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The Essential Guide For New Dads

Updated on August 22, 2016
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A mother and a dedicated nurse who values children and family. A passionate writer aiming to help others by sharing my own experiences.

Spend quality time with your baby everyday.
Spend quality time with your baby everyday. | Source

Fathers Are Competent Caregivers

Fathers are competent caregivers and are just as sensitive as mothers to their child’s needs and signals throughout the first year of life. This is an important finding because earlier research focused only on mothers it was commonly believed that fathers were not as competent as mothers in caring for their newborn babies. This finding opens up many more opportunities for you as a father. A good first step is to regularly spend some time alone with your newborn so that you can develop your own relationship with him. Being warm and caring towards your child makes the biggest difference. While the process of influence for fathers is the same as for mothers research consistently shows that father’s behaviors influence children’s outcomes independently of mother’s behaviors. For both parents, warmth and closeness are associated with more positive outcomes for children.

Parenting Is About What Children Needs

Research has now examined some of the longer term effects of fathering on children. For example in one of the most widely cited studies, the active involvement of a father in the preschool years resulted in lower levels of delinquency in teenage sons and a father's interest in his child’s education was associated with adult daughters levels of educational achievement. In a recent study fathers with high levels of warmth and self-efficacy were found to have children who got on better with their friends and had more advanced language literacy and mathematical skills. The actual amount of time fathers spent with their children was not related to child outcomes meaning that what fathers do when they are there is more important. Let us take a step back and consider what the research tells us about fathering in terms of what influences fathers have and how the process of fathers influencing their children actually occurs. It is no surprise that what mothers and fathers do both individually and together has a significant impact on the well-being of their children on their partners and on themselves, although the impact that being a father has on fathers is something that is often overlooked. What does come as a surprise to us is the continuing quest by researchers to demonstrate that fathers matter and that they have a unique contribution to a child’s development. Mother’s fathers and children know that fathers are important and research continues to confirm this. It is true that on average fathers have more choices or options than mothers in terms of how involved they are. Fathers are more likely to be in the paid workforce and they are also less likely than mothers to have cared for children in the past. Fundamentally parenting is about what children need not about the gender of the caregiver and your child needs you to be actively involved in his life. Your child will also model or adopt different things from you and from their mother as much as anything else because you are different people.

Respect your partner and her wishes. Be careful and be considerate but always aim for what is best for everyone.
Respect your partner and her wishes. Be careful and be considerate but always aim for what is best for everyone. | Source

Active Father Adopting A Positive Approach

Both fathers and mothers benefit from fathers being actively involved in parenting. The involvement of fathers during pregnancy positively related to the health of both fathers particularly their psychological well-being and mothers particularly their physical health. More generally fathers who are actively involved with their children have an increased sense of maturity across all areas of their lives and a more positive self-image or higher levels of psychological well-being and self-esteem. Change co-parenting relationship makes a difference. Research consistently shows that the quality of the relationship you have with your partner and the level of agreement you have on the child rearing practices has an impact on your child’s well-being. We now know that fathers are more involved and adopt a more positive approach to parenting when their partners are more supportive of them as fathers. Fathers in happier co-parenting relationships spend more time on childcare. Fathers with happier relationships with their partners adopt a more positive approach to parenting.

Being a Good Dad is not only about agreeing with your partner. It means checking into things and taking an active interest in the best way to do things.
Being a Good Dad is not only about agreeing with your partner. It means checking into things and taking an active interest in the best way to do things. | Source

A Father's Role As A Financial Provider

A common assumption is that lack of workplace flexibility, particularly in terms of leave provisions and men's strong identification with both paid work success, are the major barriers to active involvement as a father and especially involvement in caring for their young children. Being the breadwinner or financial provider has been seen as both a major component of the contribution fathers make to the well-being of their families and a major constraint on their active involvement in family life. Yet there has been surprisingly little research into the relationship between a father’s involvement in his job and what he does as a father. With increased expectations that fathers are more involved and take greater responsibility for their children as well as the trend for more mothers to be employed the impact that paid work has on fathering and children has become a topic of greater interest. Findings are generally consistent in showing that higher levels of workplace demands or role overload reduce the quality of father-child interactions.

The Level Of Work Life Conflict For Fathers

Fathers with high work demands are less accepting of their children and express more anger towards their children and are more emotionally withdrawn from family life. They can also be less capable of focusing on the needs of their child that makes a major difference to the well-being of children. Recent research findings also indicate that the level of work-life conflict experienced by fathers in dual-earner couples has increased over the past thirty years it is now higher than that experienced by mothers in the same family situations. These fathers also report that they show lower levels of warmth towards their children. These findings emphasize the importance of successfully integrating work and family responsibilities especially for fathers of young children. Even if you have a demanding job getting the balance right can enable you to develop high-quality relationships with your children. Although the traditional view has been that mothers are more competent than fathers and indeed that they might even have a biological advantage over fathers in having the skills and sensitivity to care for a newborn baby however not all mothers agree. Caring for a newborn involves a diversity of learned skills and when faced with the hard realities of caring for a newborn baby many mothers experience difficulties and find that they have not much more idea than their partners.

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The Challenge Of Establishing New Work And Family Priorities for Fathers

Men can catch up very quickly especially when they have their own child. New fathers commonly say they want to be involved with their children and for some this means they want to be more involved than their own fathers were Involvement can mean different things. For others, it will mean being available at times that they see as being a more critical late afternoon to connect and listen to their child or simply to be there with them. And for others, it might mean making considerable adjustments to their work by adapting their career aspirations and work responsibilities or reducing their hours or taking paternity or parental leave so that they can take responsibility for the care of their baby. As we highlighted earlier more families are now choosing the option of having both parents work part time so they can share the care of their child. Fathers commonly experience some pressure in terms of meeting their own expectations or in meeting expectations of others. Few men report that their workplace is highly responsive to the needs of fathers. The possibility that workplaces could operate in this way is not such an unusual idea. Short term paternity leave is now commonly accepted in many countries and fathers are fully expected to take this leave. For many fathers, the challenge of establishing new work and family priorities becomes an internal struggle mixed with anxiety a sense of pressure and at times guilt. In our experience guilt does not work well for fathers. A much better motivator is to focus on what is in it for fathers and the opportunities for them if they are actively involved with their children.


Surviving The First Few Months

It is tough imagining that a little person is about to come out of your partner. it is almost a guarantee that like most fathers your thought process has gone no further than the birth. Regardless of how cool and composed you were in the hospital walking out the front door is intimidating. Getting the baby home and surviving the first few months is something neither of you is likely to have given much thought to. All your focus has been on pregnancy and birth anything past that is difficult to grasp. This is a period of adjustment for all new dads. It is back to reality back to work and time to start dealing with a whole new world. It can be an assault on your sanity your patience and your relationship so it pays to be aware of the issues that usually arise. One of the biggest mistakes men make is feeling they are doing more than they were before the baby arrived. Sit down together and write a list of all the things that need to be done every day and work out how you can do more. Once a baby arrives the household chores double. Assuming you currently do forty per cent of them in order for your partner to spend the same amount of time on them that she did before the baby your output needs to more than triple.

Here Are A Few Things You Can Do To Help Out More

Family Entertainment
Cook for her.
Sign up for a mail order movie service or on demand movies with your pay TV.
Sleep together as you need to be a team and share the night time duties.
If your partner is breastfeeding cooking healthy meals will benefit her and the baby. Make sure the fridge and cupboards are well stocked with healthy food milk water and other necessities.
Pick up some DVDs or books on your way home.
Be there to provide support while your partner breastfeeds the baby even during the night to give your oartner love and comfort.

Fathers Need Time Out to Relax With His Friends


No sneaking off with the guys after work unless you can trade it for the late night feeds. However if you can work a night out with the boys into the schedule you will get less than zero sleep for your hangover the next morning. Just remember nappy changing and a crying baby on a hangover are a genuine nightmare.

Daughters Speaks About Their Father

It is ok to be scared to mess things up to make mistakes to cry like a baby and just wish you would have stayed single.It is really not feasible that any book can do justice to cover all the possibilities that could arise. Talk to your friends and family who have been through pregnancy birth and parenting. Listen to their stories tips and advice but remember that you will develop your own parenting style.


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