‘Take Time to Be A Dad Today,’ Says Obama Administration’s Fatherhood Web Site

By Penny Starr | December 28, 2011 | 9:15 AM EST

President Barack Obama holding hands with his daughters Malia, left, and Sasha, right, leave Sea Life Park, a marine wildlife park, with family friends, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2011, in Waimanalo, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(CNSNews.com) – As President Barack Obama spends time with his daughters Malia and Sasha in Hawaii, public service announcements airing in the Washington area remind other dads to sign the president’s “fatherhood” pledge.

Launched in June 2011 and managed by the Health and Human Services Department, the Fatherhood.gov Web site is part of the president’s Fathering and Mentoring Initiative.

It offers parenting advice, including the line “Take time to be a dad today.” It also links to dating Web sites, and asks visitors to sign a pledge to “do everything we can” for “our children and for young people whose fathers are not around.”

“President Obama grew up without his dad, and has said that being a father is the most important job he has,” the Web site says.

In addition to the pledge, the Web site includes a wide range of topics for fathers, including domestic violence, stepfamilies, “incarceration and reentry” and child support and custody issues.

A “games and activities” section encourages fathers to direct their children to the PBS Kids Web site for “curriculum based entertainment.” It also recommends Sesame Street, Nickelodeon and Disney Web sites.

Under “Valentine’s Day Activities,” in addition to making cards and baking sweets, the Web site includes a link to the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center, a clearinghouse on marriage issues. There, fathers can find relationship advice, including tips on dating.

One article posted by the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center suggests that individuals list the characteristics they are seeking in a mate. It also advises them to pay attention to “deal breakers.”

“A deal breaker might be someone who smokes, has a huge amount of debt, doesn’t like dogs, didn’t graduate from high school, etc.,” the article states. “Deal breakers will vary from person to person, but you should not compromise on the things that are important to you.”

A section on “premarital communications” says couples should talk about “everything” before getting married – including topics such as have you “ever had a sex change” and “are you legally single.”

Talk about everything before marriage like your families, parenting styles, career goals and aspirations, where you want to live, where you like to vacation, religious preferences, where you grew up, what your childhood was like, finances, finances, finances, budgeting, credit reports, health issues, have you ever been incarcerated, confined to a mental institution, ever had a sex change, have children from a previous relationship, are you a fugitive, are you bisexual, ever declared bankruptcy, HIV/AIDS, STDS, previous pregnancies, do you want children, and are you legally single. Talk about everything. The more you know the better decisions you can make.

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A 54-minute podcast with “relationship experts” discusses the pros and cons of un-married couples living together. One expert states at the beginning of the podcast that he does not want to be an “infomercial” against living together because “I did it.”

The podcast offers statistics showing that the majority of couples who live together don’t get married and those who live together before they get married have higher rates of divorce.

The National Healthy Marriage Resource Center – launched with initial funding from the Health and Human Services Department -- also offers a video clip of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Nov. 1 interview with the New York Times in which she says “good marriages take work” and that it would be unfair to young people to represent marriage as “this perfection that doesn’t exist.”