The Importance of a Father's Involvement

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Two new books reinforce the importance of a father's involvement. In The Man Who Would Be Dad, Hogan Hilling recounts personal stories of being the stay-at-home dad of three sons. He points out that mothers and fathers need to trust each other to care for their children in their own way. "Moms also need to encourage their husbands to participate in their children's care, whether it's dressing the baby or going to doctor's appointments," says Hilling, who has helped develop several dad programs in the Los Angeles area.

In Dads and Daughters, advocate Joe Kelly explains that a father's relationship with his daughter is important because he's the first man she'll get to know in life. In other words, he's the standard for what she'll expect of a man and lifelong partner. Kelly, who is the executive director of Dads and Daughters, a national nonprofit organization based in Duluth, MN, encourages fathers to listen to their girls and -- just as they would with their boys -- be physically active with them. "A father who plays with his daughter -- shooting hoops, kicking a ball around, taking walks together -- is making a payment on an insurance policy that she'll grow up to be confident and strong," he says.

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Copyright © 2002. Reprinted with permission from the June/July 2002 issue of Child magazine.

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