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development | parenting

The Role of Dads – Part 3 – S2 E9

Dad figures play an important role not just in their immediate family, but in their broader community, too. Hear how involved dads can enrich the lives of children, help kids make better decisions, and prepare them for success later in life.

Allan Stockellburg speaks with host Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez for the third and final part of a three-episode series on fatherhood. He shares research that explains why involved dads are good for communities and families.

Podcast Resources:
Guest: Allan Stockellburg
Parent Aid
Love Like A Dad
Parent Aid Facebook
Parent Aid Instagram
Dads Do It All
Strong Families AZ
Host: Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez
Podcast Credits:

host Host: Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez is the Chief of the Office of Children’s Health at the Arizona Department of Health Services. She is married, has two young children, and loves reading (anything except parenting books!) and watching movies and TV. She loves to spend time with her kids (when they aren’t driving her crazy) and celebrate all of their little, and big, accomplishments. Jessica has been in the field of family and child development for over 20 years, working towards normalizing the hard work of parenting and making it easier to ask the hard questions.

host Guest: “Dad Guru” Allan Stockellburg, the executive director of Parent Aid.


Parenting Brief S2 Ep 9 Final (1)

[00:00:00] Jessica Stewart Gonzalez: Welcome back to The Parenting Brief. I’m your host, Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez, an Arizona working mom and Chief of the Office of Children’s Health at the Arizona Department of Health Services. On this podcast, we wanna make the challenging task of parenting a little bit easier. With help from fellow parents and child development experts, get quick tips that you can use today.

[00:00:34] Thank you for tuning in to this episode of The Parenting Brief. Today, we conclude our mini-series on fatherhood with a conversation on the community-wide benefits of involved dads. And as we’ve talked about in our first episode, dads come in all forms. From sports coaches to uncles, to education professionals, these individuals can leave lasting impressions on children in the community.

[00:00:56] We cover those benefits along with ways that we can foster a [00:01:00] community that supports father figures up next.

[00:01:07] Once again, I am here with Allan Stockellburg, the Executive Director of Parent Aid and a dad with some of the best parenting advice out there. We’ve talked a lot over the past two episodes about dads, the characteristics of an involved and responsible dad and how their parenting styles compliment maternal parenting styles.

[00:01:26] Now we’re taking a step back to look at the big picture. Why are dad figures so important in families and communities? So let’s start with families. And again, we’re talking about dad figures, not just fathers. So what are some of those non-traditional dad figures that can be found in a family and how can children benefit?

[00:01:50] Allan Stockellburg: So over the last few decades, there’s actually been a lot of research into this, but I don’t think it gets shouted out very much. I read some of this research and I went, oh my goodness, I’m gonna shout this from the [00:02:00] mountains. And everybody’s gonna come running about why dads are so important. And it turns out like people don’t like a lot of data when it comes to something that’s like from the heart, like being a dad.

[00:02:10] But anyway, we’re still gonna like dump some data on on some of these, so when children have more responsible men involved in their lives, it’s been shown that they tend to have stronger vocabulary and language skills. And I always find this incredibly interesting because we’re commonly said that we don’t talk to our kids as much.


[00:02:28] But what we do know is that we use very different words. So Jessica question for you, have you ever said something to your children and they just kind of went, huh? Or like didn’t do it, but then your partner said something to your children, they went, oh, okay, and then they went and did it?

[00:02:40] Jessica Stewart Gonzalez: God, everyday.

[00:02:42] Allan Stockellburg: Right, and that’s just, maybe he used words that made more sense in their brain. I know I once had somebody who said, I need to practice my Allan voice because I’ll say something and he goes, what? And you say something and it’s, I feel like it’s the exact same thing I just said, and he goes, oh yeah, that makes perfect sense.

[00:02:56] Right, so just because we’re two different humans being in a child’s [00:03:00] life, we’re gonna use different words, different speech patterns, different ways of, of communication. And they tend to have stronger vocabulary because of that. So another thing that they’ve shown that kids can benefit from a responsible father in their lives is that they have an increased level of self-esteem.

[00:03:14] Now that is how well they, they think about themselves, right? Their viewpoint. And so many times we confuse that message with like kids that are overly confident or conceited and all self-esteem means how you feel about yourself. And I think we want children to feel positively about themselves and just by naturally being in a child’s life

[00:03:34] they’ve found that those children have a higher level of self-esteem. And I think that’s mostly just because it’s yet another adult in their life giving them a level of praise. Now there’s a lot of men out there that are hesitant to praise a little bit, and if I can encourage anybody who’s listening that children desperately need to hear three things from us as men, and they need to be given often and they need to be given freely.

[00:03:57] But that is, one, that I love you, [00:04:00] two is you’re good at this, and three is, I am proud of you or I’ll take the substitute of you should be proud of yourself.

[00:04:09] Jessica Stewart Gonzalez: So what are some of the benefits to a community overall in having dad figures participate in families and their community and teachers and coaches and these individuals who aren’t necessarily in that family unit, but certainly play that part that co-parenting part or that relationship, how does that benefit our community? And especially for our younger kids?

[00:04:37] Allan Stockellburg: Well, how much time do we have, because that’s a really long list. My list is a shortened list and I kind of got it down to the key ones that I think are important that resonate well within a community.

[00:04:48] But when there are more responsible dads in a given community and everything else is, is figured out and we adjust for racial differences, ethnic differences, socioeconomic differences, everything, they have found some key [00:05:00] things, and they’ve found that when there’s more dads involved in a community, there’s lower teen pregnancy rates, there’s lower incarceration rates. There’s less incidents of child abuse, which I find interesting because I work in child abuse and it’s a common misconception that it’s the dad that tends to perpetrate child abuse more when the largest subsection of people who are reported for child abuse are just single parents.

[00:05:26] That’s the biggest one is just a single parent. Not, not just single mom, single dad. And think about why is that? That’s because they are stressed out. They don’t have the support of the other person.


[00:05:35] Right, and that is why they are at the highest one. So the next one down tends to be when there’s a step parent, and then it goes to a two parent household.

[00:05:45] Kind of is that hierarchy there. There’s reduced substance abuse in the entire community, which I just find is, is wild. Really interesting one, there’s better teen decision making, and that relates to the substance abuse that also relates to the teen pregnancy. They have found there [00:06:00] is less obesity, there’s a healthier BMI in a community when there are more involved fathers in a community.

[00:06:07] Jessica Stewart Gonzalez: So how can being a responsible dad benefit the dad himself?

[00:06:13] Allan Stockellburg: So this is an area where we don’t commonly think a lot, right? We think like, well, if you show up, you’re gonna benefit the people around you. And it’s not often considered, like, just showing up to your kids is gonna benefit you as well.

[00:06:23] Right? So they find that dads tend to have a higher level of job satisfaction. And I think some of that is because they understand the role that their job plays in their life when they are in a family. They understand that the job helps provide for the family, and so they tend to be more satisfied in their occupation because of that. They’ve also found related to that, that more involved dads tend to be higher performers, which I find incredibly interesting, cuz the common thought is that, oh, if he’s an involved dad, that means he’s taken off early to go to baseball games and you know, he’s bouncing out on field trip days, but they find that he tends to be more [00:07:00] productive and a better employee.

[00:07:01] And I think some of that goes to that, that higher level of job satisfaction. He understands why the job is important in his life. Right? Involved dads tend to have increased health across the board, physical, emotional, social health, as well as a longer life expectancy. Um, and there’s a lot of things that go into that life expectancy, but one thing I find incredibly wild is that they have researched that dads tend to drive seven miles per hour slower than their bachelor counterparts across all averages. So that could add one level of life expectancy that I find really interesting.

[00:07:30] Jessica Stewart Gonzalez: Is that even when the children are not in the car?

[00:07:33] Allan Stockellburg: Yeah, just consistently driving, we tend to make better decisions and keep ourselves safer.

[00:07:39] And that goes with like even substance abuse, dads tend to smoke less, drink less, engage in other substances at a much lower rate than our bachelor counterparts. We also tend to have less stress. Now when I was 20, if you would’ve told me, hey, the easiest way to reduce some stress in your life is like, go have some kids I’d have been like, you are crazy.

[00:07:59] Like, [00:08:00] no. But they have actually found that involved dads have lower levels of cortisol across the board than their bachelor counterparts, and I find that incredibly interesting. And one of the last ones is that they have lower rates of depression and aggression. You know, the depression I think, is related to a lot to that we’re not self-treating with a lot of these other substances. We’re not doing a lot of these other reckless activities, but the aggression I find so interesting. And all I have for that is that we get a regular oxytocin hit with our kids around and we get those feel good hormones, so we tend to just be a little calmer and not so aggressive in other areas of our lives.

[00:08:35] Jessica Stewart Gonzalez: Well, thank you for joining us for this mini series, Allan, thank you so much for your time, your expertise, your opinions, your real life experience to contribute to this topic.

[00:08:46] Allan Stockellburg: Yes. Thank you very much for having me. It’s something near and dear to my heart and something that I hope gets more attention and understanding for years to come.[00:09:00]

[00:09:01] Jessica Stewart Gonzalez: Just because we’ve concluded this mini series doesn’t mean that the conversation stops here. Head to the show notes for more links and resources to learn more about today’s topic. If you missed the last two episodes, be sure to go back and listen to them too. And finally follow the podcast today on your favorite podcast app. That way you won’t miss out on any of our future conversations. If you learned something new today, share the episode with friends and family, including the parents, or soon to be parents in your life. Until then this is Jessica. You’ve got this.

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