Working with Fathers to Enhance Relationship Skills
"The legal basis and public support involved in the institution of marriage helps to create the most likely conditions for the development of factors that children need most to thrive—consistent, stable, loving attention from two parents who cooperate and who have sufficient resources and support ... Marriage is not a guarantee of these conditions, however, and these conditions exist in other family circumstances, but they are less likely to." 1
"Growing up in a healthy, safe marriage is generally the best situation for children. However when this is not possible, children can also thrive if the parents cooperate and the father remains involved and responsible." 2
"We cannot focus on just the children and view parents as only a conduit to serve them. That approach to stopping generational cycles of poverty and incarceration has not worked. When we work to build healthy families by including the parents with relationship education and support services, we change a culture and establish a new legacy for generations to come." 3
In recent years, the responsible fatherhood field has expanded beyond its roots in employment and parenting services for low-income fathers, recognizing the need to also help fathers enhance their relationship skills.4 Research indicates that children raised by both parents in low‐conflict homes achieve better scores, on average, for a host of indicators.5 Non-residential fathers face various communication and relationship challenges that can affect engagement with their children and willingness to pay child support.6 By providing services to help fathers communicate openly in healthy, cooperative parenting relationships, programs can improve potential outcomes for children, irrespective of their parents’ living arrangements.
Fathers need to be able to successfully navigate different types of relationships, including spouse-partner, co-parent, parent-child, and workplace relationships.