In Virginia’s Fairfax County, a program through the Department of Family Services that starts in February aims to get fathers more involved in their children’s lives and help them with their parenting skills and confidence.
According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice, 63 percent of youth suicides are children who came from fatherless homes. And 90 percent of all runaways did not have a dad at home. The same holds true for the majority of school dropouts, juvenile delinquents and those with behavioral disorders and substance abuse problems.
The Father Engagement Unit offers classes, services, activities and even an online video series to help fathers gain the confidence they need in their parenting skills.
The classes discuss everything from self-care and confidence to babyproofing the home, discipline, dealing with the various stages of childhood, all the way up to those awkward teenage years and how to talk to your kids about the friends they make.
The free classes start Feb. 4 and run through April 28, but you have to register with the Fairfax Department of Family Services to attend.
In addition to the classes, the county offers an online series of parenting videos for fathers called Pocket Dad Videos.