One of the most frequent workshop question that I am asked is; “What does father involvement mean and what does that look like?” The goal of a father’s involvement is to nurture his child’s intellectual, emotional, physical, social and spiritual development. The key is to focus on his child’s strengths utilizing the natural assets of a father’s parenting style.
Teaching through Play - Teaching through play is what draws your children to you. Making learning fun is the hallmark of a father’s parenting style. Use games to teach them to learn their colors, numbers, shapes and the alphabet. Playing games by the rules teaches social emotional skills as well as nurturing intellectual and physical development.
Modeling & Coaching - We nurture our child’s intellectual and emotional development through modeling behavior or demonstrating how to do a task. Break tasks down into step by step processes. First model then coach them through the steps praising for each attempt and celebrating their accomplishment! Providing encouragement and praise is a vital part of your involvement.
Loving through Laughter - We teach our children to laugh at their mistakes by letting them see us laugh at our own mistakes. When children laugh WITH their father, it makes them feel good. The shared experience draws them closer to you and strengthens the relationship. Laughter is one of the ways to ignite or restore hope in your family. Being able to laugh with your family and laugh at yourself lets your children know that you are approachable. It makes them feel more comfortable to talk about their mistakes. Because they see you laughing at your silly mistakes, it makes you more transparent to your children. That enables your children to draw closer to you, because they understand that it’s ok to make mistakes in our house.
Intentional Involvement - Intentional father involvement takes time, patience and persistence, but ALL relationships require work if we want them to grow. It’s no different learning to improve your relationship with your child! With a little time and practice you will see that it is worth every effort!
Randell D. Turner, Ph.D. is Senior Associate & Child & Family Therapist with the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse. Throughout his two decades of dedication to the Fatherhood Movement, Dr. Turner has authored award winning Responsible Fatherhood resources, directed community based and re-entry fatherhood programming.