Category: family involvement

Please take this time to  notice this video and its impact on the lives of fathers  everywhere… 

For the one in three children growing up in homes without their biological fathers, there is one critical question they can’t seem to silence: “Why did my dad leave?” How can a man just walk away from his family? Is there even an answer?

Yes, says one absent father. In this clip from a special two-hour episode of “Oprah’s Lifeclass” on fatherless sons, an absentee dad named Dwayne reveals exactly why he left his children and his family — and his reasoning is more prevalent among absent fathers than their children might think.

“The reason I walked away is because, at the moment, I wasn’t the man that I wanted to be for [my kids],” Dwayne says in the video. “I put them on a higher pedestal than I put myself. So, at a point, I wasn’t worthy to be in their life because I wasn’t the man that I would want for them.”

According to Roland Warren of the National Fatherhood Initiative, Dwayne’s perspective is one shared by many absent fathers. “I see that quite a bit,” Roland says. However, he also notes that men not feeling like the “perfect” dad stems from a gross misunderstanding about the real role of fathers.

Good fathers, Roland says, do three things: provide, nurture and guide. Yet, too many men have warped ideas of what this means, and it sets them up for feeling unworthy. “The ‘provide’ part, a lot of times, guys will make that economics,” says Roland. “But it’s not just about presents… but presence… You create this script of what this ideal father is supposed to be, and then you try to live up to a script that’s not reality… And then when you don’t [live up to it], you feel, ‘I’m not worthy,’ and you pull away.”

Iyanla Vanzant, who, like Roland, has also worked with fatherless children and families in crisis, puts it another way. “I have found [that] the kryptonite for men is inadequacy,” she says.

The conversation continues: Tune in to “Oprah’s Lifeclass” for an episode on single mothers raising sons, airing Sunday, May 12, at 9 p.m. ET on OWN.

Source : 

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As a parent, learning to lead with authority can be ideal if done respectfully, and holding the child or youth up in honor of who they are as a person. A parent must have strong refusal skills and the child adjusts and adapts  in response when the parent is able to communicate effectively and respectively.

In a day and age where daughters are trying to find identity, and purpose and connect with their fathers, we commend angela Patton of Camp Diva, and Sheriff C.T. Woody at the Richmond County Jail for allowing permission for a daddy- Daughter dance in Richmond, VA.

Read more about it at this link. Read more  about Angela Patton and CAMP DIVA HERE.

I always thought women were an object from which to obtain sex. Having a daughter reminded me that they were once little girls, just wanting to be rocked to sleep.
– ba9man

The last post I wrote highlighting for mothers the role sexual development plays in their daughters’ overall happiness was incredibly well received. But since it went viral, I’ve gotten many requests to write one for fathers. So here it is.

A little girl needs her father’s support in her unfolding sexual development because it helps secure three hugely important facets of how she’ll see herself in the world throughout her life. You’ll influence her level of personal confidence, her body comfort and pride, and you’ll set her expectations for the way she should be treated by boys and men.

Even though fathers only want the best for their daughters, when asked to contemplate the idea that they should play an active role in guiding their daughters as they transition from little girl, to girl, to young woman, they squirm. They wince. They slam their eyes shut in an effort to make it stop. They say, “Go ask your mother.”

This is exactly the kind of response I’m going to ask fathers to reconsider, because your daughters really do need you.

Whether we’re talking about the idea of teaching your toddler the accurate names for her body parts during bath time, educating your 8-year-old about menstruation or discussing sexual behavior as your teenager is getting ready for a date, dodging, squirming and wincing aren’t reactions that are going to help your daughter feel comfortable in her own skin or confident about who she is.

Parents don’t wince over things they’re proud of or happy about in their kids, and even our youngest daughters understand this. When we’re proud of them and happy for them, we beam. We smile. We tear up. So, when you reveal your discomfort with your daughter’s sexuality, you’re unintentionally teaching her it’s either something to be afraid of or something to be disdained. You’ll also be directly or indirectly teaching her you don’t want to be involved in knowing that part of her, and that will probably create distance in your relationship. None of this will enhance her self-esteem or her ability to believe you love her unconditionally.

In both my clinical practice and my private life, whenever men share their fears for their daughters’ sexuality, it tends to go something like this: “I’m going to put her in a convent because I know what guys are like.” But if the problem is that fathers know what guys are like, the solution isn’t to make our daughters pay the price by sequestering them. The solution is to raise our sons to respect girls and women.

On that note, we need to be more conscious of what we imply about kids’ sexuality from the time they’re little. We always think the sexual socialization of our sons and daughters begins in adolescence, when it actually starts so much earlier. Take the following typical scenarios and compare how differently we treat male and female sexuality.

Scene One: When my daughter was a toddler and we were at the playground, it would be very common to have an adult approach the mother of a toddler boy who, by society’s standards, would be considered beautiful, and say with a smile, “Oh… he’s going to be a heartbreaker when he grows up!”

Embedded in that comment lies the cultural message that there’s an expectation this little boy will leave a wake of female misery behind him as he moves through his adolescence and manhood. He’ll love them and leave them, breaking hearts right and left. And it isn’t said with contempt. It’s a celebration of his male sexuality — it will be a point of pride that he’s a heartbreaker.

Scene Two: It would be just as common on that same playground to have an adult approach the mother of a toddler girl who, by society’s standards, would be considered beautiful, and say with a smile, “Oh, what a beautiful girl! You better lock her away until she’s 30!”

Embedded in that statement is the cultural message that this little girl should basically resign herself to being seen as a sexualized victim — that she’ll be so ill-prepared to take care of herself, she should just be locked away. And this isn’t said with sadness. It’s a celebration of censure — a happy stealing away of her ownership of her female sexuality.

That’s the G-Rated childhood version, but your daughter will swim in a sea of similar messages throughout her life. Just open a newspaper or go online to find a current example of the R-Rated version, like Soroya Chemaly’s article regarding an ongoing battle with Facebook to remove content that trivializes or encourages violence against girls and women.

From the impact of a seemingly innocuous playground comment to the violent extreme of rape culture, this is why your daughter needs to know you value her sexual worth. Locking her away until she’s 30 isn’t what will help her. Her internalization of your esteem for her is what will be useful to her in combating the pressures she’ll be up against. I do want to stress, however, that it isn’t all about safety. Her internalization of your esteem for her will also be one of the things that gives her the confidence to be true to herself so she can make decisions in pursuit of her personal happiness on all fronts.

So, on the road to raising a happy, confident woman, here are three things your daughter needs from you:
1. She needs you to respect her body and its capacities.

When she’s little, don’t avoid using the correct names for her body parts. I saw a discussion about this on “The View,” and one of the perspectives was that children are too young to know such “adult” terms. But they’re not adult terms. They’re anatomical terms. They contribute to self-knowledge, which contributes to a well-being. A study in the journalGender and Psychoanalysis found that preschool-age girls were more likely to have been taught the word “penis” than any specific word for their own genitals. That isn’t fair and it isn’t right. If you don’t call her elbow her “Over There,” then don’t refer to her vulva as her “Down There.” When we do that, we only stigmatize those parts and make it even harder for our girls to feel pride and ownership over them. And if you’re uncertain about the anatomical terminology, invest in the two minutes it will take you to Google it. Your daughter’s body image is well worth those 120 seconds.

When she’s older, don’t shy away from discussions about menstruation, and if you don’t understand how it works, educate yourself years before she starts so you can respond to any questions that might pop up along the way. Let her know you’re proud of her reproductive functioning. Remember, if it weren’t for menstruation, you wouldn’t even have a daughter. If the two of you have talked about it from the time she was young, when she’s older, you’ll already have built a shared comfort level with it. Then, if she asks you to pick up some tampons for her while you’re out, rather than having it turn into an awkward moment that would have reflected negatively on her reproductive system, you can simply say “sure,” and ask her to write down what kind she’d like. The exchange will be as it should be: natural.

2. She needs to feel close to you throughout your lives together.

Don’t go MIA or withdraw from her once she starts to sexually mature. I believe the psychology of this common paternal phenomenon is rooted in how basic it can feel to some men to view women primarily through a sexualized lens. (As Billy Crystal jokes, “Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place.”) It can be difficult for men to go from parenting a pre-adolescent girl to finding themselves the father of a young woman with curves.

Remember, that new body is the one your daughter will be living in the rest of her life. Let her know you’ll be by her side throughout it all. If you back away, there’s a danger she may think it’s her fault. She could feel she’s losing her closeness to you simply by virtue of being drawn into a biological process she has no power to stop. There’s absolutely no way she can stay your little girl just so you can remain comfortable. Sometimes, though, a girl feels caught in this bind and she may sub-consciously feel she has to choose between her human sexuality and your love for her. She may also fear you’ll judge her if she ventures into sexual activity. When this occurs, in addition to weakening her bond with you, it can later complicate her ability to have adult sexual relationships without experiencing guilt or shame; it’s hard to have a solid sense of personal confidence if you feel like you’re being judged or like you’re not enough for your parents, just the way you are. As her father, you have the power to make certain she knows your love is steadfast, and that she won’t have to choose between your love and her maturation.

3. She needs you as a role model for how she should be treated by boys and men.

No matter her sexual orientation, your daughter will live in a world with boys and men. Pay attention to the way you address her as well as to the way you talk about women. Be thoughtful in the way you speak to your sons about girls and women, and set limits on appropriate language. The tone you set in your home can either negatively complicate how she believes she deserves to be treated by the opposite sex, or it can ground her in her right to be treated respectfully.

Part of that respect needs to include your appreciation of the fact that her sexuality will be about far more than just the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancy and sexual violence. More importantly, it will be about desire, attraction, the complexities of romantic relationships and often, difficult choices. Offer her guidance, but as she experiences these things, healthy parenting will also sometimes involve affording her the same freedom you would want for yourself — the freedom to follow her own heart and mind.

*****In my research, one of the most common things daughters said about their fathers was they wish they were more communicative. So, take the risk on behalf of your daughter, and open the door for the two of you to talk about sexual matters. Don’t worry if you’re nervous — in fact, cop to it. Tell her you weren’t raised to be comfortable talking about sexuality, but that you’re going to forge ahead because you never want her to ever question your regard for her wellness and happiness. She won’t care if you fumble through it at first. Let her know you understand her sexuality will be an important part of who she is throughout her life and that you want her to always be comfortable in, and proud of, her body.

Let her know she should be treated with the respect she deserves, and that it’s your honor, as the first man in her life, to set that bar high.


Source: Huffington Post  Author,  – Psychoanalyst, author of ‘Your Daughter’s Bedroom: Insights for Raising Confident Women’ – Link can be found here.

Worthy Cause, Worthy Book

Our mission at is to “Help fathers make a positive impact on the lives of their children”. Simple but not easy!

Most of us are not handed a “How to be a Good Father” handbook when we have a child born. But rather, we either rely on what we saw or experienced growing up and quite frankly, that could have been a good or bad experience. With we want to offer all fathers (and mothers too) a place to visit where you can regularly access a set of proven parenting resources that either supplements the “good father” experience you had growing up, or likewise, if your experience wasn’t so positive, provide you with useful tools, information and on-going support that helps you become the extraordinary father you want to be!

How we support this mission will involve numerous approaches and challenges, both large and small, but at the end of the day if we want our sons and daughters to thrive and have a better life we as fathers must dare them to be extraordinary. We dare them to be extraordinary by being engaged in their lives, by instilling in them the values of respect, honesty and integrity, by demonstrating to them an exemplary work ethic, by embracing the importance of faith in all that we do and finally by committing to an uncompromising level of excellence in our daily lives.
Our promise at is to offer a platform that positively promotes the role and importance of men, particularly African American men, as fathers in our society through the following ways:

Recognize and uplift men who are engaged and loving in their role as fathers.
Educate and reinforce for men the important role and positive impact they can have as fathers.
Inspire men to take a leadership role in raising their sons and daughters to live out extraordinary lives.
Offer compelling testimony that men have the capacity and demonstrated history to raise and influence their sons and daughters to become extraordinarily positive people within their community and beyond.
Begin a new positive conversation about men and their role and influence in raising their sons and daughters.

Hear, my child, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many. I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness. When you walk, your step will not be hampered; and if you run, you will not stumble. Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.
Proverbs 4:10-13

To Read more about this movement go to:

Not every  father  has the privilege of being able to offer his son or daughter skills for living; but if you do,  parents may raise their children with  much stress and struggle.   We noticed there was a really good resource out that  describes well how to offer these skills of resilience  fathers, if you are wondering what helps your children to grow, its character. But even more resilient character.  Here are a few  wonderful privileges that exist from being a father you may be able to practice.

1. Insight  is the ability to see things as they are. Asking tough questions and giving honest answers.  It is sensing, knowing and understanding.

2.Independence is the ability to distance and/or disengage.  Separating/ Straying/ Disengaging Distancing emotionally and physically from the sources of trouble in one’s life.

3. Initiative involves taking charge of challenging situations or problems.

4. Relationships  need  continual exploration,  and being able to establish working relationships is key to  connecting. Managing  relationships involve making fulfilling connections to other people and developing close    connections to others.   –   Attaching/Connecting/ Recruiting 

5. Creativity   – Using imagination and expressing oneself in art forms.

6. Humor –  Playing/Laughing/ Shaping  finding the comic in the tragic.

7.  Morality –  Judging/Serving,/ Valuing  Acting on the basis of an informed conscience. 

father son pic-walk 2_edited-1

Source: The Resilient Self: How Survivors of Troubled Families Rise Above Adversity (Villard, 1993 ) By Steven J. Wolin, M.D. and Sybil Wolin, Ph.D.

Steven J. Wolin, M.D. is clinical professor of psychiatry at the George Washington University Medical School in Washington DC, director of family therapy training, and a long time investigator at the Center Family Research. His research is published in over 40 papers and in a book, The Alcoholic Family (Basic Books, 1988), co-authored with his colleagues at GWU. Dr. Wolin was the project director for a postdoctoral training program funded by NIAAA and for an OSAP-supported conference on children of alcoholics. He maintains an active clinical practice in psychiatry.

His wife, Sybil Wolin Ph.D. is a developmental psychologist. She has worked as an advocate for public school services for handicapped children, an educational diagnostician and tutor, and a teacher.

The Wolins are co-directors of Project Resilience, a private organization in Washington DC that consults to schools, clinics and prevention agencies. Since the Wolins began their work on resilience in the late 80’s, they have presented more than 200 workshop across the country and abroad, for instance, to state and county child welfare departments, alcohol and drug prevention agencies, school systems, professional associations, and mental health clinics.

asking tough questions and giving honest answers.


Authors as Published

Rick Peterson, Extension Specialist and Assistant Professor, Department of Human Development and Stephen Green, Graduate Student, Department of Human Development, Virginia Tech

How much the family as a whole shows interest in and values the activities and interests of family members is affective involvement (Epstein, et al., 1993).

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Affective Involvement

Healthy families are able to maintain a consistent level of involvement with one another, yet at the same time, not become too involved in each other’s lives. Therefore, the focus is on how much, and in what ways, family members show their interest and investment in each other. Affective (emotional) involvement is concerned with how much family members are involved with each other, and not with what a family does together. Both overinvolvement and underinvolvement are patterns of behavior that can pose problems for families.

Degrees of Involvement

The degree to which family members are involved in each other’s lives is an important factor in family functioning. The level can range from overinvolvement at one end of the scale to a total absence of involvement at the other. Families that show little, if any, interest or investment in each other except for shared instrumental (practical) functions, such as handling money, are an example of an underinvolved family. In this case, family members act more like boarders in a house than like family members.

Some underinvolved families share some interests but show very little investment of self in the feelings or life situations of other family members. Often, the members of such families are self absorbed and invest in other family members only when they can gain something from the involvement.

In overinvolved families, the members become too involved and sometimes are overprotective of other family members. As a result, the overprotected members remain dependent and fail to grow and develop. Overinvolvement may create conflict and resentment among family members who try to break out of the dependency role.

Symbiotic involvement occurs when the involvement is so intense that the boundaries between two or more family members are blurred. Boundaries are the rules that define a personºs role in the family. Symbiotic involvement is thought to be the least effective type of involvement because family member’s boundaries are not respected. Without boundaries it is difficult to identify who the parent is and who the child is because their roles are often confused.

The healthiest families have a type of interaction called empathic involvement where the members have an emotional investment in one another and care deeply about each other’s activities and feelings. Families whose members show that they truly care about what others are doing, even though it may not be related to their own interests, are the most effective type of families.

Suggestions for Developing Healthy Family Involvement

Healthy families protect their boundaries, but at the same time, give members room to negotiate their independence. Achieving this balance is often difficult in our fast-paced culture. And it is particularly difficult in families with adolescents.

Families whose members want to increase their involvement with one another need to set aside time during the week when they can tell each other about their interests, jobs, hobbies or activities. On a weekly basis, the focus could shift from one member to the next until each has had a turn in sharing. Family members will need to listen and ask questions to better understand what is important to each other.

The goal of this exercise is to familiarize family members with each other’s interests, what is important to them, what bothers them, and the way they look at things. Gaining a better understanding of each other’s lives helps family members to be involved and concerned about each other. Families who can achieve this empathic involvement will function more effectively.

Overinvolved families create hard feelings among family members with intrusive and over-protective behavior. These families need to reduce the overinvolvement by some family members, which allows room for others to accept their family responsibilities.

Changing your family’s style of involvement is not an easy task. However, steps can be taken to promote change within the family by using family meetings.

Family Meeting Steps

A meeting provides a safe, structured environment where family members feel free to bring up issues and concerns they may have about the family. The meeting is a way to share hopes and achievements as well as to resolve family conflicts. Families may use the following steps to set up their meetings:

  • Set a definite and regular time and place to meet.
  • The meeting should include the whole family, but no one should be forced to attend.
  • A chairperson should be chosen and that role should be rotated among family members who are capable of leading the meeting.
  • The purpose of the meeting is to hear family member’s concerns, find solutions to family problems, or make plans for enjoyable family activities. No one should attack or blame other family members during the meeting.
  • Everyone can bring up issues and discuss concerns that affect the well-being of the family. For example, parents may seek agreement on who is to do certain chores. Children may voice concerns about gaining more independence or they may make plans for a family outing. (Try using the problem-solving process found in VCE Publication 350-091.)

 Family meetings can be called any time to resolve issues or problems that come up in the family.

  • Family meetings can be called any time to resolve issues or problems that come up in the family.
  • Decisions made during the meeting cannot be changed or ignored, but can be renegotiated at another family meeting.
  • Everyone must carry out the decisions made in the meeting.
  • Family members must feel that they are being heard and respected, and that their issues are taken seriously. End the meeting in a positive manner by complimenting one another or by going out for ice cream.

A family meeting can be a way to address family issues, discuss concerns, resolve family problems, and plan for family activities and outings. However, families should be cautious because learning a new skill is difficult and takes time to master. Family members spending quality time together is a way to develop affective involvement.

Focus on Family Strengths

Emotional involvement is a key to successful family functioning. Researchers have identified several characteristics of strong families. Among these are expressions of appreciation, spending time together, strong commitment to the family, good communication, and positive conflict resolution.

When family members feel they are supported and encouraged, and that their personal interests are valued, family interaction becomes more effective. If your family would like to improve its family involvement, try using the family meeting.

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Family members spending quality time together is a way to develop affective involvement.

Family Assessment

Successful Healthy families periodically take inventory of their strengths and weaknesses and take steps to improve their home and family environment.

 Isn’t it time your family took an inventory of how well it is doing?

Source: The Virginia Cooperative Extension

CTF’s Fatherhood Initiative’s Ten Tips for being a Great Dad

1. Respect Your Child’s Mother.                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

 If you are married, keep your marriage strong and vital. If you aren’t married, it is still important to respect and support the mother of your children.

2. Spend time with your children.
How a father spends his time tells his children what’s important to him. By sharing time with your children, you tell them they are important to you.

3. Earn the right to be heard.
Too often a father only speaks to his children when they have done something wrong. Begin talking with your kids when they are young, praise them and take time to listen to their ideas and problems.

4. Discipline with love.
All children need guidance and discipline, not as punishment, but to set reasonable limits. Remind your children of the consequences of their actions and provide meaningful rewards for good behavior.

5. Read to your children.
Begin reading to your children when they are very young. Instilling your children with a love for reading is one of the best ways to ensure they will have a lifetime of personal and career growth.

6. Show affection.
Children need the security that comes from knowing they are wanted and loved by their family. Parents, especially fathers, need to feel comfortable and willing to hug their children. Showing affection every day is the best way to let your children know that you love them.

7. Eat together as a family.
Sharing a meal together can be an important part of family life. It gives kids the chance to talk about what they are doing and is a good time for fathers to listen and give advice.

8. Be a teacher and a role model.
A father will see his children make good choices because he has taught them about right and wrong and encouraged them to do their best. By demonstrating honesty, humility and responsibility, fathers can show their children what is important in life. A daughter who grows up with a loving father learns that she deserves to be treated with respect.

9. Realize that a father’s job is never done.
Even after children are grown and leave the home, they will still look to their fathers for wisdom and advice. Fathers continue to play an essential part in the lives of their children as they make decisions about education, jobs, marriage and starting their own families.

10. Reach out to other parents for support.
Discuss parenting with other parents – both moms and dads. Share ideas, solve problems, find out what other parents are doing to tackle issues of discipline, safety, and communication. Get to know the parents of your kid’s friends. Consider joining or starting a dads’ group in your area. You can learn a lot, find support and camaraderie and enjoy parenting more when you are friends with other parents.

Source: click here.