Reaching Out to Dads
David L. Hill, MD, FAAP, is a pediatrician and author of Dad to Dad: Parenting Like a Pro.His book offers helpful information on infant and child development, illness, vaccines, and coping strategies, among other topics. In an interview with Radio MD, he gives advice on how dads can be better caregivers and better spouses.
Key Concepts: Including Dads in a WIC Setting
Health professionals should encourage fathers to take an active role in their child's medical care. Dads are going to doctors' visits now more than ever, and encouragement from pediatricians and other medical staff is an integral part of their involvement. The Texas Department of Health Services developed a useful worksheet that gives advice to doctors on how to create a more inclusive environment for dads. The main points are:
- encourage positive father involvement; this sends a strong message to families because they look to the pediatrician as the expert on health,
- focus the conversation on the children, rather than the parents' relationship or parenting practices,
- make the doctor's office more dad-friendly by offering flexible hours to accommodate different schedules and having a men's restroom in the office,
- share information about caring for children with all family members, not just the mother.
Is the Medical Office "Father Friendly"?
The Texas Department of Health Service also offers a worksheet that medical staff can use in the office to assess whether the doctor's office is "father friendly." Once completed, the worksheet may help the staff determine which aspects of the physical environment, communication, staffing, and program services can be improved. The worksheet can be downloaded using the link below.