Findings from the rapidly growing science of early childhood and brain development show that a father’s active participation and emotional engagement with his children leads to improved social, emotional, behavioral, and academic outcomes. The research confirms that a father’s emotional engagement — not the amount of time fathers spend with children, rather how they interact with them — leads to multiple positive outcomes, and serves as a significant protective factor against high risk behaviors in both girls and boys. This holds true for resident and nonresident fathers alike. For example:

  • More frequent father engagement in their child’s literacy and education results in higher achievement levels in reading and math for the children.
  • Positive father engagement is associated with lower levels of impulsivity, higher ratings of self-control, and better stress tolerance.
  • Fathers who become involved in school settings early in their children’s lives are more likely to stay engaged longer.

At The Fatherhood Project at Massachusetts General Hospital, we believe that educators working with families in schools have an unprecedented opportunity to utilize these important findings and dispel the myth that fathers are somehow unimportant or unnecessary to raising healthy children. Our work with schools focuses on:

  1. Strengthening the essential emotional connection between fathers and their children in the early years by offering the opportunity to have fun together while learning and practicing lifelong relationship skills.
  2. Educating the parent community about the positive impact fathers have on child outcomes when they are actively involved in children’s lives at home and school.
  3. Empowering school and parent leaders to create a more father-inclusive school environment.
*The words ‘dad’ and ’father’ are meant to be inclusive of any adult primary or
significant caregiver, including but not limited to stepfathers, uncles, mentors, grandfathers, etc.

About John

PAST CLIENTSJohn Badalament is the Director of Programs at The Fatherhood Project at MassachusettsGeneral Hospital. He is the author of the acclaimed Modern Dad’s Dilemma: How to Stay Connected with Your Kids in a Rapidly Changing World and director of the PBS documentary All Men Are Sons: Exploring the Legacy of Fatherhood. His work has been featured on ABC News, National Public Radio and in Men’s Health, The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times,, and Independent School.

Over the last two decades, John has spoken and consulted internationally in schools, government agencies, and nonprofit and private-sector organizations. For the last three years, John has been recognized in the New York Times by for his commitment to ending violence against girls and women.

In 2012, John was invited to the White House for the Champions of Change Father’s Day meeting with other national leaders. In 2016, John was invited to The White House again for the administration’s first-ever Dialogue On Men’s Health.

With a Master’s degree from the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University, he has worked in independent school settings as a counselor, teacher, and dean of students. He lives with his wife and two school-aged children outside of Boston.




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