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Why Father’s Groups Matter…the

We live in an increasingly busy world. The time of the casual conversation has been almost but not completely lost. So much of life and what our options might be we learn from our talks with friends, families, peers, colleagues and especially (relating to this blog post) dads.

In the many years of doing Dad’s Groups at the Fathers’ Forum programs and in my research on the “Developmental Phases of Fatherhood,” two themes are very constant.

One is that when men become fathers they are challenged by the profound change in their life.  I know this was true for me. Even though I had recently become a Marriage and Child Therapist and my wife at the time was RN in the nursery…and I thought this dad thing would be easy…oh wow! It was much more complicated than I thought or understood! Most new dads are very uncertain about to expect after their baby is born and although , this completely normal…it is difficult to tolerate the new uncertainty of life.

The second theme…when dads get to talk to each other about fatherhood it really helps. Having been in a “men’s group” for some time I knew the value of talking with other guys. After our son was born I got together with a few men who had just become dads. It made such a difference for me to hear them talk about what they were going through. That was how I started the Fathers’ Forum and now launched the NewDadsNetwork.

Dads, especially in the early years of parenthood, (but really throughout our lives) talking about the changes and joy, difficulties and confusions with other dads helps normalize our feelings about what we are going through. You we are not the only ones experiencing this! We may all handle things a little differently,  but we all have to deal with things like: no sleep, what happened to sex, why am I so worried about money, am I going to be like my father, who is this person that use to be my wife, whose relatives are these! It is reassuring when you talk with other dads to know how we are all going through some version of this. It is also helpful to share this part of the journey as man/father with other dads…it makes us less isolated. It allows us to talk about parenting challenges with someone other than our wives.

It appears from my research that the dads who have other dads to connect with about fatherhood actually enjoy parenting more…even if they have very difficult challenges.  Even if it is just 10 minutes a week that you spend here, read a comment or two, write one if you like or find a discussion to follow or join in one of our a smaller online dads groups, you will get a chance to feel more connected to other men, yourself, your child, your partner, your family and our community.

I think we can save the “unhurried” conversation on the NewDadsNetwork…you can sign in when you have time, and your conversation can take place at a leisurely pace …over a few days or weeks.  I thought with all the time demands on our lives maybe this social networking could really work for us dads and with sincere and meaningful content, help us feel part of something bigger…part of the larger world of fatherhood and parenting, shared with a few other “fellow travelers.”