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The West Hawaii Fatherhood Initiative has rolled out its Father Engagement training to support our West Hawaii community to better engage with fathers for a safer and stronger community.

Included in the training are handouts for fathers titled:  Awesome Dad Cheat Sheet, Inside Out, Healthy Emotions for Fathers, and Dos and Don’ts of Co-Parenting. These handouts offer great guidance and support for fathers and can serve as excellent conversation starters with fathers looking for ways to improve as fathers, partners, and in life.

A few examples from the Awesome Dad Cheat Sheet:

Don’t look at anything as ‘mom’ duties:  Share responsibilities. Some men still look at certain duties as ‘mom’ duties… don’t be one of those dads. Get involved in everything and share the lead with your baby mama. Changing diapers, giving baths, getting them dressed, even feeding them provide dads with wonderful opportunities to connect with their children all the while giving mama a break; and a happy mama means a happy home.

Love  conquers all: This one sounds corny but it should be at the center of your dad operating philosophy; above all, show your  children love especially when you’re upset. Next time you’re angry, try this. Instead of yelling, give them a hug, let them know that you understand what they’re going through because if they are acting out, they are certainly going through something that a little caring and compassion might help them get through. The alternative is that they get yelled at, feel even worse and don’t feel safe to discuss it with you and then they act out even more. A little bit of love can go a long way. P.S this goes for partners too.

Sense of humor required:  There will be times when your child does something that will make you want to blow your lid; breaking something, writing on the walls, other kinds of mayhem. Before you snap, take a deep breath and see if you are able to find humor in the situation. Remembering for example’ when you were doing the same kind of thing as a kid and this must be karmic payback. Have a laugh at it, help your child clean up the mess and then make safety precautions to protect other valuables. If you are unable to find humor, take as many breaths as you need until you can. This will help both of you learn and love each other.

If you are interested in reading more tips for dads or attending a father group, contact the Fatherhood Initiative at: 808-215-9223. Regular group meetings are every Wednesday at 6:30PM near Costco.