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Influential fathers

Influential Fathers on April 30 was the fourth segment of the virtual Children Are Gift (CAG) programme.

Previous CAG segments encouraged persons to develop balanced physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual lives, anchored in the God-centred virtues. Persons also learnt that discipline involves teaching, instruction and education, and that adoption is an act of love.

“Fathering is perhaps the greatest underutilised resource for raising responsible children… It is worth the effort (for fathers) to become more involved and connected and have more of an influence in their children’s life” (Parenting and Family Life, 2011).

In his presentation, Richard Smith disclosed that “being a daddy and a husband has not been easy” but daily, he is trying to be the best that he could be. He said that the “male father figure is missing” in the lives of many and “even if there is a male presence, the male emotional involvement is not there”.

Smith acknowledged that there are males who are trying to do the right things. Men were urged to become influential fathers by:

  • Spending as much solo time with their children as possible. Go out with your children individually at least 2–3 times a year (for example, to a movie or picnic). Each child must get that special attention to know that he or she is important. In cases where mothers are single parents, they are encouraged to find responsible and safe male models (such as uncles or coaches) with whom they and their children can interact (at least occasionally).
  • Ensuring that each child in a blended family gets equal love.
  • Being on-duty for parenting whenever they are home. “We do not hand over the car to someone else when we are frustrated in the traffic,” said Smith. “Handing over to the mother is undoing your role.” Fathers were encouraged to be leaders and to ask for help if they did not know what to do. Mothers were instructed to “give fathers the space to do what they have to do”.
  • Supporting wives’ efforts to discipline the children or disciplining the children themselves.
  • Developing a wide repertoire of parenting skills. Smith disclosed that he developed a repertoire of parenting by being open to change; observing other parents; and practising different skills. “Whatever you learn, adapt it and use it in your context…to see what works and what does not work.”

There are many factors that affect the relationship between a man and his children. “Some fathers feel that they are useless and unnecessary but…children need to find a father waiting for them when they return home with their problems” (177, Amoris Laetitia).

Further information about influential fathers as well as the factors that impact the father-child relationship can be obtained by viewing this segment on the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission’s (AFLC) Facebook and Instagram pages, @familylifecommission. The Parenting and Family Life manual costs only $50. Interested persons can contact the AFLC at 299-1047, email familylife@catholictt.org or visit the AFLC’s website at aflcrc.org.

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