By Kristian Graves
The positive recognition of fathers in youth, families, and neighborhoods can result in stronger African American families and a stronger youth.
Jasmin Thames, a student, entrepreneur, and full-time mother cherishes the value of a strong African American family. She contributes the impact of a relationship with her father to her successes.
“I was always close with my father as a child; I was the youngest and a daddy’s girl,” Thames said. “I am now a mother of 1, who wanted nothing more than a relationship between my father and my child.”
Thames said her father passed two years before her daughter’s birth in 2021.
“So, I understand the importance of her relationship with her dad more than anything,” she said.
The direct impact of involved fathers increases parenting skills and strengthens families in neighborhoods, causing an impact on the children’s environment inside and outside their homes.
According to the Children and Family Research Partnership at the University of Texas, the relationship between the mother and father is changing quickly, and now both parental figures are responsible for equal co-parenting.
These new and improved ways of thinking eliminate the concept of the stay-at-home mom and the lack of father involvement due to men being the only breadwinner within families. Fathers provide a sense of support and sensibility that every child may or not experience due to their circumstances.
Jonathan Almonord, a Chicago native and college student, embraces the ups and downs of his relationship with his father and knows how his childhood has influenced who he is today, along with his values, morals, and responsibilities as an African American man.
“My relationship with my dad was not always perfect, but I do understand the importance of a two-parent household and why my family maintained one,” Almonord said.
The involvement of an African American father that serves as a positive role model can drastically reduce the risk factors for child abuse and increase protective factors in the lives of young men and women. Physical separation is not always synonymous with father involvement, and many African American families are separated, with the father being 100% involved.
Separation can sometimes strengthen the relationship of a long-distance relationship between the father and child(ren) due to more active communication, visits, and monitoring of a child’s progress inside and outside the classroom, regardless of the distance or relationship between the father and mother.
“My dad was not always physically present in my everyday environment,” said Xavier student Paul Thomas. “But the impact of his presence has taught me the importance and responsibility of what it means to be a father.”
“As a child, I was always eager to know I was given opportunities to spend time with my dad,” he said. “It strengthened my relationship with my paternal family members, as well.”