Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Of Moms, Gates, and Father Involvement

Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal has a wonderful article today for her regular work and family column. She focuses on the impact of mom's approval or disapproval on the father's level of involvement in child rearing.

She gives 3 great ways to cut down on the chance of Mom acting as an exclusionary gatekeeper:

  1. Skills training
  2. Peer support
  3. Awareness
Amen. NFI's Pop's Culture: National Survey of Dads' Attitudes on Fathering found that, when dad is need of help, he turns first to the mother of his children. Obviously her response is critical at that point. And helping moms help dads is exactly why NFI produced a "Mom as Gateway" module for our popular fathering curriculum 24/7 Dad.

Shellenbarger hits the nail on the head with this one!


  1. This post is so critical and the mothers need to be educated as well as the men on the importance of the fathers role.

    I am so glad to see the new cirriculum being put in place to addres this issue and look forward to getting a copy when it is available.

  2. It strikes me as a bit disingenuous to call a curriculum "Mom as Gateway" when experience bears out what Shellenbarger clearly states: "The findings reveal how women and men alike can trigger gatekeeping."

    Way to blame the mother, from the get-go, for a father's lack of involvement. You can do better.

  3. Dear Anonymous,
    Thanks for your comment. Perhaps you are misinterpreting the purpose of the Mom as Gateway curriculum. It is designed to positively engage mothers in helping fathers be the best dads they can be. There is nothing about blame in any of the curriculum. It is simply another way to increase father involvement in the lives of their children.


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