Fathers often spend less time with their children after divorce or separation. As a result, they sometimes have concerns about how they can continue to be an important part of their children’s lives. Research indicates that the New Beginnings Program (NBP) can effectively address these concerns.
Can fathers make a difference after divorce and separation?
Yes, both fathers and mothers matter to children. Research shows that the relationship between fathers and children affects how children adjust after separation or divorce -- whether fathers see their children every day or only a couple of times a month. The NBP team's research with over 300 divorcing families indicates that high-quality parenting on the part of fathers (listening, spending time alone with each of their children, using effective discipline strategies, helping with homework, and offering advice) has a positive effect on children years after divorce or separation.
Another important finding is that conflict between mothers and ex-partners during and after divorce hurts children. The New Beginnings Program helps fathers figure out what they can do to keep their children from getting involved in any conflicts between them and their children’s mother.
Do fathers benefit from programs that teach good parenting?
The findings from many studies have shown that both children and fathers benefit from programs that teach good parenting. In these programs, fathers learn tools for building and/or maintaining closer relationships with their children. Children whose fathers were in these programs exhibited fewer problem behaviors and were more cooperative than children whose fathers did not participate in the programs. Although such evaluations have not yet been done with the New Beginnings Program, we believe that learning the skills taught in the New Beginnings Program will benefit fathers and, in turn, their children, following divorce and separation.
Can the NBP give fathers tools to help their children?
Over three years (2009-2011), the program was delivered to over 100 divorced and separated fathers. Nearly all the fathers reported positive benefits for themselves and their children.