Children do much better physically and emotionally when dad is involved right from the start. In fact, dad's physical presence at the birth of his child increases the likelihood his child will be a healthy newborn. It also means mom is likely to be healthier. On the other hand, when dad is absent, baby and mom are less likely to be healthy.
But what about after the child’s birth? How involved is dad at the earliest stage of his child's life? These are two vital questions, because based on research, a child with an involved dad is more likely to grow up healthy physically, emotionally, and socially.
The children of absent dads are more likely to have a range of health complications and low birth weight. And moms are more likely to have had complications during pregnancy.
Research shows when a child grows up in a father-absent home, he or she is at two times greater risk of infant mortality, four times more likely to live in poverty, more likely to face abuse and neglect, and seven times more likely to become pregnant as a teen. And unfortunately, there’s more to this list; view more father absence data at www.fatherhood.org/statistics.
Based on the above, it’s important that your organization and staff take this research to heart and do everything you can to involve fathers right from the start.
Here are a few ways you can leverage National Fatherhood Initiative resources to do just that:
- Share the above information with dads and moms from the moment you learn they want to have children or a pregnancy is confirmed. NFI’s Importance of an Involved Father Brochure is one of our newest resources to help you share this information in a simple and easy-to-understand way with mom and dad.
- Before baby is born, provide dads with training on how to be a great dad. NFI's 24/7 Dad®programs are excellent tools to use.
You can also give dads 10 Tips for Expectant Dads to provide expectant fathers with tips to help dad bond with baby, while helping mom-to-be.
- Before baby is born, provide moms with training on the importance of encouraging dad's involvement, and how to become a “gateway” to his involvement rather than a “gatekeeper”.
NFI's Understanding Dad™8-week program and Mom as Gateway™ FatherTopics Booster Session (run in 1-day or a few shorter sessions) are excellent tools to use.
The Importance of an Involved Father Brochure is also excellent to give to moms In fact, it also contains a short list of ways mom can encourage dad’s involvement.
- Before and right after baby is born, give moms and dads print and electronic resources (e.g. brochures, tip cards, and guides) on topics vital to raising healthy children, such as on child development and co-parenting.
NFI offers a myriad of resources for engaging fathers and encouraging father involvement. You can browse the above resources and more at fathersource.org, or for call us at 240-912-1263 for phone assistance. We’d be happy to recommend which resources are the best fits for your organization!