Why Great Fathers?
The benefits to children of a second secure attachment is what drives Great Fathers Mana Matua. One secure attachment (usually to the mother) is essential for survival. Two (or more) is better. The baby's father - or father-like person - has the possibility of providing that next secure attachment. Whether the father is the biological father or not is immaterial. The "father" we are focused on is whoever is the second major care-giver.
The majority of children have two parents at the time of birth, this is a fact. 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) who had a partner at their antenatal interview did not have a partner when the baby turned nine-months-old.
Fathers are almost always there through the first year of their child’s life – whether agencies are aware of them or not. This doesn't necessarily mean they are living together, but they are certainly in the picture. Getting men engaged and involved with their baby during pregnancy and first years is a key to transforming these men into caring, nurturing dads.
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 is being shaped. Most of a baby’s experience is based on how people respond to them, and what goes on in the household around them - and fathers, they are a significant part of this.
Becoming a father can trigger an awakening in men - or they can remain oblivious. It has the potential to change the way a man looks at their own life and strive to provide their child what they need. A well-supported father can break historic dysfunctional family patterns.
Great Fathers Mana Matua creates resources that:
are designed by men that are specifically for new dads
meet dads where they are regardless of literacy levels
are informative, positive, attractive and inspiring
help service providers show that they are interested in and want to engaged with dads
All children need the same things: to feel safe, secure and loved as an infant and toddler. How this is expressed to their parents can be different for various cultural groups. We've created our resources to be as culturally embracing of modern Aotearoa New Zealand.