These activities represent most of Lesson 2 from the 4-Lesson Dads
Make a Difference Middle School Curriculum. The Lesson was designed
to be delivered to 7th or 8th graders by trained High School Peer
Educators, in a male and female pair. Adults who have purchased
the curriculum are teaching it themselves to middle school students.
The program is appropriate for a variety of youth venues; a staff
member is presenting it in Juvenile Detention settings. The curriculum
is Copyright copyrighted 2003 by Concordia University Saint Paul.
All rights reserved.
Jan Hayne, Program Director
Dads Make a Difference
Invite the first three volunteers to the front of the room. Hand
each one a label: biological father, legal father, or dad. State:
Remember the children we introduced you to in Lesson One?
Each child had a father who played a different role in the family.
Hand out the definitions of the three kinds of fathers to three
different volunteers. Ask the volunteers to match the definitions
to the father in the front of the room.
with the class to see if they agree the definitions are correctly
matched. Make any necessary changes.
Introduce the definitions of father.
Biological father — the man who
genetically created his child from his sperm
Legal father — the man responsible
for his child legally and financially; includes an adoptive father
Dad — the man who nurtures, guides,
and supports his child
Can a father be more than one of the definitions?
the fourth volunteer to the front of the class. Hand him the Responsible
Father nametag. Tell the class you are now going to build a responsible
father using the best parts of the father definitions.
State: Some day you may choose to be a parent. It is important
to begin defining and thinking about what kind of parent you will
be. Remember you can't control your past but you can plan for
a healthy future.
What does a Responsible Father look like? Write down each description
on Post-it notes to tape onto the Responsible Father as you create
waits to have a baby until he is prepared to support his child
establishes legal paternity
works together with the child's mother to parent
provides love and guidance
never hits in anger
shares with the child's mother in the financial support
Can you be a responsible father when you are 13? What would be
a more responsible choice?This is why it is important for you
to plan and prepare to be responsible parents.
Ask: Why do we focus on fathers and not mothers?
Mothers are easy to identify because they give birth.
Many children do not have fathers active in their lives.
Men sometimes don't have good role models in their lives to teach
them how to be good fathers.
Women sometimes make choices to exclude the father or the father
chooses not to be involved.
Collect the labels and ask students to return to their seats.
Keep the Responsible Father name tag on the student volunteer
for a later activity.
A dad does not have to live in the home to nurture his child.
Fathers play different roles in families.
By supporting them emotionally and financially, all fathers can
positively influence their children.
PATERNITY IS ESTABLISHED
only needs to be legally established when the parents are not married.
Here is an overhead (and handout) that explains the process of establishing
a child is born to a married couple, the husband is assumed to
be the legal father
a child is born to an unmarried couple, there is no assumed father,
1. Parents can sign the Recognition of Parentage form (ROP).
signatures are voluntary.
form may be completed anywhere, but the signature must be notarized.
the parents are over 18, the ROP has the same effect as a court
order establishing paternity.
one or both of the parents is under18, the ROP only assumes parentage.
and parenting time/visitation issues are not addressed in the
Parents can go to court to establish paternity.
judge decides who is the biological father.
testing can be done if one or both of the parents is unsure who
is the biological father.
and parenting time/visitation issues are addressed in the court
support is often set in the paternity court order.
Identifying the legal father benefits all family members. Having
a legal father can also be a protective factor when the father emotionally
and financially supports the child.
Write on the board: Benefits of Establishing Paternity.
Make three columns under the heading. Label the columns: Child,
Hand out Paternity Benefit Slips to different students
in the class. Ask them to place the benefits under the child, the
mother, or the father column on the board. These benefits assume
the parents are not married at the time of birth.
(Each slip you make should contain one of the bullets listed
to the mother:
the right to ask for medical support for the child
knowing she isn’t the only person responsible for raising
the right to receive child support payments
to the father:
access to school and medical records of his child
the right to ask the court for custody
the right to ask the court for parenting time/visitation
to the child:
access to Social Security, military benefits, health care, any inheritance,
and other financial benefits
• child support payments
• acknowledgement of the right to see his/her father.
4. Ask the class if there are any other benefits we can add.
5. Summarize: Establishing paternity has many benefits for
the child, mother, and father. Paternity is only one of the key
components of responsible fathering. Can you name the other three
man who behaves responsibly for his child...
• waits to make a baby until he is prepared emotionally and
financially to support his child
• actively shares with the child’s mother in the continuing
emotional and physical care of their child
• shares with the child’s mother in the continuing financial
support of their child
6. State: Responsible fathering is just part of the equation.
What is the other variable? (responsible mothering) Mothers need
to include the father in the raising of their children. We know
there are times when it is not safe for a child to have the father
involved if he has a history of abuse or addiction. However, moms
and dads working together can only benefit the child. This is called
is when both mother and father, whether living together or not,
collaborate as a team, using their strengths and skills to raise
healthy, well-adjusted children. In the next activity you will meet
John and Marita. Although not married or sharing a home, they are
working together to raise their daughter.
PAYING CHILD SUPPORT
1. Ask the class, what does child support mean?
In addition to being money paid to support children financially,
it also represents what a father and mother should do to support
their children emotionally, physically, and psychologically. The
only thing the government can effectively monitor and manage is
the money paid to support children.
Read the facts about child support enforcement.
Child support is money paid by the parent who is not living with
the child for housing, food, clothing, utilities, and basic living
In Minnesota, there are child support guidelines to decide the amount
of money to be paid based on two factors — the number of children
and the income of the parent who owes child support.
Minnesota law allows child support payments to be withheld automatically
from the income of the person paying support.
Ask the student who wore the Responsible Father label to
come back to the front of the class. Introduce the class to John.
John is a responsible father in many ways but his life is not
easy. John is 22 and not married. A year ago, he fathered a child
with his girlfriend, Marita.After the birth of his daughter, Anna,
John signed the Recognition of Parentage form. He is the legal father
of Anna and is paying child support. John works the second shift
so he is able to take care of Anna during the day, while her mother
works. He recently finished a water babies class with her and often
spends time with her at the local park. John lives on his own and
has a full-time job making $9.00 an hour. Let’s figure what
John must pay for child support and how much he has left to live
Use an overhead of the Paying Child Support worksheet while handing
out a copy to each student. Ask them to fill in their worksheets
based on John’s income. The key is listed below.
for John’s child support payments:
he pays taxes and deducts his $90-per-month health insurance,
John has a net monthly income of $1080
of children for this order 1
of income for child support 25%
total monthly child support $270
State: Each month, John will have $270 deducted from his
paycheck for child support.
amount does not include payment toward child care expenses. If the
mother of John’s child has child care expenses because of
school or work, John would have to make a contribution toward those
expenses.) After the child support deduction, John has no more than
$810 left each month to live on. Is that a lot? Let’s see
how long the money lasts.
Ask the class for nine volunteers.
John the $810 in play money and give him thecheck for child support.
Each of the other eight will play the role of a person in John’s
each of them one of the Cost of Living cards.
them read the cards to themselves.
student with Card #A (Marita) will approach John and read the
card out loud.
will hand Marita the child support check and then the person with
Card #1 will continue as John pays the necessary money.
students go in order of their card numbers, collecting their money.
After each one, John counts the money he has left.
The cards are:
Marita, mother of their daughter, Anna $270 –
“Thanks, John for being a responsible father.This money
will help pay for medical insurance, diapers, and food for Anna.”
Landlord — “Hey, John, It’s
the first of the month.You owe me $420 for rent.”
2. Banker — “I am the Bank
Officer, you owe me $50 for that ’89 truck.”
3. Insurance Agent — “I
am the Insurance Agent.You must have insurance for your truck.Please
pay me $110.”
4. Service Station Attendant —“Hey
man – you owe $60 for this month’s gasoline.By the
way, your brakes are going to need work soon.”
5. Telephone —“I am the Phone
company employee.If you want to keep that phone, you need to give
6. Grocery Store Clerk — “That
will be $130, please.Do you think that will hold you for the month?”
7. Store Clerk — “Nice threads!$30.Do
you want us to put that on lay-away?”
Total Expenses $830
Monthly budget $810
Does he have any left? -$20
Friend — “Hey, John, You just
got paid, right? Let’s go out tonight.”
8. Ask: Can John go out with his friend?
though John is broke, what protective factors is he providing
type(s) of father is John? [legal, biological, dad, or responsible]
did you learn from this activity?
to Activities and Lessons Index