A Quantitative and Qualitative Inquiry Into Positive Involvement Trends of Contemporary Fathers and Influence of Parenting Programs
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Parent education programs offered by a variety of public health services are effective support and knowledge resources that enhance positive parenting competencies in early childhood and adolescence. However, parenting education programs are less effective and encompass fewer benefits for fathers in comparison to mothers. This study sought to investigate trends of paternal involvement in early childhood and to compare the influence of parenting education programs on paternal involvement and conceptualization of fathers. A sample of 52 fathers, between the ages of 19 to 54, with children 6 years old and younger completed an electronic or hard copy version of a survey questionnaire reporting on their fathering and experiences as a dad. Findings indicate the sample of Canadian fathers self-reported high levels of paternal involvement, including many who favoured play-based interactions with their children. Although no significant difference in levels of involvement was noted between fathers who had versus those who had not previously participated in a parenting education program, half of the Canadian fathers indicated that supports are needed to strengthen their role as fathers. Results suggest that future initiatives to strengthen parent education program services available in Canada should specifically consider the father’s role.