"Services need to be conscious that men approach and reach to fathering in different ways...."
Services that adopt an active approach to engaging with men typically achieve better outcomes overall. Engaging with male clients as well as with female clients takes only a small amount of additional work and usually involves creating a better balance between the needs of male and female clients.
Andrew King has compiled a website with many useful resources specially aimed at services and practitioners interested in better reaching out, engaging and working with males.
The page covers four major topics:
- What are the forces in men's lives that impact on their approach to fathering? Services need to be conscious that men approach and reach to fathering in different ways. Some men are comfortable being part of their children's health whereas others may need more encouragement.
- What do fathers need? There are approaches that services can take which can enocurage or discourage men to take part. Services need to consider thoroughly the many points at which they interact with fathers and how they do so.
- Is it better to run separate programs for dads, or have both mums and dads together? The answer to this is still 'it depends'. The currently accepted approach favours a mix of joint sessions with other seesions specifically run just for dads. This gives the couple a combined overview of the major points that need to be covered, followed up with opportunities for dads to gain confidence on their own with the children and ask for information sepearately from the mother.
- So, what is it that services can and should do to better engage with dads? This section sets out some of the actions and practices that services can put in place. This includes small details like asking for the father's name at registration to having positive images of fathers and children on the walls.
- What are the major messages for fathers? Great tips for fathers on better interactions with their children and partners, how to balance their own needs with that of their families and more.