esteem and grade point averages
Researchers Marsha Kline Pruett and
Dr. Kyle Pruett specialize in research
into father involvement and co-
parenting. She’s a faculty member with
the Smith College School for Social Work
and he’s a clinical professor of child
psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine.
They’ve written a number of papers
and publications, including Partnership
Parenting. They say the children of
involved dads are also more sociable as
infants, more welcoming and accepting
of younger brothers and sisters and are
more able to understand and care about
how others feel.
In other words, a dad who is reallyinto his kids has a lot to offer his kids.And it’s a bit different from what theirmom offers.
“We used to believe it was the samebetween mothers and children andfathers and children,” said Marsha Pruettduring an interview in Calgary withApple magazine in 2016. “We now havegood research that they bring somethingdifferent but equally important to childrearing.”She explains: Mothers tend to soothetheir children when they’re hurt or upsetor in need of security and comfort.
Fathers help their children learn manyskills, including learning to control theirexcitement and aggression and figuringout their place in the world. Fathersare particularly good at helping theirchildren solve problems and toleratefrustration, as well as manage theirfeelings with their siblings, peers andclassmates. Dads also tend to use playto help kids solve problems more thanmoms do.
A child’s relationship with andattachment to both parents matters, inpart because fathers don’t mother andmothers don’t father. Their parentingstyles may be different but they’reequally valuable in childhood and laterlife.
The Pruetts have dedicated much oftheir careers to helping fathers be morevisible in the lives of their children, theirfamilies and their communities.
The Supporting Father Involvementprogram they developed with colleaguesPhilip and Carolyn Cowan has been heldin several communities across the UnitedStates and in the United Kingdom.
It has also been offered with thesupport of the Palix Foundation througha number of Parent Link Centresin Alberta. The Pruetts have alsowoven the story of involved dads intocurriculum they’ve developed for clinicalneurosciences and early childhooddevelopment programs in the province.
Marsha Pruett says the story ofinvolved dads is one that more peopleneed to know and appreciate. “Ingeneral, children who spend more timewith their fathers are bolder—becausethey’re raised to be less tentative andcautious. The boldness in today’s worldis incredibly helpful—especially forgirls.” |a
A dad who is really intohis kids has a lot to offerthem. And it’s differentfrom what their momoffers
An involved father (or malecaregiver) is someone who,in his relationship with hischildren, is:
• Responsible for his kids,and responsibly behaved
• Emotionally engaged
• Physically accessible
• Materially supportive
• Involved in childcare
• Influential in child-rearingdecisions.
The Alberta Family WellnessInitiative (AFWI) offers theSupporting Father Involvement(SFI) program at four locations,and through four differentcommunity groups in Alberta.Designed for families of allbackgrounds and basedon research, the programsencourage fathers to becomeor stay positively involved withtheir young children.
To learn more, contact theSFI program nearest you:
• Family Services of CentralAlberta (Red Deer):
• Family Centre Societyof Southern Alberta(Lethbridge): 403-320-4232or firstname.lastname@example.org
• Norwood Child andFamily Resource CentreEdmonton: 780-471-3737
• Western Rocky View ParentLink Centre (Cochrane):