Friday, January 30, 2009

Parenting: A How To Be Responsible Father Curriculum

MDRC, formerly known as the Manpower Development Research Corporation publishes a Responsible Fatherhood Curriculum available on their website.

It available in PDF format and easily downloaded using Adobe Reader available for free at the Adobe website.

The curriculum is separated into twenty sessions including:

  • Introduction to Responsible Fatherhood
  • What Are My Values?
  • Boys to Men: Experiencing Manhood
  • Art of Communication
  • Fathers as Providers
  • Noncustodial Fathers: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Developing Values in Children
  • Coping as a Single Father
  • Dealing with Children's Behaviors
  • Relationships: Being a Friend, Partner, Parent, and Employee
  • Understanding Male-Female Relationships
  • Managing Conflict and Handling Agner
  • Handling Anger and Conflict on the Job
  • Surviving on the Job
  • Issue of Race/Racism Part I
  • Issue of Race/Racism Part II
  • Takinig Care of Business
  • Managing Your Time and Money
  • Building a Support Network: Who's On Your Side?
  • Alcohol and Drug Use and Abuse Part I
  • Alcohol and Drug Use and Abuse Part II
The curriculum is designed in such a way that it presents information about the roles men fill as fathers and their relationships with others. It also guides men through interactions with other men who have similar situations while they build skills that better prepare them for their relationships with others both on and off the job. The emphasis of the program is peer support.

More about what it means to be a responsible father is available at the Annie E. Casey Foundation including information about key factors to consider when establishing a responsible fatherhood programming.

More about resources for helping fathers become more responsible will follow in future postings.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Children and Their Parents

Children depend on their parents to help them meet their needs. Children also depend on their parents to help them learn how to meet their needs.

If a parent is incarcerated, children find barriers to communicating with that parent. Some of those barriers are the:
  • institutional policies and practices,
  • child's beliefs about what has happened,
  • parent's sense of responsibility, and
  • other caregivers in the family.
So what happens to the relationship between parent and child when a parent is incarcerated?

Since the relationships children have with their fathers are disrupted by the crime that led to an arrest, conviction, and imprisonment, the needs of both the child and the parent require attention.

For example, fathers who are incarcerated need to learn the
  • effects of their incarceration on their children,
  • effects of the crimes they committed on their children,
  • consequences of the incarceration on themselves, and
  • how to prevent those events from recurring.
The children of incarcerated parents need to learn
  • how to cope with the trauma of loss, and change,
  • what it all means to the family,
  • who is responsible for what, and
  • what it means about themselves.
Keeping this in mind, fathers who want to be responsible also need to understand and act on co-parenting principles.

In other words, the children have mothers too. Regardless what the father has done, has learned, or changes, the children still have mothers.

Responsible fathers learn to face the challenges of co-parenting the children. This is true whether they are reunited with the children after incarceration or not. In other words, both the mother and father are parents in the child's mind.

More on co-parenting in another posting.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why Responsible Fatherhood in Northwest Michigan?

Each year, approximately 265 men and women are sent to prison from the ten counties in Northwest Michigan . For many of them, it is the second time.
So, how does an unemployed father who has one or more felony convictions act responsibly?

Since October 2005, the Northwest Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative (MPRI) Steering Team has been developing resources to help answer this question.

One of their strategies is a partnership with Women's Resource Center (WRC) of Traverse City.

This is an ideal partnership since the two organization share the common goals of preventing violence and improving community safety by preventing crime in Northwest Michigan.

Future postings will explore:
  • What responsibilities do fathers when they are returning to the community?
  • What reasons do fathers give for wanting to be responsible?
  • What are others doing to help fathers succeed at becoming responsible?
  • What are some of the barriers to fathers' success?
If you have questions you'd like answered, feel free leave your question in the comment window. I'll see what I can do to answer it or find someone else who can.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Our Purpose

What is a responsible father?

Responsible fatherhood does not mean fatherhood at any price. In some circumstances, fathers are separated from their families and children for safety reasons. When this happens, the responsibilities of the fathers may continue, but in new forms. Here you'll:
  • find news about how men are working together to prevent violence in the home and the community.
  • learn how you can contribute to the lives of those who have been affected by the loss of a father.
  • discover what these men who want to change their lives so they may become responsible fathers for their children.
  • learn how to help men restore their dignity and contribute to their children's lives.
You're invited to contribute your ideas and be part of the change in the lives of these families.

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