Sports fans are probably well aware of the importance of good teamwork. I spend a lot of time watching television broadcasts of games between the top soccer teams in England. It’s often the partnership between two or three key players that leads to a good team performance–if one of those players is missing or not contributing like they normally do, it can negatively impact the team.
If you think about it, the same is true in most walks of life. You probably perform better at work when you can work on a task with a helpful co-worker. I bet most successful people (think entrepreneurs, politicians, movie stars, etc.) wouldn’t be where they are today without the help they have received along the way from allies, advisers, or partners. Even leading social media organizations rely on internet providers and advertisers who work with them to ensure that their platforms are widely available
Partnerships are certainly central to much of the work in the responsible fatherhood and family strengthening fields. The work that we do at fatherhood.gov would not be possible without the support and encouragement of the Office of Family Assistance, and I could not do my job here without the support of my National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC) colleagues and their mix of passion, skills, and experience. Similarly, those of you who are providing essential services for fathers and families often rely on the assistance and support of community partners who help with everything from funding and recruitment, to referrals for essential services such as housing and health needs, to job placement and more.
However, nowhere are effective partnerships as important as they are in our personal lives. Our marriages and intimate relationships are better, healthier, and more satisfactory when we work together as loving, supportive partners. Most importantly of all, children do better when their parents work together as efficient coparents--with each other and any other adults (e.g., grandparents, uncles, stepparents) who share responsibility for raising the children.
Hot off the NRFC presses
We recently posted the following two new publications that underscore the importance of partnerships for fatherhood programs and for parents and their children.
- Promoting Positive Co-parenting Relationships: Tips for Fatherhood Programs and Fathers. This information brief provides tips for positive co-parenting, and details the benefits that accrue when all the responsible adults in a child’s life work together in an effective partnership:
- For children, having parents who work together as effective co-parents is associated with greater academic achievement and social skills, and they are also less likely to feel depressed, anxious, or abandoned if their parents are separated or divorced.
- For parents, those who are able to work together as supportive co-parents tend to experience less parenting stress and feel more capable as parents.
- Tip Card for Fatherhood Practitioners: Building Effective Partnerships shows how program partners can help increase recruitment, expand services, and expand community awareness.
- The tip card also provides ideas and resources to help build effective partnerships in your community.
For programs, effective partnerships require a common understanding of: goals; trust, respect, and clear communication between partners; shared leadership and decision making; an investment of time; and flexibility.
And that’s pretty much what it takes to be an effective co-parent too!
This blog was written by Nigel Vann at Fathers Incorporated on behalf of the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse under contract to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance. Nigel has over 30 years of experience in the responsible fatherhood field. He has worked with the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse since 2008. He leads the NRFC’s development of resources for practitioners, is the main author of the Responsible Fatherhood Toolkit, and facilitates the NRFC Webinar series.
Prior to his work with the NRFC, he managed Maryland's Absent Parents Employment Program; served as Program Officer for Public/Private Ventures' Young Unwed Fathers Pilot Project; and was Director of Partnership Development and Training for NPCL. He earned his M.A. in Sociology from East Tennessee State University and B.A. from University of East Anglia, UK. As a contributing author to The DadTalk Blog, Nigel has written on topics such as father and child communication, domestic violence, and supporting young fathers.