A lot of dads feel like parenting comes with a lot of requirements and no instructions. And in cases where the mom seems to have an idea of how to care for the baby, it can be easy for dads to hesitantly slide into the background. Add to this all the dads who are parenting with no example because their dad was absent, and the lack of support for dads who need it. It’s a battle against the current for dads.
But you’re not going to let the current win. And if you had no dad to show you the way, you’re going to break that cycle for your kids.
- Learn about them.
Start right away, whatever age they are. Learn your newborn’s rhythms. Learn what things your toddler loves. As they grow, learn about how they approach conflict. Learn what gives them big emotions. Learn whether they like surprises.
- Encourage them.
Cheer for what they accomplish, even if it’s small. Make yourself available to give them a hand or watch while they try things. Let them have just enough space to try hard or new things.
- Look for opportunities to love them.
You don’t need to do big, flashy things to be a great dad. A child’s sense of security, self-confidence, and self-worth are built in the small moments. Taking an extra minute at bedtime to play with them, or having a special snack in the middle of a long day of errands is all it takes.
- Find other dads.
Ideally, find older men whose older children turned out the way you want yours to. But if those are scarce, find men your age who are also breaking the cycle and turning the tide. You may be one of the dads who feels like you’re failing if you can’t do it all yourself, but that’s simply not how humans are made. Have some men to have your back.
- Show love and respect to your partner.
Demonstrating a loving relationship gives your child knowledge of what “a loving relationship” means. It raises their chances of finding a healthy relationship for themselves when they’re grown. Then you’ve passed on the new cycle you’ve created for your child.
Above all, remember: You are the man for the job. You have what it takes to get it done.
You can do this.
Happy Father’s Day.