Why Fatherhood Community is Important

Children are better off with present, actively involved, nurturing dads. You have probably heard the statistics related to father absence so we won’t spend much time on this. Here are a few reminders. Compared to their peers with absent fathers, children with present and engaged dads:

  • They are better able to control their emotions.
  • Have better physical health.
  • Have healthier relationships.
  • Feel safe and confident.
  • They are less likely to use drugs and alcohol.
  • Perform better in school.
  • They are less likely to be poor.
  • They are more likely to stay out of trouble.

For more information, see the blog post “The Long-term Consequences of Growing Up Without a Father” on our website.

Without question, kids need loving, actively participating dads and good moms as parenting partners to have the best outcomes. Nurturing dads, stepfathers, and other male caregivers do an amazing job of co-parenting and single parenting. Unfortunately, 24 million in the US are growing up in a home where their biological fathers do not live. Not included in that massive number are the untold millions of children with fathers who are physically present but are aloof, neglectful, abusive, or otherwise non-supportive of their children. There have been good-faith efforts to improve these numbers. However, it is a harsh reality that men are difficult to reach and engage in fatherhood programs.

Admit it or Not, We Fathers Need Help.

Over my many decades as a male, a dad, a mentor of men, a minister, and a professional fatherhood practitioner, I have learned a few things about us guys. Call us stubborn, hardheaded, and prideful, but many dislike asking for help. As a good friend and longtime fellow fatherhood practitioner, Burl Lemon recently said: “Men will run out of gas before asking for (driving) directions. They will work with broken bones before they go to a doctor. They will bandage and be in pain to score a touchdown, even if they know it’s their last…” It is unsurprising that many men won’t seek fathering advice.

Regarding parenting, some fathers think they’re doing well but don’t know what they don’t know. They parent as they were parented, often in ways that are not nurturing or are downright toxic. But that’s how they were raised, so it must be right, they reason. Some are not parenting at all. Alcohol and drug addiction, incarceration, and mental health issues contribute to that. Further, workaholism, frequent business trips, or military deployments take fathers out of their children’s lives.

The Suffering is Real for Some

Many other fathers are denied access to their offspring by their children’s mothers, from whom they are estranged. Denial of parenting time is sometimes justified because the father is a danger to his child. However, access to the child is often due primarily to the mother’s hostility. This is a painful situation for many fathers. It is the child who suffers most from separation from their father and parental alienation.

One of the most heart-wrenching things is the tears of a noncustodial parent who longs to spend time with their child. Although he may have made mistakes in his relationship with his child’s mother, people change. He may have failed as a parent early on but is sincerely trying to be better. He may have spent time in a penal institution and has seen the error of his ways. Perhaps he did not have a mature and responsible male role model. Whatever the case, every effort should be made to help him be the dad his child needs. Fellow fathers are a great potential resource for such men. That is if they are connected in some way.

Never Give Up on a Father

I have come to know several men who grew up without good fathers yet are determined to do better for their children and, as a result, are some of the best fathers I know. That is reason enough for me to never give up on a man. Yet, largely on their own, these guys turn out great as dads! They should be celebrated for destroying the fatherlessness curse from their families. Their stories should be shared with other dads as inspiration for them. Your story, too, is worth sharing. You would benefit from hearing the stories of others. For that, we need to be connected.

Fatherhood Programs Only Help so Much

Try as they may, government agencies and taxpayer-funded efforts at fatherhood initiatives of one kind or another have had limited success in significantly supporting fathers in their quest to be their best as parents. Community and faith-based programs struggle to find sustainable long-term funding for working with fathers. National nonprofit organizations provide helpful resources but lack the necessary relationships with individual dads to make much of a difference in their lives. I believe that a better strategy for building the institution of fatherhood should begin with the dads themselves. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we fathers need each other.

A Better Strategy for Strengthening Your Fathering Skills

Men from various backgrounds and experiences bring a lot to the table. Each one of us has something to share. Good, bad, or ugly. We can learn from each other’s fatherhood story. What to do, what not to do. What to do better. That requires us to talk to each other and build relationships together.

We fathers need each other for a variety of reasons, both practical and emotional. Here are some key points:

1. Fathers Need Mutual Support and Guidance:

  • Fatherhood can be isolating: Dads often face unique challenges and pressures that mothers might not fully understand. Having a community of other fathers to share experiences, vent frustrations, and seek advice can be invaluable.
  • Mentorship and learning: More experienced fathers can offer guidance and support to newer dads, sharing tips and tricks on diaper changes and building a strong parent-child bond.
  • Role models and accountability: Seeing other fathers navigate the joys and difficulties of fatherhood can provide inspiration and motivation. Knowing that other dads face similar challenges can also foster a sense of accountability and encourage positive behaviors.

2. Fathers Need to Support Each Other’s Emotional Well-being:

  • Breaking down stereotypes: Traditional masculinity often discourages men from expressing emotions or seeking help. Having a supportive network of other fathers can create a safe space to vulnerability and emotional expression.
  • Combating loneliness and isolation: Fatherhood can be a lonely journey at times, especially for stay-at-home dads or those without strong family support. Connecting with other fathers can combat loneliness and provide a sense of belonging.
  • Building self-confidence: Sharing experiences and receiving positive reinforcement from other fathers can boost confidence and self-esteem in their parenting abilities.

3. Benefits for Children of Fatherhood Community:

  • Stronger family relationships: When fathers have strong support systems, they are better able to be present and engaged fathers, which benefits the entire family.
  • Diverse perspectives: Children learn from interacting with different types of men and fathers, broadening their understanding of masculinity and healthy relationships.
  • Reduced stress and conflict: A father who feels supported and less isolated is likely to be less stressed and have a more positive demeanor, creating a more harmonious family environment.

Overall, fathers need each other to navigate the challenges and joys of fatherhood, build stronger families, and create a more supportive and inclusive environment for themselves and their children. It’s important to note that these are just some general reasons why fathers need each other. The specific needs of individual fathers will vary depending on their circumstances and personalities. However, the benefits of building strong connections with other fathers are undeniable and can have a lasting positive impact on fathers, their families, and society.

Reaching Fathers to Join in Community

Building camaraderie among fathers is challenging. People are busy. Getting men to commit to regular meetings, even though they may agree with the reasons for meeting together, is daunting. A good strategy is to engage them where they already are. That is on their mobile phones.

  • Eighty-five percent of all US adults own a smartphone.
  • Each day, they spend over three hours on their phones and check them 58 times.
  • Smartphone automatic notifications are the most effective means of reaching fathers.

Do you have a mobile device that is connected to the Internet? If so, Fathering Strong is your portal to joining a movement of building community among fathers.

Fathering Strong Exists to Connect, Engage and Empower Fathers

Fathering Strong is an online community where: •

  • Dads can connect to learn from others as they become better fathers.
  • Fathers can share their stories with others
  • They can build mutually beneficial relationships.
  • Dads become more engaged in the development of their children.

1. Connect

Because fathers benefit greatly from mutual encouragement, enrichment, and shared experiences, we created an online and mobile platform for connecting communities of dads.

2. Engage

We engage men in healthy online and mobile communities with other fathers who are seeking to grow stronger as parents and parenting partners for the sake of their children.

3. Empower

We empower fathers to be holistically healthier, and better nurturers of their children resulting in more stable families and communities.

Imagine Fathers Encouraging Each Other

Visualize fathers joining together in community. Imagine them, over time, forming deep bonds, holding each other accountable, and encouraging one another to be their best as fathers. Think about how awesome it will be for young men who grew up without loving and nurturing fathers to find willing mentors, and for more experienced fathers to be empowered to make a difference in the life of another dad. Imagine the benefit to children.

Join Fathering Strong

Fathering Strong is here to help you have a great beginning to 2024. By joining, you will be on a path to setting and achieving your parenting goals for the year. To connect with other dads. To gain new skills for effective communication. You will be on your way to maintaining a healthy work-life balance, strengthening your co-parenting relationship, taking care of your own well-being, and much much more.

You’ll be on the road to making this a better world for children – your own, and the children of other fathers in your new virtual community. It begins by registering, downloading the free Fathering Strong app, and turning on the notifications.

Do it today, and for you, 2024 will be a New Year and a New Beginning.

Click here to Join Fathering Strong

Get started on the right track in 2024 – Register for one of the new communities starting in January.