Date of Award
MA - Master of Arts
This two-part paper explores the current state of fathering in the United States of America, and aims at highlighting the importance of active fatherly engagement in the lives of children. Statistics from the United States Census (2010) show that 29.5 percent of children under the age of 18 in the United States of America live in fatherless homes. When a father is engaged in the life of a child, developmental outcomes increase (Roopnarine, 2015). This signals a need to investigate solutions to this problem. Mindfulness is offered as a remedy, and mindfulness programs like Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindful Parenting courses offer teachings that promote non-judgment and awareness. No programs have been found by this author that promote fatherly engagement through Mindfulness.
The first half of this paper includes a personal narrative from the author that explores his own personal journey discovering mindfulness as a father, the sociocultural factors that contribute to the current state of engagement in the United States of America, and the limitations that prevent all men from being fully engaged with their children. It goes on to explain the benefits that being a fully engaged father can have on a child, and the negative effects that stress can have on children. When fathers can be made aware of the benefits and risks to their children, the author suggests that this creates a responsibility and opportunity for fathers to assume leadership roles by modeling awareness and non-reactivity to the many stresses that occur within family life. A mindfulness practice can help fathers to become aware of their own suffering, and begin to see that it is part of the human condition. Having a basic understanding of how Buddhism has brought the concept of mindfulness to the United States America, and learning ways in which it can be applied as a father can be helpful to maintaining a practice during these busy moments of life.
The second half of this paper includes the Mindfulness for New Fathers Curriculum. Mindfulness for New Fathers encourages fathers to begin a mindfulness practice in their lives that focuses on presence, beginning again, self-compassion, managing parental stress, and communicating mindfully. The themes all concentrate on fatherly mindful engagement with their children.
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Dobson, Andrew, "Mindful Fathering: An Investigation and Curriculum" (2017). Mindfulness Studies Theses. 7.