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Today’s new dad often struggles to find his new place within his growing family. Parenting classes designed to answer men’s questions can help. In addition, these classes also keep dads up-to-date on the safest, most effective ways to care for their children.
Open the Gates to Family Involvement
The prevailing social sentiment is that men just aren’t as in-tune with nurturing and caregiving activities as women. Worse, a trend called “maternal gatekeeping” keeps many dads from participating fully in their children’s lives. “Maternal gatekeeping also sets up a dynamic that, should the family disunite, allows mom to tell the court that dad wasn’t really all that involved in childcare, which will play a part in the court’s decision as to how much parenting time each parent gets.”
Gatekeeping is often subtle. A new mom might have no idea she’s discouraging her child’s father from being involved. It can be as innocuous as a woman “keeping an eye” on her husband while he changes the baby or offering unsolicited advice.
Unfortunately, gatekeeping harms families. As women become more critical, their partners withdraw, leaving mom with more than her fair share of the workload. It becomes a vicious cycle where women demand men’s help and then criticize them for helping in the “wrong” way.
Parenting classes aimed at dads give men the space they need to ask questions they might feel too embarrassed or unsure about to ask in mixed company. These lessons give dads the confidence to stay involved despite other people interfering. It also adds credence to his techniques and opinions when faced with doubt.
How to Find Dad Friendly Parenting Classes
Most parenting classes aren’t geared toward couples or men. They’re mom-focused because of societal bias, but also because more women in this country are raising their children alone. Dads might have to do extra digging to find groups that are men-only.
Organizers realize some men are too embarrassed to ask certain questions with women in the room, so unlike the breakfasts we covered a few weeks ago, women often aren’t allowed to attend. You should double-check during registration if this is important to you though.
One of the most well-known organizations is Boot Camp for Dads which now has opportunities for fathers in nearly all of the U.S. states. Some of these are boot camps for new fathers and others cover extended parenting.
Lucky dads in the Boston area have several opportunities have several opportunities through The Fatherhood Project based out of Massachusetts General Hospital including:
- The Dads Matter Initiative
- Fathering Across the Life Course
- Teen Dads
- Divorcing Dads
- Dads in Recovery
- Dialogues with Dads
If you live in a metropolitan area, it pays to reach out to your area’s community health organizations to see what resources are available to you. If none is available, consider starting your own group to give men in your area a valuable resource.
Of course, there are endless online resources for dads who want to make a difference, from Reddit and Facebook groups to online classes.
Parenting classes geared toward men give you the confidence, skills, and the answers you need to be a better parent every day. They might also help you enjoy a better relationship with your child’s mom.
Have you taken a parenting class geared toward fathers? Give other readers a heads up below! Also, please share what you’ve enjoyed most for those who want to start a group.