Soccer Gets Dads into ADD Parenting

How to teach parenting skills in ways that appeal to fathers.

Thursday November 15th - 2:16pm

Teaching parenting skills in the context of activities that appeal to fathers encourages dads to become more involved in raising ADHD kids, suggests Gregory Fabiano, Ph.D., an assistant professor with the University at Buffalo’s Center for Children and Families.

After noticing that many dads were absent from parent-training programs, he set up a research project to determine strategies that would engage them. Fabiano had one group of kids and their fathers participate in a traditional parenting program; in another group, the children practiced skills on the soccer field, while fathers were taught parenting skills on the sidelines. The second group developed better relationships and reported feeling less tense after participating in the games.

Fabiano believes soccer is an ideal sport for ADHD families, since it requires active participation from everyone on the field, and since parents are able to monitor their kids easily from off the field. “Soccer engages the kids, who we want to be behaving well when the parents are trying out new skills,” said Fabiano. “If [dads] succeed, they are more likely to try [the skills] out at home, when the kids are doing homework or are supposed to clean their rooms.” —University at Buffalo

-as reported in the December/January 2008 issue

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