Dads Matter Program Helps Men Become Good Fathers

By Hollenbaugh, Barbara | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 15, 2008 | Go to article overview

Dads Matter Program Helps Men Become Good Fathers


Hollenbaugh, Barbara, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Dads Matter, a program offered through the Private Industry Council of Fayette/Westmoreland County, helps men to become the best fathers they can be.

Launched in early 2007, the program's mission is to "enable fathers to improve their relationships with their children and improve their parenting skills."

Bill Huebner, program director, said there are several reasons why many fathers shy away from their responsibilities.

"In many cases, it's economic," he said. "If the father is unemployed, he may think that he has nothing to offer to his children.

"Also, environment plays a role. Many fathers who come to this program had poor relationships, or perhaps no relationship, with their fathers. They have no model for fatherhood.

"Time is a factor, as well," he said. "Many men are busy working and can't spend time with their families. In some cases, families are split, and fathers simply don't have access to their children."

Seth Caton, outreach coordinator, says that giving fathers the proper information is the best way to help them overcome these barriers.

"We do our best to meet dads where they are. Most of all, we want them to understand that children benefit from the involvement of both parents, no matter what the family arrangement is," Caton said.

He added that mothers are welcome to participate in the program, too.

"Mothers need to give dads the freedom to learn," Caton said. "Mothers are quick to jump in when Dad hasn't put on a diaper correctly or isn't feeding the child correctly. Men need encouragement, not criticism."

Huebner said a father's role within the family has changed markedly over the years.

"It used to be that a father's role was to earn the money, and that was it," he said. "Expectations have changed (in regard) to nurturing children. …

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