We Love Dads, Too!

2 Mar

By Holly Gillespie, MotherLove Coordinator

This spring, MotherLove is stepping up our game on serving young dads.  For years now, we have known that the story of “the Dead-Beat Teen Dad” is an inaccurate portrayal of a far more complicated host of issues.  The young dads MotherLove has encountered in the past are present, full of promise, and range from confident to complacent to completely overwhelmed. We aim to even the score.  (And, yes, I am using sports references intentionally…)

Photo of MotherLove participants by Sandra Stambaugh, April 2014

Photo of MotherLove participants by Sandra Stambaugh, April 2014

In general, over half of the babies we serve each year in MotherLove have their Daddy in the picture.  How much support these young men receive has a big impact on their role in that picture, and how involved they are empowered to be in their children’s lives.

Young dads face challenges as diverse as young moms.  Some are great dads, but have a troubled relationship with the mom.  Some have a great relationship with the mom, but her parents won’t let him come stay with her and the baby.  Some fall in love with their babies the moment they are born, but lack any paternal role model, and so stray from the young family to play out patterns that were initiated long before their child was born.  It’s complicated, and it warrants some “unpacking.”

This spring, we will distribute a survey to each teen dad we encounter through our Lunch Bunches, Groups, and Home Visits.  The survey will help us to know what support the dads feel they need, and what they would like that support to look like.  A Dads-Only Cook Out? Employment Skills 101?  A Newborn Care Class?  A Why-Is-My-Girlfriend-Acting-Like-That Tutorial?  We will find out, and we will deliver, as best we can.

And YOU can help.  Do you know any dads that would enjoy helping with a young dads  group or event?  Send them our way!  Please contact Gerry Leonard, our YWCA Volunteer Coordinator, at gleonard@ywcaofasheville.org to arrange a meeting with MotherLove staff to get on board with this new initiative.

We can’t hope to address the needs of the next generation without recognizing that it takes two to tango, and it takes a village to raise a child.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: