Fatherhood is a serious undertaking, one which many men face unexpectedly. Society tends to focus on the needs of the mother and her children but will frequently forget that men need help too. At centers that run fatherhood initiative programs, counselors and support workers understand the impulse to run away; that men of all ages often feel under qualified for a parental role, as though the child would be better off if they left. Support agencies, however, believe that empowered and educated men make great fathers.
Advocating for Fathers
When organizations support fathers, they are also helping children and mothers to create healthy families. Non-profit groups working in urban environments see a lot of single-parent families and are witnesses to what the absence of a father does to his children, especially the young men who lack a male role model or desire a positive one. They see the struggles of single mothers to provide financially and also the violence or depression which can erupt from constant pressure and frustration turned outward or inward.
What Are the Issues at Play?
Often when a man makes the choice to abandon the mother of his child, he is influenced by several factors. They include unemployment, poverty, and fear. Some fathers were part of the family before incarceration and require assistance as they re-integrate into society. Re-entering a child’s life can be a delicate business. When a man leaves or is imprisoned, the mother and her child are also faced with poverty and fear while employment becomes a trickier issue given the concern of locating affordable, trustworthy childcare when extended family is unavailable or unsuitable. Eventually, abandoned children might repeat the cycle.
Keeping Fathers in the Loop
Whether the mother and father stay together or not, it is in the interest of his children that he will remain on the scene in some way. Counselors and social workers hope to encourage his involvement by eliminating burdens of financial instability and help him cope with or overcome his fears. He will receive employment counseling, resume writing guidance, direction as to where he can apply for work, and possibly funding to retrain if the candidate qualifies. Emotional support is provided by a different set of counselors and social workers monitor the father’s progress and also ensure a family’s safety.
Some fathers will leave no matter what non-profit organizations exist and in spite of every effort to prepare them for parenthood. They are simply too afraid of being fathers or totally inconsiderate of those people their actions affect. In certain instances, it is better if a father is absent, but most of the time he can be taught to enjoy his role and take responsibility without feeling overwhelmed. When that happens, communities benefit overall. Children with two parents who are not abusive or faced with poverty are statistically less likely to commit crime or self-harm and are more successful in school. They and their mothers are emotionally healthier, even though times can be very hard. Everyone benefits from fatherhood initiative programs. Moreover, successful participants go on to become advocates of a younger generation.