“You can’t paint a picture of what
an involved father looks like,” says
Stewart Adams, a group leader of
the Father Involvement Program
offered in Red Deer by Family Services
of Central Alberta. Playing together,
reading, sharing family dinners
and countless other activities from
planting a garden to riding bikes
will benefit children, “if it’s aimed
at helping them be a better person.
That’s going to look different from
one relationship to the next.”
Adams says parents will know when
they’re involved and when they’re not.
For research purposes, Dr. Marsha
Kline Pruett, the Maconda Brown
O’Connor Chair in Research at
the Smith School of Social Work,
a clinical/community psychologist
and a faculty member of the
Alberta Family Wellness Initiative,
defines an involved father (or male
caregiver) who, in his relationship with
— Lucas Warren
Supporting father involvement
The Alberta Family Wellness Initiative (AFWI) offers the Supporting Father Involvement
(SFI) program at four locations, and through four different community groups in Alberta.
Designed for families of all backgrounds and based on research, the pilot programs
encourage fathers to become or stay positively involved with their young children.
To learn more, contact the SFI program nearest you:
Since 2009, the AFII has offered
information for fathers, individuals,
agencies and programs working with
fathers. The initiative encourages male
caregivers to be responsibly involved with
(and, in turn, have a positive influence
on) the children in their lives. That the
AFII was originally funded by a private
corporation, Encana, shows more than
mothers and health professionals see
the benefits of father involvement.
“Encana felt that it was important
How to become
to address father involvement because
a majority of their employees were
men, a majority of the men were dads,
a majority of the dads worked away from
home,” Dillion says. “They felt
it was important to have something
that promoted responsible fatherhood.”
More employers — from oil and gas to
the Canadian military— are recognizing
their employees are happier and more
fulfilled when given the opportunity
to interact more with their children.
Being involved in a child’s life is as simple
as being involved.
You can read your child a story at
night or help make breakfast in the
morning. You watch the ballet lessons
and you juggle your schedule to go to
the parent/teacher interview. You share
laughs, sit down for dinner and go for
walks together. These experiences are
serve and return interactions (see page 17).
For me, fatherhood is sometimes a
little daunting — isn’t every parent
in awe of parenting once in a while?
But I am increasingly conscious that
the opportunities to connect with
my son before he grows up are fleeting.
I know every effort I make to be involved
is worth it, not just for my son or his
mother, but for me. Being involved makes
me actually enjoy being a dad, even if my
son sometimes thinks
I’m from another planet.