Fatherhood program to begin Thursday

Published 10:17 pm Monday, March 14, 2011

The UP Center is heading up a program beginning this week to help fathers become more involved parents.

The 13-week fatherhood program for fathers ages 16 to 30 aims to teach relationship building, communication and parenting skills. The program is free and open to any fathers. The sessions will take place on Thursday nights from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at 109 ½ Clay St.

“The primary goal is to get them reconnected with their families,” said Doug Taylor. “The basic thing is to change the culture of fathering.”

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Taylor said that while the popular perception is that fathers don’t want to be with their children, many fathers would rather be more involved.

“All of us want to be better parents, and we want to be better fathers. There’s no doubt about that,” he said.

Any father can participate and benefit from this program. Taylor said that fathers who are still living with the mother and child, as well as non-custodial fathers, could benefit from this program.

“It’s a support group,” he said. “The fathers are supporting one another.”

The program’s goal is to provide fathers with knowledge of effective parenting skills, communication skills, positive co-parenting skills, how to handle children’s behaviors and more. Another goal is promoting increased frequency of a father’s involvement in their child’s life. The program has actually provided tickets for events such as hockey games for fathers to participate in with their children.

Taylor describes it as an inside-out approach because they begin with the values that fathers would like to see and what is important to them as men and go from there. The program explores topics such as imparting positive values, listening empathetically, moral development, relationships and resolving problems between the parents to best benefit the child.

Taylor encourages fathers to come out and see what the program is about. In the past, fathers have enjoyed the program so much that they have rearranged their work schedules to attend the meetings.

“Most of the guys that come to the first group, unless there are work challenges — they will come back,” he said.

The fatherhood program at the UP Center is in its first year. The first session that began in December has just finished.

“It went really well,” he said.

For more information about the program or to register, call Doug Taylor at 540-226-4809, Ciara Henry at 965-8652 or Mary Brantley at 965-8660.