Strong families are critically important to the well-being of children and dramatically impact the health, stability, safety and viability of communities throughout the United States. Helping fathers improve their ability to create and sustain stable marriages and promoting consistent, active, responsible engagement with their children is vitally important to the well-being of children and communities.
Resilient marriages and families are built on core values and behaviors that are significantly influenced by early life experiences. Men generally prepare for their roles as husbands and fathers based on the examples provided by their fathers, who learned from their own fathers, and so on.
Through the middle of the 20th century, those examples primarily provided a model for marriages based on security, stability and raising children with men traditionally serving as primary breadwinners and women most often assuming primary responsibility for raising and nurturing their children.
As women increasingly entered the workforce to help meet the challenges of World War II and continued to pursue education and career opportunities over subsequent decades, gender roles and the basis of marriage gradually shifted to peer relationships sustained by love and intimacy (Satir, 1983).
Men who looked to the examples of their own fathers for models of relationship increasingly floundered, leading to significant increases in national rates of marital and family breakdown and generations of American children raised in single-parent households. Those children typically reached adulthood without the knowledge or skills needed to create and sustain their own marriages and parental relationships, contributing to exponential rates of divorce, greater numbers of children born to single parents, and millions of youngsters growing up without the critical involvement and resources provided within stable, two-parent homes.
These experiences have substantially contributed to social conditions that threaten the very fabric of American society, culture and potential for economic prosperity, including dramatic increases in delinquent and illegal behaviors that lead to juvenile and adult incarceration, illegal drug use, risky sexual activities, declining academic performance, mental and physical health consequences, increased poverty, and the squandered potential of children – our future generations.
Research demonstrates that PAIRS relationship skills training, a behavioral/cognitive educational approach developed, evaluated, and refined over a quarter century, has the potential to reverse this trend and significantly contribute to strengthening families and improving outcomes for children.
Click here for the full report, "PAIRS Relationship Skills Training Helps Men Succeed as Husbands and Fathers (January 2010)."