There is an abundance of information for new mothers, with little useful advice for the equally anxious new fathers.
Like new mothers, dads-to-be can get well-meaning advice from family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and even from those who have never had a child before. These ideas tend to be conflicting, and it’s important that you take a stand and decide how you want or do not want to raise your child.
For new dads, there are essentially 3 pointers that great and experienced Dads swear by to build successful and happy relationships with their children.
1. Trust your intuition
Drawing from childhood memories, you may already have decided whether or not you want your child to grow up the way you did. So sweep aside advice that you do not believe in and trust your parenting feel. Babies do not come with a user manual like gadgets, and neither is there a fixed set of rules for fathers to follow. Do what you think is right for your child. It’s okay if you make mistakes a long the way; that’s how we learn to be better dads.
Michael Burke says “Good instincts usually tell you what to do long before your head has figured it out.”
2. Make Playtime Dad’s Time
While mothers prefer a more protected environment when interacting with their child, fathers tend to take a more exploratory approach during play time. Offer your child a different view of the world around him or her by bringing on some adventure. Playtime is also discovery time. Let your child see and feel different objects each time. Mummy might not approve of such a bold parenting approach, but she may soon realize that play time with daddy also helps to develop motor skills, language skills and encourage cognitive development.
It is actually a win-all situation, as mummy gets a little break off the little one while you do your part as a father.
3. Give yourself ‘Me Time’.
Having a child may require sacrifice from the weekly football games or guys’ night out, but this does not mean that you have to deprive yourself of a breather when you feel the need for it. Plan a day out with mommy while someone babysits, or arrange your own day out separately. This lessens the tension and reduces any feelings of resentment towards this new life. Feel free to share your thoughts about fatherhood, good or bad, with someone you trust. Once you’re rejuvenated, you’ll be eager to submerge into your baby’s world again.
The above tips do not call for anything extraordinary or heroic. Remember that communication with your spouse is equally important during this period, as both of you are adjusting to this new lifestyle. Embrace these changes together and you will find fatherhood a rewarding experience.