WELCOME TO FATHERHOOD!
Dads make a difference! Kids that have an involved dad have more confidence, get better grades in school, are less likely to use drugs, and are less likely to be involved in criminal activity. Whether you’re a new dad or an old pro, the experience of having a new baby is exhilarating, fun, challenging, and sometimes difficult. Young Fathers Standing United is here to help you be the best dad you can be. Many dads don’t know how important they are, especially in the first year. But dads play a very important role. Your presence and caring for your baby is critical to your baby’s health and development. By caring for your baby, playing with your baby, talking to your baby, and supporting your partner, you are creating a positive relationship with your baby.
SELF CARE DURING EARLY FATHERHOOD
Just like with maternal depression (postpartum depression or
“baby blues”), men can feel down after the birth of a new baby. These are common feelings after a new baby is born.
Tired, lack of energy
Anxiety or fearfulness
Feeling worn out
Feeling like you’re not good enough
Changes in appetite
•Cranky, easily frustrated
What you can do:
• Talk to someone you trust. Just saying out loud that you
are stressed, frustrated, or feeling down can help you
feel better. You may learn you’re not alone and get some
helpful ideas to cope when things are difficult.
• Get a check-up with your doctor. If you’re feeling tired,
cranky, and low in energy, you might be depressed and
a doctor can help.
• Exercise, relax, and set aside time for yourself.
• Remember, feeling connected to a new baby can take
time. If you don’t feel bonded with your baby right away,
give it time—these feelings usually grow.
The Positive Impact of Father Involvement
In a study examining father involvement with 134 children of adolescent mothers over the first 10 years of life, researchers found that father-child contact was associated with better socio-emotional and academic functioning. The results indicated that children with more involved fathers experienced fewer behavioral problems and scored higher on reading achievement. This study showed the significance of the role of fathers in the lives of at-risk children, even in case of nonresident fathers.
Source: Howard, K. S., Burke Lefever, J. E., Borkowski, J.G., & Whitman , T. L. (2006). Fathers’ influence in the lives of children with adolescent mothers. Journal of Family Psychology, 20, 468- 476.
Father Factor in Poverty
Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor. In 2011, 12 percent of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 44 percent of children in mother-only families.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Children’s Living Arrangements and Characteristics: March 2011, Table C8. Washington D.C.: 2011.
Father Factor in Incarceration
Even after controlling for income, youths in father-absent households still had significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in mother-father families. Youths who never had a father in the household experienced the highest odds.
Source: Harper, Cynthia C. and Sara S. McLanahan. “Father Absence and Youth Incarceration.” Journal of Research on Adolescence 14 (September 2004): 369-397.
Father Factor in Crime
A study of 109 juvenile offenders indicated that family structure significantly predicts delinquency.
Source: Bush, Connee, Ronald L. Mullis, and Ann K. Mullis. “Differences in Empathy Between Offender and Nonoffender Youth.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence 29 (August 2000): 467-478.
Father Factor in Teen Pregnancy & Sexual Activity
Being raised by a single mother raises the risk of teen pregnancy, marrying with less than a high school degree, and forming a marriage where both partners have less than a high school degree.
Source: Teachman, Jay D. “The Childhood Living Arrangements of Children and the Characteristics of Their Marriages.” Journal of Family Issues 25 (January 2004): 86-111.
Father Factor in Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Even after controlling for community context, there is significantly more drug use among children who do not live with their mother and father.
Source: Hoffmann, John P. “The Community Context of Family Structure and Adolescent Drug Use.” Journal of Marriage and Family 64 (May 2002): 314-330.
Father Factor in Child Abuse
A study using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study revealed that in many cases the absence of a biological father contributes to increased risk of child maltreatment. The results suggest that Child Protective Services (CPS) agencies have some justification in viewing the presence of a social father as increasing children’s risk of abuse and neglect. It is believed that in families with a non-biological (social) father figure, there is a higher risk of abuse and neglect to children, despite the social father living in the household or only dating the mother.
Source: “CPS Involvement in Families with Social Fathers.” Fragile Families Research Brief No.46. Princeton, NJ and New York, NY: Bendheim-Thomas Center for Research on Child Wellbeing and Social Indicators Survey Center, 2010.
Father Factor in Education
Father involvement in schools is associated with the higher likelihood of a student getting mostly A's. This was true for fathers in biological parent families, for stepfathers, and for fathers heading single-parent families.
Source: Nord, Christine Winquist, and Jerry West. Fathers’ and Mothers’ Involvement in Their Children’s Schools by Family Type and Resident Status. (NCES 2001-032). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2001.
Father Factor in Emotional and Behavioral Problems
Data from three waves of the Fragile Families Study (N= 2,111) was used to examine the prevalence and effects of mothers’ relationship changes between birth and age 3 on their children’s well being. Children born to single mothers show higher levels of aggressive behavior than children born to married mothers. Living in a single-mother household is equivalent to experiencing 5.25 partnership transitions.
Source: Osborne, C., & McLanahan, S. (2007). Partnership instability and child well-being. Journal of Marriage and Family, 69, 1065-1083.
Having a new baby is exciting, but it can also be hard. Don’t expect that everything will be perfect. Be patient with, yourself, your baby, and your partner.