By Jan Hittelman
While there is no denying the amazing bond between mothers and their children, our culture tends to minimize the profound impact that fathers can have on their children’s health and well-being. Research has consistently indicated that the more fathers are involved in parenting, the healthier their children are. More specifically according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: “Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior compared to children who have uninvolved fathers. Committed and responsible fathering during infancy and early childhood contributes emotional security, curiosity, and math and verbal skills.” Learn more by visiting: http://fatherhood.hhs.gov.
As a culture and a community, we need to do more to include fathers in parent training programs and help them to feel welcomed and valued as involved parents. Unfortunately, there is still a negative stigma for fathers that choose to become more involved in the parenting of their children. Consider going to the local park and seeing observant mom’s keeping an eye on their children. Add a male to that mix and thoughts of child molesters and adult males not belonging often emerge. As more and more dads find themselves in a primary caretaking role, we need to do more as a community to welcome them and help dads to feel accepted and supported. One effort involves providing fathers with more parenting resources, instead of making them feel excluded by offering what are often referred to as “mommy & me” classes.