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Involved Fathers

A Guide For Today’s Dad

Why Involved Fatherhood Matters

When we talk about involved fathers, what do we mean? Any kind of involvement, good or bad? Obviously not. We mean a father who knows and enjoys his kids, one who shares with his partner the work and the play of raising them, one who understands them well and can handle their daily routines. We mean a man who has his own direct, close relationship with his children.

Why Get More Involved? Involved fathers benefit everyone in the family:

It’s Good For Kids
Studies have shown that children with involved fathers are usually better off, for several reasons. They are less likely to live in poverty and more likely to do better in school. They are more likely to have supportive relationships with both parents, and they are less likely to have a stressed-out mother. All of those things are very good for children.

It’s Good For Mothers
Many things about family life have changed. More women with young children work outside the home. More families live far away from close relatives. And most mothers don’t have the kind of female support network that was common in the past. So, today, mothers need their partner’s support more than ever before.

It’s Good For Fathers
The rules about what men do and what women do have been changing for some time. That enables men to play a bigger part in one of the great human activities: looking after children and helping them grow. There’s a huge satisfaction that goes with it that you can’t get from anything else you do, not to mention a boost to your self-esteem.

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Daddy I Need You

A Father’s Guide to Early Childhood Brain Development

Have you noticed all the buzz about early childhood development these days?

TV programs show amazing pictures of brain activity. Newspapers trumpet the latest findings about various factors and experiences that promote brain development in young children.

Experts say things like: “The early years last forever.”

Companies offer parents all sorts of products and programs that are supposed to be good for brain development. They want to sell us language learning CDs for babies, activity gyms with all sorts of “stimulating” gadgets or videos that claim to stimulate brain development. They use names like Brainy Baby, Baby Einstein and Bright Tots.

It’s true that early childhood is a very important period with respect to brain growth and other aspects of child development. But a lot of what we hear is hype. If you take only one idea away from this booklet, let it be this: what your baby and her developing brain really needs is you – your care and the interaction you provide – not some special product.

If you’re reading this, you’ve already got what it takes to do a good job of helping your child grow and learn. You don’t have to be an expert. Fathers have a lot to offer their children. And we all have a lot to learn about kids.

This booklet will help you make sense of all the things you will hear about early childhood brain development and help you understand the role you can play in supporting your child’s development. Don’t worry, it’s simpler than you think.

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Daddy…Come Play With Me

A father’s guide to play with young children

Why would you want to read a booklet about how to play with your child? All children play. We all played when we were kids. What’s the big deal?

Fair question. But any parent learns that parenting has its ups and downs. So does play. Why is it that sometimes when you play with your child, everything goes great and it feels really good to be together? Other times, she’s not interested in your ideas, or she’s just not in the right mood to settle down and play.

This booklet offers some ideas about:
• how play can help to build the father/child relationship
• how to contribute to your child’s fun and learning
through play
• how to be involved in play at different stages of early childhood
• how play can help you get more out of being a parent. Just spending time with your child is probably the best way to learn how to be a good father-playmate. But a little more knowledge can help you both get more out of the time you spend playing together.

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Kids We Can Count On

A Father’s Guide To Building Character In Children

 

What is character?

“He showed lots of character today.”
“I know she’ll do a great job. She’s got character.”

People make these kinds of statements all the time. Even hockey coaches and baseball managers talk about the “character players” who are so important to every team.

Everyone admires and respects people with character and it’s not because they have talent, skill, good looks, fame or popularity. It’s because they have an extra special something that we all think is really important. We call that character.

People with character have two basic qualities. They usually do the right thing and, in most situations, they do what needs to be done.

Doing the right thing is about behaving morally — knowing the difference between right and wrong and choosing to do right. But not every good human act involves a moral choice.

Sometimes character is about looking at a situation, seeing what needs to be done and doing it. People with character do what’s right and what’s necessary. Even when it’s difficult, inconvenient or unpleasant — when it would be easier to walk away and leave it to someone else.

This booklet is about how you can help your children grow into people with that kind of character.

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Dads!
Renovate Your Relationship

14 Tools To Help Fathers Stay Connected To Their Partners

Many men say they didn’t see the problems in their relationship until it was too late. These guys wish they had done maintenance work beforehand so they never reached the point where the relationship was beyond repair.

The challenge for men is to see the tell-tale cracks appearing and take action.

Your renovation project:

This manual is a blueprint for taking a new look at your relationship now that you are a father. Becoming a parent is a time of big changes; changes that can bring couples together, but also drive them apart.

Most men don’t look at instructions until they can’t get something to work. Not always the best way! Don’t wait until your relationship is in trouble. Use this manual as your set of instructions for your most important renovation project. It’s worth the work!

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Full-time Dad Part-time Kids

A Guide For Recently Separated And Divorced Fathers

Children need their fathers and their mothers

In a perfect world, we would all live happily ever after and parents would never split up. In the real world, where we all have to live, separation and divorce are fairly common. Many children do not live full-time with both biological parents.

But parenting does not end after divorce. We know that children of separated parents need good parenting — in fact, they may need it even more than other kids. We also know that it’s best if they can get that from both parents.

Therefore, this booklet is written with the assumption that, in most circumstances, the ideal thing for children of separated parents is to have a loving and supportive relationship with both Dad and Mom.

What this booklet is and is not

This booklet is about being a good father — the best one you can be in a fairly difficult situation: when you don’t live with your children full-time. It is not about the family court system or how to win a custody dispute.

If those are your main concerns right now, or if you are dealing with issues such as a spouse who has significant personal problems or who is interfering with your legal access to your children, this booklet may not have some of the answers you are seeking.

Those problems are real, very challenging and require specialized help from a lawyer, a family mediator, a professional counselor or a support group for divorced fathers. This resource is about the male experience of parenting after a recent separation or divorce.

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 One Step At A Time

A Guide For Fathers Living In Blended Families

In 2005 Paramount released a movie called “Yours, Mine & Ours” about two single parents–each with their own children–who married each other. It was a remake of a movie made in 1968.

Back then, the idea of two people with kids from previous marriages getting married to each other was novel. Today, it’s one kind of normal. Almost one in eight Canadian couples with children now live in blended* families.

A blended family can be many things. Most commonly, a man without children marries a mother with children from a previous relationship. However, sometimes men with kids marry childless women, or both parents bring children to the relationship.

The children may be toddlers or teenagers – even grown-ups. They might live in the blended family full-time, half-time or only several days a month. And, obviously, new
children are often born into blended families.

Sound complicated? It is. People sometimes say that being in a marriage is hard work: so is raising children. Fathering in a stepfamily is all of that plus more. Blended families have another layer of complexity because more people are involved: more parents, more homes, more brothers and sisters, more grandparents and relatives.

We hope the ideas in this booklet will help. By the way, all the stories we used came from situations that happened in real
stepfamilies. We thank the dads and moms who shared their stories and helped us see that the best way to build a stepfamily is carefully, thoughtfully and patiently – one step at a time.

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