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6 Ways to Get Dad More Involved
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Written by Jacqueline Bodnar   


Many moms yearn for the secret on how to get dad more involved in the day-to-day care of the kids. Not only does it give mom time for a break, but it shows dad just how special he is and increases his childcare confidence level.

According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, an organization aimed at leading a society-wide movement to confront the problem of father absence, children that have fathers involved in their life do significantly better in school, have higher self esteem and engage less in risky behavior. Read on for ways that you can get dad more involved in taking care of the kids.

•    Respect Differences. “Mothers parent differently than fathers,” says Dr. Ken Canfield, founder and president of the National Center for Fathering, a national organization that is focused on equipping men to be the involved fathers their children need. He points out that research shows there are distinct differences in the way fathers hold their children, play, talk with and discipline them. It’s important for mom to not expect dad to do everything just how she does and to be accepting of his methods. Just because his style is different doesn’t mean it’s harmful or wrong.

•    Be Specific. Many women tend to make blanket statements to dad that they need more “help.” That doesn’t give him much direction of what is needed. To get more response moms should try to be more specific about what it is they would like dad to do. For example, mom could state she needs dad to help more with homework, give baths, drive to extra curricular activities, etc. Mom can also try making a list of everything that needs to be done and give dad the option of choosing which tasks he’d like to do.

•    Avoid Gate-keeping. Many moms take the reigns of raising the kids and try to do it all. Then when they get frustrated they look at dad and wonder why he’s not more involved. Get dad involved from the beginning and try not to hover over him. Moms have a tendency to want to step in if dad is having a difficult time when it’s better to give him the chance to figure out a solution, which will help him feel more confident later.

•    Make it Enjoyable. If children only see dad as the one that dishes out discipline then the kids and dad are really missing out. Moms should try giving dad plenty of opportunity to do fun activities with dad and not just call him into the picture if there is a discipline problem.

•    Give Praise. A great way to get dad more involved is to recognize what he does and compliment him on his efforts. Many men are working behind the scenes to do things for their family and often those efforts go unnoticed. Dads are often economic providers, teach morals, are role models, playmates and give support to moms.

•    Avoid Overprotecting.  Let’s face it, dads like to play rougher than most moms are comfortable with. Try to look the other way and let them have some fun instead of overprotecting the kids and putting a stop to their roughhousing.

Team Effort

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when getting dad involved is that parenting is a team effort. “Fathers have a unique and irreplaceable role in the life of their child,” says Dr. Canfield, “and we need to encourage and equip them with the tools that they need to excel.”

Jacqueline Bodnar is a freelance writer living in Port Orange, Fla. with her husband and two children.


6 Ways to Get Dad More Involved
By Jacqueline Bodnar

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