Parenting Skills


Parenting Skills

Most fatherhood curricula feature activities to help fathers focus on and improve their parenting skills. Several general parenting curricula also incorporate activities that can be used in fatherhood programs, although few are specifically designed for fathers. The following activities were designed specifically for group or one-to-one work with fathers. 

Understanding Children’s Ages and Stages from Pamela Wilson and Nigel Vann 
A 45-minute activity that involves teams of fathers competing to answer questions about child development. Designed to increase or reinforce participants’ knowledge of child development from birth through adolescence.

From Dealing With Children’s Behaviors in The Responsible Fatherhood Curriculum: A Curriculum Developed for the Parents' Fair Share Demonstration
Three activities that help fathers examine the difference between punishment and discipline and think about ways to discipline children in constructive, age-appropriate ways:

  • Looking Back, Looking Ahead 
    A 25‒30 minute activity to help participants identify how they were disciplined as children, examine how those experiences affect their parenting style today, and begin a conversation about effective alternatives to hitting as a means of correcting children’s behavior.
  • Punishment or Discipline? 
    A 20‒30 minute activity to clarify, define, and foster understanding of the terms discipline and punishment and help fathers understand the meaning of abuse.
  • What Do You Do? 
    A 40-minute activity with role-play situations can help fathers identify constructive and age-appropriate ways to deal with their children’s behavior. Features a handout for fathers called Age Makes a Difference that presents four basic guidelines for fathers to keep in mind as they discipline their children. It also provides age-specific hints for parents and includes “a word about spanking.”

This curriculum is available from MDRC.

Reading With Your Child 

This activity from Focus on Fathering helps fathers understand the important role that reading plays in children’s language development and later school success. This curriculum is available from Parents as Teachers.