Why Great Fathers?
The benefits to children of a second secure attachment is what drives Great Fathers. One secure attachment (usually the baby’s mother) is essential. Two or more is better and the child's father, by proximity, is the most likely second secure attachment. Whether the father is the biological father or not is immaterial. The father we are on about is whoever is the second major care-giver.
The majority of children have two parents at the time of birth. In New Zealand, 94.6% of women say they are in a couple relationship at the time of the birth.1 Upwards of 90% of dads in industrialised nations now attend their child’s birth.2 The same report found that just 4% of the women in this AotearoaNZ longitudinal study had a partner at their antenatal interview did not have a partner when the baby turned nine-months-old. Most fathers are there through the first year of their child’s life – whether agencies are aware of them or not. Getting these men engaged and involved with the baby during pregnancy, the early months and years is a key to transforming these men into caring dads – and that’s what Great Fathers is about.
If a child has a good enough dad, the child will reach more of their social, emotional, and intellectual potential. If the father is absent, neglectful, or abusive (and no one else fills that gap) – the child is more likely to go off the rails later in life.
We focus on the pregnancy through the first three years because this is when a child’s brain architecture is shaped. Most of a baby’s experience is based on how people respond to them, and what goes on in the household around them. Given the proximity of the great majority of fathers, they are big a part of this.
Becoming a father can trigger an awakening. It has the potential to change the way a man looks the world and at their own life. We believe that a well-supported, engaged father can break dysfunctional family patterns and become the father their child needs them to be.
Great Fathers simply:
creates resources that new dads can relate to and learn from, and that parenting organisations can use to work with families
provides professional development training around these resources and ways to measure effectiveness
provides workshops to management and staff to share what we have found works with dads
Great Fathers welcomes the move toward New Zealand Aotearoa becoming an increasingly culturally inclusive country. We strive for our work to reflect this.
1 Supporting Kiwi Dads: roles and needs of New Zealand Fathers, The Families Commission, 2009