4 Things That Dads Need to Do to Be Connected to Their Family

Previously, I wrote about 3 Basic Problems in Allendale — education, teenage pregnancy, and disconnected dads. The latter issue I wrote about the least, but it is the most important of those three. Dads need to stay involved.

So what does it look for Dad to be connected? They need to be present, talk, play, and learn.

Dads Need to Be Present in the Family
I am not advocating that every pregnancy should lead to marriage (especially in teenage pregnancies). However, there is a downward spiral that looks like this:

  • Boy gets Girl pregnant.
  • Girl has baby. Boy abandons Baby (physically and/or emotionally).
  • Baby grows up without a father figure, to teach him how to be a man.
  • Baby is now Big Boy.
  • Big Boy gets Another Girl pregnant.

In America, about 40% of children are born out of wedlock, and this statistic is closer to 70% in the African-American community. See the video below from Coach Tony Dungy, who believes that a lack of fatherhood is America’s biggest problem.

Dads Need to Lovingly Engage and Talk
Especially in the case of dads, quality parenting does make a difference. More time with a dad who provides meaningful and caring support leads to a decrease in the incidence of risky sexual behavior in their daughters. Additionally, just two talks with teens leads to less marijuana use. We need to give both quality and quantity time.

Dads Need to Play

This cool guy needs me

In a study of 112 couples with 4-year-olds, the effect of parent’s role in “caregiving” versus “playing” was compared. Whereas one might expect that the parents’ relationship is strongest when both parents share the loads equally, this is not necessarily true. When Dad spends relatively more time playing, it provides a benefit to the family structure.

Dads Need to Grow and Learn
Whatever season you are in, I guarantee that you do not have it all figured out. But we need to seek help. As much as possible, we need to go to our kids’ appointments and talk to their teachers; and we don’t need to just show up, but ask questions too.

One of the most beneficial things I’ve done to grow as a husband and father is take older guys to breakfast and lunch. It doesn’t have to be an every-week or -month event. Some guys I only meet with once or twice per year. Again, come with questions (even better, email them to the other guy ahead of time).

We need to grow in wisdom if we are to lead our families.

These four things — being present, talking, playing, and learning — are true for Dads in Allendale, in Greenville, and anywhere. As I’ve learned in material from Men’s Roundtable, we need to reject passivity, accept responsibility, and lead courageously.

Anything else you can add? What else do Dads need to do to be connected?

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