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The Father Factor

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LeVar Burton of Reading Rainbow: On Dads’ Reading to Their Kids

This post is from LeVar Burton. LeVar is the Actor/Producer who Co-Founded Reading Rainbow Kidz. Interested in blogging for us? Read our guest blog guidelines.

As a father of two, I know from personal experience how difficult it is for working dads to find time to spend with their kids. Time really seems to be the scare “currency” of the 21st century. So when we do spend time with our children, spending it wisely is imperative. It probably comes as no surprise to you that for me, reading is one of the best ways I know to make great quality out of scarce quantity.

Fathering from a "Frozen" Perspective

Disney has done it again. I'm not sure if it's the music (yeah, I admit, I want the soundtrack; you know, for my daughters!), the setting in Norway (I want to go to there), or the story of two sisters (I'm the dad of two daughters), but Disney's newest epic adventure Frozen tugs on my heart-strings. While watching the film, I sat "cold" in my seat, partially because Disney pulls you into another world with it's 3D version of Arendelle, but mostly because I saw my daughters in Elsa and Anna. Here's what I mean...

Pork: Your Secret Ingredient for the Perfect Thanksgiving

National Fatherhood Initiative and National Pork Board partnered for this guest post. Fatherhood and Pork? It just make sense. Find more tasty recipes at www.PorkBeInspired.comInterested in blogging for us? Read our guest blog guidelines.

Thanksgiving is a day we look forward to all year; one we embrace for the opportunity to feast on good food and enjoy quality time with friends and family. However, as delicious and heartwarming as it can be, Thanksgiving can also become time-consuming and stressful if you’re the one hosting the meal.  

Be an Awesome Dad. But If All Else Fails, Just Dance.

The Huffington Post writer Todd Van Luling did something awesome. He compiled a list of 19 Lessons Great Dads Can Teach You About Being a Better Father.

Join Us for #EngagingDads Twitter Chat: Today at 3pm EST.

Please join us for the #EngagingDads Twitter Chat to discuss best practices in fatherhood, and what youth-serving programs and professionals can do to engage fathers in the lives of adolescents!

Dinner Advice for the Hectic Holidays

This post is from Cheryl Tallman, co-founder of Fresh Baby. Interested in blogging for us? Read our guest blog guidelines.            

NFI Partners with U.S. Army to Place Fatherhood Resources on Installations Worldwide

NFI Fatherhood Skill-building Materials Being Distributed to New Parent Support Programs on 69 Army Installations

Germantown, MD (PRWEB) November 12, 2013

Moms Should “Lean In” …to Fatherhood

The mommy wars continue. Should today’s women dedicate themselves more to their careers so they can “catch up” to men – to “lean in” as Sheryl Sandberg suggests – or should they dedicate themselves more to motherhood because their kids need them?  

How about a third way?  

I propose that if moms want to do better at both parenting and work, they have to “lean in” to fatherhood.  

Help Us Give a Second Chance to Dads Like Marvin

Dad’s Guide to Back-To-School Gadgets

Thank God kindergarteners don't need laptops. With my firstborn attending kindergarten soon, clothes and supplies are enough expense. You have no doubt seen the legendary lists of supplies from your child’s school by now. NFI may not be helpful as it pertains to fashion (considering our president has written extensively, and sadly in favor of, the fanny pack!). But as it pertains to tech and gadgets, we can offer our "expert" opinion. 

Help Us Reach Dads and Help Kids Through Texting

Fathers, President Obama & BBQ!

Our 2012 Military Fatherhood Award recipient had a big day yesterday!

Father’s Day Is For Fathers: Why WIRED ‘Gets It’ and Others Don’t

Since WIRED’s June cover for National Geek Dad Day released, some folks have been buzzing about whether the tech magazine is singling out dads too much. NFI praises WIRED for celebrating dads and encouraging intentional time with their kids. The haters just don’t get it.

The current issue instructs dads on "How to be a Geek Dad," by building hovercrafts, making electric play-doh, building forts with broomsticks and string, and basically being the coolest, most amazing dads ever.

Are Dads Really Clueless About Their Own Health?

I was doing some browsing on the Web when I came across a blog entry from Dr. David Katz, founder of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. The entry focused on the fact that men, especially fathers, need to turn a deeper focus on health and weight control. At NFI, we’ve made several references to the importance of health in men throughout our variety of resources and content. However, the doctor’s blog featured a few sentences that made me question just how thickheaded are men about getting healthy.

Dads And Depression: Are You Passing Your Symptoms To Your Children?

I can admit to the Father Factor readers that I’ve struggled with depression over the years, with therapy and group sessions aiding me through the rough patches. Various things happened over the course of my life that led to my diagnosis, but I tried hard to mask the pain. This is a dangerous practice done by lots of people, especially men. This could prove to be even more troubling if you happen to be a father.

There is a disturbing lack of research showing what being a depressed father does to children in the home– until recently. A study undertaken by NYU researchers found that one out of every four children who are raised in a home with depressed parents soon develop mental health issues of their own. This nationwide study captured data from 7,247 US households where the parents and children all lived. Of that number, 6% of the fathers showed results that suggested they were depressed.

Further numbers in the research paper show other alarming stats: 15% of children with a depressed father showed symptoms; 20% of children with a depressed mother showed symptoms and, lastly, 25% of children living with two depressed parents showed symptoms. Factors influencing the depressive symptoms in parents included poverty, joblessness, and having a child with special health care needs.

Amazingly, this is the first large study done on male depression as it relates to fatherhood although there is plenty research on maternal and postpartum/postnatal depression. One could suggest that men are typically insular with their emotions and cope silently. Another point could be that many men don’t even know where to go for resources. When was the last time you saw a men’s mental health care center in your neighborhood? Do you know of any outreach groups doing work on a large scale?

I can tell you from my own experience that finding help for my depression was an epic task. I called therapists and counselors who all had many female clients but barely any male patients. Finding groups to talk about my issues also proved difficult, as I scoured the Internet and newspaper classifieds for assistance. Eventually, I did find some help.

It was important for me to move beyond my depression as a father. I know that my child watches every move, so it became necessary for me to make sure she doesn’t repeat my mistakes. If we want to make certain as fathers and parents to not pass on bad physical health habits, we have to start including our mental health in that equation as well.

Are you, or a father you know, suffering with depression? Do you think fathers pass on bad mental health habits to their children? Leave us a comment below or tweet to us at: @thefatherfactor. You can also like and comment on our Facebook page by following this link.

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