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Ronica Arnold Branson, Ph.D. | Fathers and The Family
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Fathers and The Family

Apr 07 2020

Fathers and The Family

What is your earliest, most significant or most memorable moment with your father? For some, you can remember these unforgettable moments easily, for others, these are moments that you may continue to long for.

When it comes to music, many can remember the beautiful ballad “Dance with My Father” sang by Luther Vandross, while others might smile and relate a bit more to “Papa was a Rolling Stone”. No matter what the circumstance, it’s important to know that as a child, you had no responsibility for the decisions that were made by adults. This is the same message that we must continue to instill in our children today. Although the divorce rates may be on the rise, and the image of our traditional family system may continue to change, it is now, a more important time than ever to re-establish the importance of fathers in the family.

Why Fathers?

  • Fathers provide support.
  • Fathers provide protection.
  • Fathers provide a presence that is undeniable.
  • Children with present and active Dads have better outcomes.
  • Children with present and active dads have better cognitive outcomes.
  • Children with present and active dads have higher levels of self-esteem.
  • Children with present and active dads have less depression, higher grades, better test scores and overall academic achievement. 

Although money is essential for food, clothing and shelter, the lack of money shouldn’t keep fathers away from their children. According to the stats, over 3000 youth dropout each day and 71% of high-school dropouts come from fatherless homes. Over 80% of incarcerated individuals come from fatherless homes.

On the positive side, there are many reasons why fathers aren’t present in the lives of their children:

  • Feelings of isolation
  • Stigma
  • Addictions
  • Lack of Information and knowledge in knowing HOW to be a father
  • the list goes on and on.

We can continue to offer justifications, but what can we do to break the cycle and foster stronger families and supports for fathers?

  1. Start with Forgiveness. 
  2. Remember there are two sides to every story, be willing to listen.
  3. Acknowledge the challenges.
  4. Allow for flexibility.
  5. Don’t use avoidance. Ask the uncomfortable questions peacefully and be willing to hear the uncomfortable answers.
  6. Be straightforward and truthful.
  7. Don’t take it personally, be willing to put your issues aside and think about the child first.

It’s also important to remember that Fathers/Dads don’t have to be related by blood. Fathers can be grandfathers, brothers, mentors and friends. Don’t limit the definition of a father. A male’s presence and positive active engagement in the life of a child can affect a child’s life forever. A Dad isn’t defined by a man who makes the child, but rather the man who raises and loves the child with all his heart through it all. Blood doesn’t always make a man a dad, being a DAD comes from the heart.

Fathers we salute you and all you do. We NEED you in the lives of Our children.

For more information on fostering father engagement and empowerment, contact Dr. Ronica at (601) 622-1392 or

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