by Ryan Labadens, U.S. Navy Public Affairs

Sometimes a person could use a few helpful pointers and tips to help guide them down the path of improvement, whether it’s in their job, in a relationship, or in parenting.

The 27/7 Dad workshops, offered by the Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) onboard Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport, are designed to do just that for all fathers and father figures out there, giving them guidance on how they can be the best dads they can be.

“Some people might not have had that role model for a father when they were growing up,” said Jim Soriano, FFSC counselor, who noted sometimes people may have had a step-father, a grandparent, uncle or other person fill that role in their lives.

“So for the people who attend this class, it’s not that they’re a bad father – what it is simply designed to do is give them the skills and tools they need so they can become an even better father.”

Soriano has been serving as a counselor at FFSC for 16 years now, and is a licensed marriage and family therapist, as well as a licensed professional counselor, who performs individual and couples counseling in addition to teaching various other life-management classes that deal with issues such as stress and anger management, domestic violence, and trauma, just to name a few.

Both Soriano and Gerard Tarrant, FFSC child counselor, work together to lead the six-session 24/7 Dad workshops.

The course material is designed to be interactive and encourage participation.

It provides advice on how fathers can express their own emotions with their children, develop skills for both listening to and communicating with their children, give guidance on ways to become more involved as a parent, provide effective tips for disciplining, punishing and rewarding their children, and balancing work life and family life.

All of these topics can open the doors to helping fathers gain a better understanding of themselves, of their role as a father or father figure, and of being a good role model for their children.

Soriano said one of the most important aspects the workshop stresses is communication, especially with the person’s spouse or significant other so that they can both encourage open dialogue and work together toward being on the same page when it comes to raising their children.

“It’s important to look at how both you and your spouse really need to be consistent in the way you reward, the way you discipline, the way you punish, and overall in the way you guide your children into adulthood so that you can both work together as a parenting team,” said Soriano.

Soriano also stressed that with parenting, actions speak louder than words.

“Remember that your child is like a sponge, absorbing what they see and hear,” said Soriano.

“So the way you deal with your mental health and your physical health – whether it’s exercising or eating right – that’s the way the child will often deal with their mental or physical health.”

Workshop sessions take place every Monday and Wednesday from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the NCBC Fleet and Family Support Center (Bldg. 30), and eligible patrons interested in registering for a workshop can call FFSC at 228-871-3000 for more information.