Since 2013 one of the priorities of “Center Dardedze” is to stress fathers’ involvement in children’s upbringing to reduce the risks of violence in children’s lives. The specialists of “Center Dardedze” in cooperation with fathers who have children in pre-school age has created a program “Fathers are Important”. The creators of this program were inspired by similar programs in Sweden, Russia, Norway, the USA and Brazil. Currently “Center Dardedze” has already conducted three fathers’ groups, prepared group leaders in several regional governments and Christian church congregations.
These meetings provide space for men where they can express their concerns and discuss the challenges during the parenting process. Fathers can learn from each other’s experience which is based on un/solved problems and they may experience the support from the group’s leaders and other members of the group.
The group is a place where to find answers to the following and similar questions:
- If my son is screaming at me do I have to scream even louder to show him my authority and to make him respect me? Or do I have to tell him how I feel and ask him what is wrong?
- Can I bath my two-year old daughter or should it be done only by a woman?
Many men do not have anyone to discuss these questions openly and boldly. One of the biggest benefits of attending the group discussions with other fathers is the free choice to discuss questions about upbringing concerns in a supportive atmosphere. Even when it is not possible to give one correct answer, fathers may have come to their own conclusions by hearing other fathers’ solutions of various dilemmas.
The main tasks of fathers’ groupsare:
- To increase the fathers’ understanding about their role while expecting the baby
- Provide the information on how to take care of yourself and your partner
- To give an insight into the meaning of positive communication within the family and relationships with the child
- To increase fathers’ understanding on positive discipline while raising the child
- To assist the participants to associate their experience as a child with his experience as a father
Men who are expecting the baby or fathers who are raising children under the age of 5 are invited to attend the program which consists of 6 meetings. The meetings are held once a week in the evenings of a working day, one meeting is 1.5-2 hours long. The groups are conducted by two leaders who are fathers themselves and who are willing to share their experience and ready to encourage other dads on the importance of fathers’ role in every child’s life.
During the meetings fathers are invited to think about the following issues:
*My needs as a father and the impact on children’s lives
*My role as a father during the expectancy of a child
*What can I offer to my child as a dad?
*How to take care about yourself and your partner
*How to see the world through child’s eyes
*Child’s positive discipline
Reviews from fathers’ groups
- In fathers’ groups I experienced positive emotions and exchanged experience. I received solutions which I may use in problem situations.
- I have acquainted myself with other fathers’ experience and it will help me to raise my own children.
- Good advices from the experts on how to discipline my children.
- I have broadened my horizons. Now I see there may be various problem solutions.
- I have become more tolerant.
- This is a wonderful club for “anonymous fathers”.
- An excellent experience based on the exchange of different views.
In 2014 the members of the fathers’ group decided themselves to create Fathers’ club in “Center Dardedze”. The format of the fathers’ groups is closed, the number of participants and meetings is fixed, also the topics of discussions are previously defined. Not all the fathers may attend meetings six weeks, moreover it is difficult to include new participants in closed groups. Therefore the idea of Fathers’ club was created. The format of the club is open and it is not required to attend it regularly – fathers may come once or many times. The fathers themselves distribute the information on the Fathers’ club but it is also available on “Center Dardedze” website. The Fathers’ club is held once a week in the evenings of a working day. Each time one theme is chosen for the club’s discussion. There are times when a specialist (psychologist, teacher) joins the meeting which may help to start the discussion. The most important aim of the Fathers’ club is to strengthen each other in a positive atmosphere and democratic environment.