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Fatherhood: Not for the Faint of Heart

man holding son on his shoulders walking on the street

Being a father is kind of a big deal. Dads are more than just a second parental figure in the home, they have the unique opportunity to serve as male role models for their children and to demonstrate what healthy, loving relationships can and should look like. They play a critical role in the lives of their children–from learning and development to providing a sense of safety and security, and even the successes their children will have as adults.

But, being a dad doesn’t necessarily come naturally and many men face barriers that can sometimes prevent them from being the best parent. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 18 million American children live in a home without their father. That’s approximately 1 in every 4 kids! This has been proven to be problematic in a number of ways. Data shows that children without an active father figure are at a greater risk of living in poverty, tend to have lower academic performance, are more likely to become pregnant as a teenager, are more likely to have behavioral problems, and are more likely to commit crimes and be incarcerated.

“Sometimes, I think, dads can be afraid of asking for help. There are a lot of toxic stigmas out there that men have to do everything on their own, but with POPS we actually practice just saying…I need help with….and letting them talk about their needs,” says Centerstone’s Sharon Campbell.

Compared to general parenting courses, there are very few programs that intentionally make fatherhood education a focal point, but Centerstone has been fortunate to operate the POPS (Providing Opportunities for Parental Success) Program since 2015. Funded by a grant award from the Administration for Children and Families, Centerstone’s POPS programs is a full-spectrum offering that provides dads with the tools and resources they need to better their relationship with their children and the rest of the family. This occurs in group settings and topics can include everything from financial literacy and communication skills to help finding employment and anger management. POPS participants also benefit from 1:1 case management services, as well.

Fatherhood isn’t for the faint of heart, and it doesn’t have to be done alone. With practice and maybe a little help along the way, all dads can learn to be their best selves for their children and family. If you or someone you know is struggling with relationship problems, mental health concerns, or a substance use disorder, Centerstone can help. You can easily connect with us by calling 1-877-HOPE123 (877-467-3123) today!

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