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Taking on challenges

Dear Dad,

I don’t know if you understand just how important you are in my life. You teach me in everything you say and everything you do. Even when you don’t notice that I am there, watching, listening, to how you treat my mother and how you interact with others, I am learning about how you think women should be treated, the respect you have for others. Your leadership of our family.

Everything you teach me will affect me throughout all the days of my life. I will carry those lessons with me always, a product of the environment in which you and my mother raised me. And I will love you because children are supposed to love their parents. Please teach me how to have a happy family.

Love, Your Child

Long ago now, the experts realized something. A dad has a very important role in the lives of his children. All dads are not involved in the daily events of family. If you know what to look for, you can tell those who have or had involved fathers from those who did not; who has been an involved dad and who has not. There is even a manual, The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children.

There are so many challenges out there, challenges that affect children, our nation’s most valuable asset because they are the leaders of tomorrow. Challenges include substance abuse, mental health problems, economic stress, unemployment, separation and divorce, inadequate housing, crime and incarceration, according to the manual. A man’s background – the culture in which he grew up – influences his views about manhood and fatherhood. To be a good dad, one needs to have a good dad, a role model to teach him how he should be.

There are three areas of child protection:

1.) Safety: live in an environment that is free from abuse and neglect.

2.) Permanency: need a family and a permanent place to call home with consistency and connectedness.

3.) Child and family well-being: nurturing that meets physical, emotional, educational and social needs.

The father’s involvement means the child is more likely to be protected from harm. His relationship with the child’s mother is vitally important for cognitive ability (skills needed for learning, reasoning, and use of information), educational achievement, psychological well-being, and social behaviors. He may not realize just how much influence he has over his children. Even if he is not directly dealing with the child, how he treats the child’s mother will teach the child how women are to be treated – by men, if it is a son; how she is to be treated, if it is a daughter.

When mother and father parent together in a good relationship, they are more likely to respond positively to infants and toddlers, more self-controlled dealing with difficult toddlers, and better confidants with advice and support for their teenagers. The goal is to teach and provide examples of respect and avoid violent or unhealthy relationships.

“… Research has shown that husbands who display anger, show contempt for, or who stonewall their wives (i.e., the silent treatment) are more likely to have children who are anxious, withdrawn or antisocial.”

The role of father is so important for the health well-being of each person in his household. It’s a lot of responsibility. As you share your family traditions of Father’s Day, take note of your value to your children. It is priceless.

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Family Recovery Center offers mental health services as well as addiction services. The goal is for the health and well-being of all. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or email, info@familyrecovery.org. Visit the website at familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded in part by Jobs and Family Services of Columbiana County.

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