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5 Protective Factors Series: Social Connections

Social Connections

About social connections CSSP states, “Friends, family members, neighbors and community members provide emotional support, help solve problems, offer parenting advice and give concrete assistance to parents. Networks of support are essential to parents and also offer opportunities for people to ‘give back’, an important part of self-esteem as well as a benefit for the community. Isolated families may need extra help in reaching out to build positive relationships.”

Many of NFI’s programs include sessions that build the relationship skills essential to fathers effectively connecting with others (adults and children). Father-specific programs and resources are particularly important to developing emotionally- and spiritually-intimate social connections because, compared to women, most men are raised to build networks for the exchange of material goods and information. Their networks do not provide the level of emotional and spiritual support they need to reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect.

NFI’s programs create bonds between fathers and facilitators and among fathers through delivery in a group setting. NFI understands that these powerful connections can and should live beyond the end of father-involvement programs. We provide technical assistance and training to organizations on creating “alumni programs” in which fathers who complete a program can continue to interact formally—by participating in one or more additional programs that further build their pro-fathering skills, attitudes, and knowledge—or informally, such as by volunteering to help the host organization conduct community events and recruit other fathers into programs.

This continued engagement of fathers after a program ends further deepens fathers’ social connections by keeping them engaged in a positive environment/network, a particular challenge when working with fathers who have been socially isolated or involved in networks characterized by anti-social behavior.

Look next week for the third post in this series.

Dad’s League has access to all the NFI resources mentioned in this article. Contact Antione Harvis with questions – 334-749-8400 or email at antione.harvis@ccrc-alabma.org. 

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