{ Championing Fatherhood }

Educating and inspiring practitioners and staff in human service organizations.

The Power of Friendship in Fatherhood

Posted by Ave Mulhern

Most Recent Fatherhood Posts

Mar 7, 2023


In National Fatherhood Initiative®’s (NFI’s) 24:7 Dad® and InsideOut Dad® programs, there are sessions on men’s health that encourage dads to take care of themselves so they can care for and be there for their children. By modeling these good habits, their children are more likely to emulate them.

Among a list of tips in those sessions is to spend time with friends.

So, why are friends such a vital element in being a great dad?

The Australian Fatherhood organization Dads4Kids, recently posted in their Daily Dad newsletter, an article called “The Incredible Power of Friendship” by Brad Stulberg, Author and High Level Performance Coach. He says,

The people with whom you surround yourself have an enormous impact on your life. In many ways, they shape it.

“Close friends can significantly influence some of our most important behaviors.”

Mr. Stulberg goes on to explain 3 different kinds of friendship based on the philosopher Aristotle’s insights that still ring true today:

  • Friendships based on utility, in which one or both of the parties gain something as a result of the friendship (think: much of the modern “networking enterprise or becoming friends with someone because you think they can help you).
  • Friendships based on pleasure, or those centered around pleasant experiences (think: people with whom you can have a good, carefree time).
  • Friendships based on virtue, in which both individuals share the same values (think: people whom you admire and respect, and with whom you align on what you find most important in life).

Many dads who enroll in fatherhood programs have toxic friendships that reinforce poor or bad behaviors and can derail them in their role as fathers or husbands/partners.

In NFI’s framework for the 24:7 Dad® and InsideOut Dad® programs, the theory of planned behavior focuses on pro-fathering attitudes (i.e., developing favorable attitudes among fathers about being involved in their children’s lives), pro-fathering norms (i.e., fathers in the group exert social pressure on one another to become involved), and increasing the control fathers have over their ability to be involved (to perform pro-fathering behaviors).

We often receive feedback and testimonies from practitioners about the comradery that develops during these programs. Check out our Stories of Impact to see for yourself or check out our Championing Fatherhood Blog to keep posted on such stories from your peers, or share your stories with us!

These dads go on to develop positive friendships with other dads in the group who become a source of positive change, accountability, and support in their fatherhood journey. These relationships are based on virtue and modeling these positive relationships to their children makes this even more powerful!

Learn more about the Father Engagement Academy by National Fatherhood Initiative

Topics: men's health, mentoring, Featured, General Fatherhood Program Resources, NFI-Specific Programs & Resources, mental health

Subscribe to Championing Fatherhood


Get the Father Engagement Resources You Need

Visit our Store