It’s our most serious task as men, and the toughest. While fatherhood has always been difficult, the challenge has grown more complex from one age to another. Our grandfathers faced problems in simply providing essentials. Our fathers may have had less difficulty with providing the necessities of life; however, it still wasn’t easy to create sons and daughters who met their expectations of high morals, fortitude, and success.
The changing role of fathers
Today, fathers are expected not only to fulfill the traditional roles (provide food, shelter, and clothing) but also to be intricately involved in the parenting of children: creating lifelong bonds of intimacy, participating extensively in their lives, and accepting, even embracing, their volatility in a chaotic and sometimes harrowing world.
In this new millennium, men have not yet been socialized to fulfill these new roles—roles that demand engagement, empathy, patience, and teamwork in parenting. Men often feel inadequate in meeting all these expectations: for some, frustrations emerge in anger and externalizing behaviors including drinking, workaholism, emotional abuse, and even domestic violence. Others may secretly struggle with feelings of inadequacy. Without counseling, these cycles can destroy men and their families.
A New Understanding of Fatherhood
The Nurturing Dads initiative works with men, and those who work with them, to help them become better fathers by developing a new understanding of fatherhood. We also teach parenting techniques:
- To use discipline as a learning rather than a punitive experience for children
- To connect with their emotions and those of their children
- To avoid self-defeating behavior, maintaining composure in the midst of childhood behavioral problems
- To utilize teamwork and a variety of parenting strategies that emphasizes accountable choices for children
We want men to have a new and hopeful vision of fathering, with increased confidence and more effective skills, and with the knowledge that they can do a man’s toughest job in spite of the sometimes seeming lunacy of their children amidst the pressures of a turbulent and aggressive society.
The Men’s Resource Center offers Nurturing Dads as a full-day workshop to professionals or to dads themselves. We also run individual counseling and a twelve-week Nurturing Dads men’s support group for dads who want to improve their parenting.
Contact the Men’s Resource Center for our fee schedule and more information.