A Father Involvement Program designed to build co-parenting relationships kicked off in Red Deer on the weekend.
The program, sponsored by Family Services of Central Alberta, encourages the bond between a father and his children through innovative free workshops that run for 12 to 14 weeks.
Family Services of Central Alberta has had five previous workshops of this kind and has graduated about 20 people from the program.
“The biggest reason that we do this is that kids really benefit by having both parents involved in their lives,” said Stewart Adams, group leader and marital family therapist with Family Services of Central Alberta.
Adams and another group leader will take the fathers through various topics during the program such as communication, parenting, co-parenting and building relationships.
“What we start seeing is after about the third session, the group itself really starts to come together and we have an exchange,” Adams said.
“We help fathers understand exactly how important their role is in the raising of their children, not only to create happier and heathier children, but to create a better life for themselves in the process.”
Torben Remy, father of two, was skeptical of the program at first. But as a graduate of the program, he now understands the benefit of talking with other fathers who were experiencing similar challenges. As a hotel worker, intensive shift work kept Remy away from his family, which he says created animosity in the home.
“I was very involved with my work. It created a lot of tension when I was home because I would break up the routine that mom had with the kids,” he said, while also coaching his daughter on her bike at their Red Deer home.
“The program really helped me realize the trouble points and it improved the communication between my wife and me, my kids and me, and it realigned the focus,” he said.
After the program, Remy said he changed his routine, set priorities and found less-intensive employment.
“This was the major advantage. I learned understanding and improved my communication to make this family work,” he said.
The program takes place every Wednesday night. Fathers have supper together and leave their children at the fully qualified daycare offered at the Family Services of Central Alberta offices at 5409 50th Ave.
Another Father Involvement Program will start at the Lacombe Parent Link Centre on April 14. For more information, call 403-782-4686 or 403-309-5834.