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Free Home Run Dads class aims to strengthen relationships

Mar 12, 2018 10:54AM
A healthy father-child relationship is one of the most important in a child's life. Healthy Relationship Utah hopes to strengthen those relationships with their free class "Home Run Dads" at the Spanish Fork Library.

The class will start on Wednesday, March 14, at 6:00 p.m. and will be held each Wednesday, ending on April 11. The course is open to Dads in any walk of life who want to strengthen their relationship with their children.

Class instructor Austin Brunson said, "I do think it's important for everyone to know that this is a class for all fathers if they're struggling or not. If the relationship is struggling, we can help. If it's doing great, we can help keep it that way. These are good principles for everyone in every relationship."

The Home Run Dads curriculum is based on the research and writing of Dr. John Van Epp. Brunson said, "It works for all ages and stages," and is "all about giving father's the tools and skills to be amazing dads and form that relationship with their children and maintain it throughout the years with life and all the changes it brings."

Some of the highlights include really knowing your child, developing trust, letting your child know they can rely on you, showing commitment and healthy touch.

Studies show fathers have a huge impact on children. The National Fatherhood initiative has done a lot of research on the father-child relationship and found the child is at greater risk for nearly any risk factor (ie teen pregnancy, delinquency, dropping out of school, substance abuse) if the father hasn't been present in the child's life.

From a personal standpoint, Brunson said, "I know that relationship is so important because relationships are what give power in parenting." It provides space for teaching and discipline.

Brunson told the story of a father in one of his courses who started the practice of giving each child "chair time with daddy" before they went to bed at night. They would sit together and it was a time and space where the children could just talk to him about their day and open up about things they did and thought.

While the father was pleased with the way the kids were opening up to him, he also noticed discipline getting better as there was less resistance to bedtime. Taking that time to improve communication had really helped in other outcomes.

"That's the potential of the course," Brunson said. "It's so vital! When that relationship is intact, the rest kind of falls into place."

Those interested in the class, but unable to attend at that time, can visit healthyrelationshipsutah.org for other times and locations or request to host a free course. Other courses focusing on many types of relationships are available as well.