Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Difference a Dad Makes in a Child's Life

Happy Father's Day to all our FRUA dads!

This Father's Day, we celebrate the fact that father's are finally getting the recognition they deserve. It's not just because parental leave for men for the birth or adoption of their children is gaining traction. But because so many of these guys...these new dads.. were raised by working mother's themselves. These are dads who are parental partners, who truly“Get it!”

A man who becomes a dad by going half way around the world -- who helps move heaven and earth to adopt his children -- you know he wants to be a dad. And this dad wants to bond with his children; wants to help them reach their potential. And that involvement can make a huge difference in a child's life*:
  • Involved dads impart a sense of stability and a range of social emotions for their child. While we mothers tends to protect and nurture our babies, dads' playfulness (what can occasionally cause us to utter in frustration “I feel like I have two kids now!”) in fact, teaches children how to control his/her emotions, and socializes them to accept a range of behaviors. Because dads tend to encourage exploration of the world, their encouragement can instill confidence and positive social behavior.
  • Engaged dads can have an impact on kid's future academic success and reduces anti-social behavior. “Studies indicate that children with a positive child/father relationship have greater academic success and are much less-likely to exhibit antisocial behavior.” (Rosenberg & Wilcox, 2006).
  • Engaged dads impact both short-term and long-term behavior in children. A dad's personal life-choices can visibly influence his children's future. It's not just in how much money he makes, or his chosen career, but whether or not his actions show them, that time with them is important, that he values good grades, that he cares about helping others.
  • There is something to the old saying “Show your children love by loving their mother.” Involved dads who are in loving and committed relationship with their child, and that child's mother, give their children something else. They surround a child with stability and model what a stable relationships looks like, with benefits that impact every aspect of that child's life.
These past several months have been difficult ones for those prospective parents caught in the Russian ban on adoption by Americans, who want so desperately to be parents. You know FRUA's position  on this, or if you don't, you should.  It is our position that every child on this earth deserves to grow up in a forever family, that loves them and protects them and gets them the help they need to reach their potential, whatever that might be.  Growing up in a family is a basic human right, the best place for a child to learn the life lessons to help them succeed in life. FRUA continues to advocate, to meet with the State Dept., to meet with representatives of Russian NGO groups, to work with the media, in Russia to raise the stories of our FRUA family success, to work with the CCAI and many other adoption policy counterparts. We seek a resolution for the families caught in the ban, and the opportunity for a better life for the thousands of children being used as pawns. We've offered to tell the stories of our family's successes, to share the joy we have as parents, to the Russian government. But so far; our offers have not been accepted.

Here at FRUA we surely celebrate mothers. But throughout the month of June, and especially on Father's Day, we celebrate fathers and all you do. We celebrate the love you give our children, the strength on which we all lean, the shared joy of being parents. So today, moms, pass this along to the Dads in your life - share it with your friends and family-- and be thankful for the Fathers in your lives.

Jan Wondra
Acting Chair/Vice President
FRUA National Board of Directors

The Importance of Fathers, the Difference a Father can Make in the Healthy Development of Children, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, U.S. Children's Bureau Rosenberg, Jeffrey., Wilcox, W. Bradford., 2006.

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