There’s lot of advice for working women about how to balance work and family life. Fathers are often left out of the discussion, but they shouldn’t be. Fathers play such a pivotal role in the healthy development of their children that for them to balance their work and family life is essential. The old days, when stay-at-home moms threatened their children with “Wait until your father gets home”, are over. Fathers are no longer viewed first and foremost as the disciplinarian source of a paycheck. Mothers work and dads are expected to help with household chores as well as take an active role in raising the children. In fact, a 2013 Pew Research study found that just 41 percent of Americans say that a father’s primary responsibility is providing income for the family. Research indicates that children with involved fathers suffer fewer emotional and behavioral difficulties, have more satisfying adult relationships, and perform better in school than children without an emotionally present father. If you are a dad who’s looking to strike the right balance between work and family, consider these tips and resources.
Online Resources for Dads
Finding the right balance is different for every father and family. It’s not about splitting time 50/50 between work and children, but about spending the right amount and the right kind of time. Here are some resources to help you find your own path:
The Working Dad’s Survival Guide page on Facebook is a resource for dads administered by Scott Behson, Ph.D. Behson is the author of Working Dad’s Survival Guide: How to Succeed at Work and at Home. Although the page primarily supports the book, it also has tips, suggestions, and discussions for working fathers. Recent hot topics include Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook’s new paternity leave policy.
National Center for Fathering (NCF) at Fathers: The NCF is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization dedicated to giving fathers the tools to become active and positive influences in the lives of their children. Resources are available for every fathering situation, including step fathers, divorced dads, new dads, grandfathers, and father figures. NCF also provides fathering programs in 46 states, more than 4,000 schools, and in four different countries. Their flagship program, WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students), is a father-based program that supports child safety and education.
FatherLine at Fathers: FatherLine is a community of men and women who come together to support one another in their journey to be the best father they can be a nonprofit initiative that aims to help fathers become the best fathers they can be. Fathers Line was founded by a group of dads who wanted to connect and create a community for dads that do not exist. A work in progress, Fathers Line currently includes blogs, podcasts, videos, forums and more where you can find support and advice for every step of your journey.
International Center for Fathering (ICF): The International Center for Fathering is the world’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to helping parents, children and communities thrive. They provide resources on parenting, family life, and co-parenting, along with more effective training and education on parenting. ICF offers programs in the United States, Canada and across Europe. Their flagship program is Parent Effectiveness Training (PET), which allows parents to build positive relationships with their children through active listening skills, conflict resolution strategies and more.
National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC): The NRFC is a government funded resource for fathers that’s purpose is to support strong fathers and families. The site is full of information for dads and offers tips about a wide variety of parenting issues. Recent informational topics include tips for fathering through a divorce, adopting children, and how to relate to adolescents.
Tips from the Top
Time Magazine recently interviewed several male CEOs and asked them how they manage to balance fatherhood with the busy life of a CEO. Several said that they establish weekly traditions that they never miss. For example, Intuit CEO Brad Smith uses weekends to connect with his teenage daughters with what he calls “Daddy Daughter Breakfasts. He takes one daughter to breakfast on Saturday, and the other on Sunday. The girls get one-on-one time with their dad to talk about whatever they want. Sid Mathur, an exec at HIT, makes breakfast on Sundays and holds a biweekly camping night, where he and his 7-year old daughter Trisha build forts in the living room. Ultimately, it’s not about the amount of time spent with children, but rather the quality of that time that really counts.