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant Fatherhood ProgramsHealthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant6/26/2007Love’s CradleLove’s Cradle is an 18-hour program developed by Mary Ortwein. It is an easy-to-understand version of Bernard Guerney’s Relationship Enhancement program. The purpose is to teach Relationship Enhancement skills around issues of new parenthood such as:Bonding with the new babyAdjusting to parenthood rolesSharing responsibilitiesTaking care of each other while caring for a child.There are also six additional 6-hour modules that tackle other serious issues such as trust, marriage, finances, intense emotions, other parenting issues, and extended family relationships. This program focuses specifically on unmarried parents around the time of the birth of their first child, but can be used for any population.26
25 Healthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant Fatherhood ProgramsHealthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant6/26/200724/7 Dad AM &24/7 Dad PM24/7 Dad was developed by the National Fatherhood Initiative, nationally and internationally recognized by fathering and parenting experts, and fatherhood practitioners. 24/7 Dad AM (the basic fathering program) and 24/7 Dad PM (a more in-depth program) focus on five characteristics that a father needs to be a great dad 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A 24/7 dad:Is aware of himself as a man and aware of the significant impact he has in his family, which means he is in touch with his emotions, strengths, capabilities, and limitations.Is a man who takes care of himself. He gets annual physicals, eats right, exercises regularly, has a strong spiritual connection with his community, and chooses friends who reinforce his healthy choices.Is aware of the significant role he has in the family. He is a positive role model and is able to use his unique abilities to help the family.Is a nurturing parent who understands and accepts the importance of his parenting skills in the development of his children.Works toward healthy relationships with his wife and children.27
26 Healthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant Fatherhood ProgramsHealthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant6/26/2007Dads at a Distance-Military-Travel for work-IncarceratedDads at a Distance is designed for fathers who are living apart from their children, such as military dads, dads that travel for work, or incarcerated fathers. This program helps fathers maintain the connection with their children even though they may not be together physically.28
27 Healthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant Websites6/26/2007National Fatherhood Initiative:The Center for Successful Fathering:The National Center for Fathering:Here is a listing of a few available resources for promoting father involvement. These websites have information, articles, and valuable ideas. They might be helpful for you personally, or for families with whom you work.OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Vignettes (27A)
28 Healthy Marriage and Family Formation Grant 6/26/2007Questions