Fathers Learning Positive Parenting Solutions

Fathers are learning how to develop healthy family relationships through the Nurturing Fathers Program hosted by Dads Inc., an organization supported by The Villages. Nurturing Fathers is a national, evidence-based program that has been implemented in schools, churches, and prisons. Fathers meet once a week for eight weeks to discuss topics such as overcoming stress, co-parenting, and healthy discipline.

Nurturing Fathers is one of several initiatives and events hosted by Dads Inc. to encourage healthy relationships between fathers and their children. Since Dads Inc. introduced the program six years ago, fathers from across the country have participated, said Program Director Brian Carter.

“We have foster dads join us, men trying to gain custody of their children, those directed by the courts, and just dads who want to be better. We’ve welcomed a few grandfathers, too,” says Carter, who leads the class.

Carter indicates most of the men who participate in the program have predetermined beliefs about fatherhood or blame others for their current relationship with their children. Carter works hard to break down those beliefs and behaviors while keeping the weekly sessions interactive and lively – even as they address tough issues in the group.

“One of the key phrases I use a lot is ‘I choose to be,’” Carter says. “Many of us as dads tend to pattern our behaviors based on our fathers or the father images we’ve seen.”

“The important part of this process is letting go of that idea and become the father you choose to be, not a clone of someone else.”

According to Carter, when fathers complete the program, they are equipped with tools to manage conflicts, be better communicators, and, overall, be a more involved parent.

Carter emphasized Nurturing Fathers is for any dad who wants to strengthen family relationships – even those who believe they are doing the job well.

“New things come up all the time when you are a parent –  Internet safety, parenting a child with special needs, bullying, and social media. As fathers, we shouldn’t leave it up to the mom to address all of these things. We must be willing to co-parent to the fullest,” Carter says.

Nurturing Fathers is accepting participants for the next eight-week session starting on May 5. Contact Brian Carter, Dads Inc. Program Director, at bcarter@villages.org, to reserve your spot.

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