Speirein is the Greek origin of our word “sperm,” and the original word means to sow, or scatter. Some Virginia men feel they need to adhere to that original meaning, spreading their offerings all over the state to Virginia’s women from Accomack to Winchester. They are biological fathers, but are they really fathers? What makes a father a better Dad?

More Than a Donation

Nature makes it too easy for men to … ah … scatter their seed, admittedly. Yet you can step up and be a better father by realizing your role is more than a donation, more than a few minutes of frisky fun. Programs to help you be a better father abound in and around Hampton Roads. Consider, for example, The Up Center.

The Up Center has a program, Strengthening Fathers that helps young fathers (16 to 24) navigate the frightening, exhilarating new world of fatherhood. The services are tailored to young fathers selected for a pre-release program.

While in this comprehensive program, fathers benefit from parenting classes, case management, job development skills, and life coaching with adult mentors.

Virginia needs fewer absentee fathers, and this program promotes family engagement and healthy relationships. Its goal is to reduce recidivism in the community. It also tries to keep families intact, so fathers once distant feel comfortable and in control as part of the young families they started.

Virginia fathers in the program benefit from referrals to community resources, family reunification assistance, GED assistance and preparation, and help with transportation.

Dads to Be

Rookie Dads can learn the ropes of diapers, bottles, tantrums and more at father-to-be classes in Hampton Roads. The free, two-hour class gives Hampton Roads men a place to gather with other men to talk about what to expect from parenthood.

New Dads can learn about feeding, diapering, and bathing their infants. They can learn safe sleeping techniques in a supportive, compassionate environment.

Hampton Roads Dads attending the classes each receive a Dad diaper bag filled with … useful, educational goodies. Hey, that’s better than what is in most diapers!

Are Kids Your Priority?

Even the most experienced parents can sometimes use a few reminders and refresher courses. Kids Priority One, a program of the Hampton Roads Kiwanis Children’s Council, offers various formal sessions:

  • One-time parenting workshops — Topics include minor and typical children’s behaviors, discipline challenges, child development, tips for parenting children with special needs, managing parental stress, and baby care
  • Co-parenting class — Four hours of hands-on instruction
  • Multi-session parenting courses — From four to 14 weeks of direct instruction on topics such as serious discipline, behavior, or anger management issues; and improving parenting skills for parents of children with special needs
  • Intensive parenting with children — Parents and children spend at least 10 and often more than 20 weeks for parents with a history of ineffective parenting, children being placed outside the family home, or involvement with Child Protective Services (CPS).

Developing Tools for Better Fatherhood

City of Norfolk’s Fatherhood Development Group sends Dads back into the classroom for 10-week courses in responsible parenting. Fathers of all ages can come together, share their experiences, learn from each other, and find new insight into the challenges of fatherhood.

The course covers 25 different modules for fathers either volunteering to gain more knowledge or who are mandated to attend. Only Norfolk and Hampton Road fathers are able to participate, keeping the focus local.

The topics differ week to week and include issues such as these:

  • Understanding the Child Support System
  • Self-Sufficiency
  • Dealing with Stress
  • Male/Female Relationships
  • Building your Child’s Self-Esteem

Thank You for Your Service

Military families bear the brunt of most of society’s failings. In the Hampton Roads area, we see thousands of military families stressed and strained by economics, marital issues, and family problems.

Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters (CHKD) provides a special support system for fathers in the military. You can join a webinar, attend a parenting class, get one-on-one help with home safety, and much more.

Feeling particularly upset, stressed, or unsure? With CHKD-recommended Give an Hour you can find a comforting voice at the other end of a telephone call, without being tied down to a regular schedule.

Naval Station Norfolk also provides help to military Dads, through the Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC). The Center provides:

  • Counseling for domestic, financial and personal issues
  • Deployment support
  • Exceptional family member support for military Dads with special needs children
  • Financial programs
  • Free parenting and life skills programs
  • Transition and employment assistance

Healthy Families

Hampton’s Healthy Families program offers four strands based on your children’s ages and developmental needs:

  1. The Early Years 
  2. The School Years — For parents and their children ages five to 18, these sessions focus on successful parent-child communication, problem solving, and helpful discipline strategies
  3. Specialized Programs — Suitable for Dads going through divorce or in need of practical skills, these programs deal head-on with difficult family situations
  4. Organized Playgroups 

I’d Like to Thank the Academy

Parent Academy is an organization offering parenting classes throughout the year. Recent courses included:

  • What’s A Dad To Do?
  • Positive Discipline
  • Children and Trauma
  • Imperfect Parenting
  • Saving for Higher Education

The focus is on improving existing skills, introducing new ideas, and helping Hampton Roads fathers feel more strongly connected to their children. For example, the What’s a Dad to Do? class provides fathers with data and encouragement related to the important role Virginia’s fathers play in the lives of their children.

At The Firm For Men we care about our clients before, during and after their encounters with Virginia family law. Please call our offices at 757-383-9184 or contact us online, so we can help you to be a better father, a better Virginian, and a better man.