The Father You Choose to Be

Young childing writing with the help of their father.

June 14, 2021

The Role of a Father

Every parent has a unique and special relationship with their children. In different households, moms and dads may play different roles. No matter what your family unit looks like, loving, supportive parents and caregivers will set a child up for a successful future. Father figures serve important roles in family units. An involved father is someone who understands the importance of managing household responsibilities while also building a positive relationship with their children and supporting healthy development.

“A person that steps up and takes on the role of a father-figure understands the importance of this role and the impact they can have in a child’s life,” says Aaron Oeser, a Family Education Instructor with Any Baby Can currently teaching fatherhood classes.

Sometimes the title comes with gendered stereotypes and responsibilities that stem from a societal pressure, an individual’s culture, or simply how we are raised. Your history doesn't need to define your parenting, as long as you reflect on it. Each dad will have to ask themselves: who is the father I choose to be?

Reflection and Self-Improvement

A lot of how you parent stems from the way you were parented. Any Baby Can encourages parents and caregivers to start their journey with reflection. At times, dads may look to their own fathers or other men in their lives for direction on raising their children. We encourage new dads—or anyone looking to improve their parenting—to reflect on the qualities they see in their own parents, and which ones they want to pass on to their children. Depending on your own history, this may be a lot to process and it’s a topic we discuss in our Family Education Program and various other Any Baby Can services.

All parents want the best for their kids. And while everyone may have different parenting styles or approaches, a “strong provider” should also be a caring provider. That means giving children not only a stable home and food on the table, but also love, guidance and support. Many dads who take our parenting classes are motivated to be a role model for their sons and daughters. By working on themselves and their own relationships, dads can model positive expectations for their children’s relationships with other people.

Small, Meaningful Interactions

Our Nurturing Parenting classes foster positive parenting skills, promote healthy physical and emotional bonding, and teach appropriate developmental expectations. However, the most important lesson in raising strong, independent individuals is to be present for your kids and give them love and attention. You can work each day to build that parent-child connection, no matter how large or small.

“Before my oldest child was born, I was nervous about becoming a father and the responsibilities that would come with it. Among all the books I read on parenting and child development, one piece of advice that really stuck with me is this: ‘Smile every time you see your child, and eventually they’ll do the same to you.’ It’s so simple, but it conveys the importance of making a conscience effort to be present and attentive with our kids everyday,” shares Aaron.

Meaningful interactions with your child can amount to big improvements in your relationship and your parenting skills. No matter how you feel when you come home or the troubles you’re facing, you can give your child a smile – it’s easy, free and very effective!

Fatherhood Works Program

Any Baby Can has partnered with Goodwill Central Texas to provide parenting classes for fathers and father figures in their Fatherhood Works initiative. Any Baby Can instructors use the Nurturing Fathers Program, an evidence-based, 13-week training course designed to teach parenting and nurturing skills to men. The program is open to any man raising a child, as well as single mothers, many of whom must fill a dual role in their household. The class covers core parenting skills with an emphasis on how to be a strong, yet nurturing caregiver. Dads also learn how to use discipline and build safe and healthy homes for their kids. Paired with a career program through Goodwill, participants improve their economic stability and overall well-being.

For the Next Generation

If you are a father—or a grandfather, male caregiver or other father figure in the family—don’t take the role lightly. It can be difficult to admit we can do better or ask for help, but improving your parenting skills and connection with your children is a worthwhile effort. Research shows a correlation between deep, meaningful father-child relationships and positive outcomes including greater ability for compassion and better academic performance.1

Through reflecting on their own upbringing, parenting coaching or classes, and building skills and confidence, both moms and dads can give their children a better future.

1 Child & Family Research Partnership. The University of Texas at Austin, LBJ School of Public Affairs. The Importance of Father Involvement; (June 2021)


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