Mindful Fathering is a 12-week group program supporting men to become the fathers they want to be. When a father comes to Mindful Fathering it is because he is making the CHOICE to come (not because someone else says so).
Mindful Fathering is for fathers of all ages, backgrounds, orientations and cultures who have exposed their children to abuse and/or intimate partner violence.
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Check out this sample Agenda—this is pretty much how each session goes.
Each week Mindful Fathering starts with dinner. Dinner time gives everyone a chance to “turn off” what was going on before group and start focusing on the work we are here to do together. Please let us know if you have any food allergies or dietary restrictions. By the way, dinner is on us!
Over 12 weeks, we address six key concepts that may seem straightforward, but aren’t always easy to put into practice. That’s why Mindful Fathering is here, to support you all the way and help you learn skills and techniques to be a great father.
Each week builds on the previous session and we will spend more than one week on some concepts. It all depends on the issues you and the fathers in your group need some help with. No two groups are the same. No two fathers are the same.
As you participate in the sessions, you’ll learn more about mindfulness, how it works and how it can help you be a better father. For now, the short answer is:
Mindfulness is…staying in the moment, paying attention to our feelings, thoughts and behaviours.
That is okay. You’re probably not the only one. While some fathers feel comfortable jumping in and talking right away, others prefer to hang back and check things out before they talk.
Some fathers worry they will make mistakes or won’t be able to express themselves clearly. That is okay too. By speaking up and asking questions, you help yourself and others in the group.
Soon you will see that the fathers and facilitators all want you to feel comfortable and speak when you are ready.
During the first group, we create our own Group Guidelines to help everyone feel more comfortable. The Guidelines are like the “dos and don’ts” of group. We know that when people understand what is expected of them, they can start to feel more comfortable.
That is okay, too. We talk about a lot of tough issues in group and sometimes fathers get upset and angry. Other times, just listening to what is being said can stir up feelings or memories. Feeling sad, overwhelmed, scared—all feelings are okay. We all have them and it is important to get to know them. We also talk about triggers to help you learn how to identify and manage your feelings and behaviour. Mindfulness helps too.
We know many important things could get in the way of attending Mindful Fathering. Even so, we want you to try to attend every session. It is a 14-week program and each session builds on the previous one. This means there is no way to make up for a missed session. That being said, talk to us. Call us. Let us help you figure out how you can attend Mindful Fathering.
Fathers and families face many challenges and sometimes they need support outside of group. We are here to help. You can talk to us before, during or after group. In between groups, you can call us. We can also connect you with different kinds of supports and services available through our agency. We are also here for your children and their mothers and can connect them to services and supports. Please talk to us about what is going on so that we can help.