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The Power of Partnership: How the Role of Fathers Promotes Well-Being for the Entire Family System

As Father’s Day approaches, it is time to shine a spotlight on the unsung heroes of modern parenting: millennial dads. Gone are the days of distant and detached father figures; today’s dads are rewriting the script with their unwavering presence, steadfast support, and profound influence on the well-being of the entire family unit. This impact is felt deeply by some of our own KP NCAL MHTP trainees.

In my final year of graduate school, completing my dissertation, and working as a Doctoral Intern, this training year has been the pinnacle of all my training and hard work. As if that wasn’t enough, I had the pleasure of welcoming a happy, healthy baby into my life just a few weeks prior to beginning the training year. All things wonderful and incredible, as well as exhausting and overwhelming! The obstacles of my present reality would be nearly impossible, if not for the love, support, and sacrifices of my husband. He effortlessly picks up where I need him to, he meets me where I am at, and overall sacrifices time for himself and his career to embrace fatherhood with patience and grace. My husband has been the most incredible father to our son. I am more than lucky and blessed to have such an amazing partner and support system. – Raichill Norgrove, Psychology Doctoral Intern

As an NCAL MHTP Post-Doctoral Resident, this training year is the crux of my professional journey. Subsequently, I began this final placement shortly after giving birth to my first child. As I reflect on being nine months postpartum and working full-time to complete my licensing requirements, I am so grateful that I can depend on my husband to be the primary caregiver for our son. My husband has fully embraced his fatherhood experience and every day I am in awe at the phenomenal bonding between father and son. – Dr. Selina Coleman, Psychology Resident

The mark of the father is noteworthy on many levels, all of which contribute to the success of the family.

Presence Matters: Millennial dads understand that their presence is not just physical but emotional and psychological as well. They prioritize quality time with their children, whether it is engaging in playful learning, leading out the bedtime routine, or simply sharing a meal together. Their active involvement in the daily lives of their families fosters a sense of security and belonging that lays the foundation for strong, healthy relationships.

Supportive Partners: In an era of dual-income households and shared responsibilities, millennial dads are stepping up as equal partners in parenting. They recognize the importance of supporting their partners both emotionally and practically, whether it is by sharing household chores, offering a listening ear after a long day, or actively participating in decision-making about their children’s upbringing. By fostering a collaborative and egalitarian approach to parenting, these dads create an environment where everyone feels valued and supported.

Influence Beyond Measure: The influence of millennial dads extends far beyond the confines of the nuclear family. Through their words and actions, they shape the values, beliefs, and aspirations of future generations. Whether it is teaching their children the importance of empathy and kindness, modeling resilience in the face of adversity, or instilling a sense of social responsibility and environmental stewardship, these dads are leaving a lasting legacy that extends far beyond their own lifetimes.

Breaking Down Barriers: Millennial dads are also challenging traditional gender norms and stereotypes, redefining what it means to be a father in the 21st century. They reject outdated notions of masculinity that prioritize strength and stoicism over vulnerability and emotional expression, paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable society where individuals of all genders are free to embrace their authentic selves.

Fatherhood is a valuable role that is filled with complexity and intentionality. Thank you to all the dads who are making the effort to learn and grow in this area of life and love. You are appreciated!

To learn more about the positive impact that a father’s presence in a family system makes, listen to this episode from the Hand in Hand podcast with Chris White, founder of Essential Parenting, and Patty Wipfler, founder of Hand in Hand Parenting– Dads Make a Difference: The Importance of Fathers in Helping Kids Flourish | A Parenting Resources Guide – Hand in Hand Parenting

Contributed by Selina Coleman, MHTP Postdoctoral Resident, Sacramento

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