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A Fathers Impact

As a father, how you influence, foster a relationship, coach, teach and all the qualities that impact children is every day, all day. Years ago some of us may remember phrases we heard like “be a man”, “wait till your father gets home”, “you’re a girl, let a man do that”, “father knows best”, “you’re the man of the house”.  These phrases had a profound influence through media and, for many, how relationships formed between parent and child.  Thankfully and with many contributing factors (research, evolution, the women’s movement, etc.) the stereotype of being a “man”, a father, a partner, shifted.  How many of us remember the time dads were not allowed in the delivery room?  The celebration of being a dad took place in the waiting rooms with family and friends.  Hospitals today must now limit the number of people in the delivery room.  Fatherhood starts right at the beginning and never stops.

As a father, how you influence, foster a relationship, coach, teach and all the qualities that impact children is every day, all day.

Years ago some of us may remember phrases we heard like “be a man”, “wait till your father gets home”, “you’re a girl, let a man do that”, “father knows best”, “you’re the man of the house”.  These phrases had a profound influence through media and, for many, how relationships formed between parent and child.  Thankfully and with many contributing factors (research, evolution, the women’s movement, etc.) the stereotype of being a “man”, a father, a partner, shifted.  How many of us remember the time dads were not allowed in the delivery room?  The celebration of being a dad took place in the waiting rooms with family and friends.  Hospitals today must now limit the number of people in the delivery room.  Fatherhood starts right at the beginning and never stops.

When a child is brought into the world, the new parents dream about what they can offer their child.  We enter parenting with energy, excitement, with aspirations and expectations.  And while the couple navigates all the changes their “bundle of joy” brings, their child is continually listening, observing, reflecting, adjusting, taking it all in.

Have you ever heard a parent, grand-parent say “back in my day……..and you turned out ok”.  Are we settling at being an ok parent?  Is it “good enough” to “look after” our children?  What does that mean?  When you heard you were going to be a dad, did you say “We’re having a child and I’m striving to just be ok…good enough”.

Over the years, I have heard women say “but he’s a good dad”.  My response,
“good dads don’t harm women”.  It is well documented that predominately men are the perpetrators of abuse / violence against women.  If there is abuse in a relationship and there are children often children are impacted.  There is extensive research written by Linda Baker, Peter Jaffe on violence and abuse towards women and the impact on children.  It is a misconception that if the children are out of the home, they won’t know.  Jeffry Edleson, Oliver Williams, Linda Baker, Peter Jaffe, Lundy Bancroft a few of the researchers and authors clearly state, children know.  Research will also point out that children who witness abuse or violence are impacted in ways that affect their emotional development.  It is well documented that many children who are exposed to women abuse show comparable levels of emotional and behavioural problems as do children who were the direct victims of physical or sexual abuse (Jaffe,Wolfe, & Wilson, 1990).

Since 2013, MentorAction – an Interval House of Hamilton program – has been raising awareness about the role men play in gender-based violence, with a focus to raise awareness on the impact on women and girls.  Through our Be More Than A Bystander program the focus is education on redefining masculinity with clear vision of impact, equity, inclusion and healthy relationships.  Research shows that men are more likely than any other gender to both be responsible for, and to be receipt of, a violent crime. Male-on-male violence statistics are high and 7 in 10 people who experience family violence are women and girls.

According to a report in “Fathers and Their Impact on Children’s Well-Being,” published by the Department of Health and Human Services, “even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections.”  Research also shows, that the involvement of the parent must be healthy and positive

Children emulate what they see. As a parent, we want to be proud of our children and we want our children to be proud of us as parents.  As a dad, will you be proud of what your child emulates of their upbringing?

I’m sure you can agree we’ve heard the saying many times over the years.  Anyone can father a child, but it takes daily commitment of healthy teachings and modelling to be a great dad.