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Philosophy of Fatherhood begins today: Patience….(part 1 of 5)

Well…Thanksgiving is over and the “Holiday Season” has begun…get your credit cards out! Yikes so many conflicting feelings surface during the holidays. As a Marriage and Family Therapist this is my busiest time of year.

At the NewDadTimes.com the blog for the Fathers’ Forum programs is still finding its way. Now that my own children are not only grown but married; I need to think seriously about what I have to offer the new and expectant dads that the Fathers’ Forum was designed for.

I think I can reflect now on the “big themes” of fatherhood that have dominated both my personal life and my professional life. Since the holidays can always be a tense time and hopefully a close and intimate time with your family too…let me start with the theme of “patience.” (Looks like I will be blogging about the big themes of fatherhood here…)

Holiday’s or not, your kids, your family and friends, your wife or partner everyone benefits by you having patience. That is my bedrock theme of what is most important in the “Philosophy of Fatherhood” …which I think is the direction this blog is now going. Not just for holidays but everyday living is so much better with a healthy dose of patience.

Well then what is patience and how do we get it!  According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

1. bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint

2. manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain

3. not hasty or impetuous

4. steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity

So those are some working definitions…make sense? But how we get patience and what it means in our lives…especially for our children is extremely important. And that is the theme of the “Philosophy of Fatherhood” I will be blogging about this week. And the holiday season is the best time to undertake this journey…how to be a more patient person.  Check back tomorrow for the next installment!

Involved dads matter…the data

The Indiana Youth Institute reports the impact of a father’s participation in his child/family life.  Having an involved father meant one who reads to his child, goes on outings with him/her, takes interest in understanding their interests, and takes an equal role in parenting. This type of involvement for a dad appears to support the following outcomes:

Their children form better relationships, have less psychological distress, maintain healthier self esteem, exhibit empathy and positive social behavior, are likely to avoid high risk behaviors (such as drugs, truancy and criminal activity).

They found the following statistics too; 85% of youth in prison come from homes without involved fathers, as do 75% of high school dropouts and 63% of teen suicides.

You may say your child’s life dependence on your presents and participation!

Two important points to make from my anecdotal experience with my work at the Fathers’ Forum Programs.

1. It is not just the father being “around” that is important but one who connects     (attaches)  with his child. This is a form of empathy or “emotional attunement.”  For what dads can do during the First Twelve Months of Fatherhood see this section of Fathers’ Forum Online.

2. Having an emotionally engaged relationship with a spouse or partner.

3. Single parents whether just a mom or just a dad can raise healthy, emotionally well balanced and integrated children.  They must be well balanced themselves emotionally and be able to recruit other adults (friends and family) that can contribute to their child’s life experiences.  “It takes a village to raise a child!”

If you are in a fathers group or lead one you may consider discussing this data with the dads!

The New Dad Times mission…& getting ready for Thanksgiving

I have been trying to find the direction or the mission my blog is on. I think I have found it! This blog is for expectant and new dads…interesting information (hopefully) on fatherhood.  It will be especially helpful for men who facilitate “father’s groups” or dads who are in father’s groups.

For 25 years I have been facilitating “Men’s Group for Fathers of Young Children.” Seven dads in each group all with kids from 1 month up to 5 years old. For more information on these groups visit the Fathers’ Forum Online.  On Thursday’s I will write about some of the themes from the group. On Monday’s there will be a guest blog.  (If you are a daddy blogger and would like one of your post’s to include as a guest post, please contact me.)The weekend post will share something from the current research or writing on the changing trends in fatherhood.

Last night at the Fathers’ Forum  we took up the theme of Thanksgiving and the dads reflected on what they were thankful for. Of course everyone said especially for having their child and the opportunity to be a dad. As we talked further the dads became aware of how appreciative they were of their wives. How their relationship with them was so special as they developed as a family.  They all agreed at their Thanksgiving dinners they would ask everyone who wanted to, to speak about what they were thankful for this year. They all agreed how they want to make sure everyone at their dinners knew how thankful they were to their wives.

I would encourage all of you who are reading this to consider trying this for Thanksgiving too.

Another theme we discussed last night was what we learned about being a father from our children? We became aware that one of the ways we learn to be a dad is from our kids. The week before we were all talking about how our  fathers had influenced us. It was insightful for us to recognize how children also show us something about who we are and what we need to be/do as a dad. Some of the responses about what are kids taught us were;  patience, intimacy, emotionality, fear and joy.

Think about it…how would you answer the question; “What has my child taught me about being a father?

For more themes to consider for discussion in your dads group…check out the Articles Section at the Fathers’ Forum Reading Room.

 

Guest Post… DaddyHD from the UK…When do we spill the beans?

Nick Harris-Dobson, is 25 and expecting his first child…you can read about his adventures at DaddyHD. Here is a great recent post from his blog.

“When do we Spill the Beans?”

I’m sure this has been the center of many arguments in expectant parents. Some couples will want to share their news immediately, whereas others will want to hold out until that 12 week mark (this is that milestone I mentioned in my first post).

The reason couples hold out until that 12 week point has passed (or the end of the first trimester), is that experts and medical professionals alike say that the first 12 weeks are a where a mother is at the highest risk of miscarriage. It’s definitely not a pleasant subject, and it is upsetting for all involved, none more so than the expectant parents, so I won’t go into any further detail, I’m sure we all know what a miscarriage is.

Whichever way has been decided, the next step is the same for almost all couples, telling only close family and the best of friends. It is usually then decided that everyone else can wait until either, a; they notice a baby-bump starting to grow and finally pluck up the courage to ask if it’s a baby or sudden weight gain (they’d be braver than me if they asked that one) or b; it slip’s from either the couple’s mouth’s, or one of the family / friends who have already been privileged to the news.

If however you’re like me, you will get shouted out more than once for telling people before you’re supposed to. I just couldn’t contain myself! Once I knew I was going to be a father that was it, I wanted the world and his dog to know! To give me an ounce of credit, I did tell immediate family and friends before anyone else, as we’d agreed.. however.. I did then carry on telling further friends and close work colleagues before we reached the 12 week milestone. A number of things may get you out of trouble; flowers and chocolate may work if your significant other is that way inclined, but for me i think it was agreeing we should look at buying her a bigger car, so that we didn’t have to struggle getting the baby in and out the back of her current car, a 3-door Fiat 500.

For more info about Nick, his blog and his adventures visit him at…DaddyHD.