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To become their best, boys need involved dads and male teachers, coaches, & mentors.
But when Marion Hill began working in early childhood education in Phoenix, he “noticed there weren’t a lot of fathers around,” he says. Recognizing dads’ importance to kids’ social, emotional, and cognitive development, Marion devoted his effort to engaging dads.
He co-founded of M.A.N. C.A.V.E (Men All Need to be Caring Actively-Engaged, and Encouraged), a fatherhood program designed to encourage fathers/male role models to be actively engaged in their child’s growth and development through training, monthly meetings and father-child activities.
Why Dads Matter
“When fathers are involved, children are more successful in school and life,” Marion says. “When fathers are not engaged, we see a 269% increase in the likelihood of a child being arrested for drug dealing or firearms possession, and the child is twice as likely to drop out of high school and seven times more likely to become a parent as a teen.”
To thrive, children need both paternal nurturance and maternal nurturance. Paternal nurturance is “all about doing,” Marion says. Maternal nurturance is about empathy and interpersonal relations. Moms and dads “do things differently and it benefits the child,” he says.
Most men want to be involved parents. But they need to be invited in by educational institutions, healthcare providers, and other parents. Bringing fathers into schools and healthcare settings would help kids, parents, teachers, and healthcare providers – and show boys (and girls) that males have a role to play in education, health, and childcare.
“We need to get rid of this perception that there is no use for fathers,” Marion says. Each of us has a role to play in supporting father involvement.
In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Marion discuss:
- Benefits of father involvement
- Finding father figures or male mentors
- Dad-style parenting
- Differences between paternal nurturance and maternal nurturance
- Obstacles to father involvement
- Inviting & supporting dad engagement
- Encouraging boys & men to consider nurturing professions
- Unconscious bias that affects father involvement
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:
- M.A.N C.A.V.E Fatherhood Program
- Michael Gurian on Raising Boys – ON BOYS episode
- Dads, Boys, & Masculinity – ON BOYS episode
- Gender Equality, Boys and Men – ON BOYS episode featuring Richard V. Reeves
Need help with your boys?
Join Janet Allison’s real-time, monthly group coaching program, Decoding Your Boy