Becoming a dad: What to expect and what to do
Being a new dad is wonderful but a bit scary. How do I do this fathering thing? It is just like any other skill – no matter how much natural talent and intuition we have, if we are going to improve, we need to do some learning, as with other activities, to succeed as a new dad we must also overcome any mental blocks we may have. Here are some tips.
Be ready to be a good dad – it isn’t all ‘natural’ and ‘gut feeling’
- Draw a clear line between work life and home life – don’t let work take over.
- The first twenty minutes after arriving home from work is the toughest time of day. The baby might be crying, your partner is tired and needs a break. Be ready for it.
- Help with bathing and nappy changing – it is a wonderful time of bonding and fun, and it gives the baby’s mum a break, which will improve your relationship.
- It is helpful to have a strategy for good fathering before it is too late. Read fathering books such as The Dad Factor: How father-baby bonding helps a child for life by Dr Richard Fletcher or Fathering from the Fast Lane – Practical ideas for busy dads by Dr Bruce Robinson.
- Use a diary to jot down some of the amazing moments you experience as a dad. You will treasure them later in life – so will your children.
- Accept that it is harder to be a good dad today for many reasons – it takes time and sacrifice.
Be supportive of the mother’s role with the baby
- The success of fathering depends to a large extent on the attitude of the mother, which in turn depends on how she is being treated by her partner. If she is supported, loved and feels her role is respected, she will reflect positively with her baby and older children.
- In working with your partner on the arrival of a baby it is vital that her role is respected, her views understood and her needs and difficulties appreciated.
- Reach agreement on how lifestyle changes can best be made.
- Avoid unnecessary and trivial conflicts.
- Love the baby’s mother. Demonstrating that love for her and showing her respect are crucial elements in generating a feeling of security in the child.