Promises Worth Keeping.

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Canfield, K. R.
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A framework for defining the role of fathers must acknowledge the importance of commitment, the fact that not all fathers are married to the mother of their children, and responsibilities other than that of "breadwinner." This chapter describes four key dimensions of fathering identified from a review of social science, biological, historical, and theological literature: involvement, consistency, awareness, and nurturance. Involvement depends on the father's ability to be engaged with his children, as well as accessible and responsible for their daily needs. A father's level of involvement often depends on the actions and attitudes of his wife and his employer. Consistency in fathering enhances child development as men provide a reliable foundation for teaching their children about appropriate behavior, spiritual and moral issues, and gender identity. Awareness indicates an understanding of the child's interests and abilities, while nurturance establishes connections with children through physical touch and healthy discipline. Contemporary fathers are motivated to improve their fathering behavior by their faith and a desire to heal their relationships with family members. Civic organizations can promote fathering by developing fatherhood skills programs for adults and high school students and by sponsoring "Father of the Year" awards programs. 31 notes.

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