Many young men don’t get the experience of taking care of a newborn or have opportunities to care for young children. Very few young men ever baby-sit before they become a parent themselves.
But, that does not mean that fathers can’t be wonderful caregivers to their babies. Children need the unique parenting provided by fathers just as much as they need the nurturing of their mothers.
Being a good father does not mean being a perfect father. No one is perfect, and babies are very forgiving and resilient. What they need most from you in the beginning, and all throughout their lives, is support, guidance, and unconditional love.
Being the Best Dad You Can Be
- Don’t Cheat Yourself- Get involved with your baby from the very beginning. Although handling an infant may seem awkward at first, give yourself some time. Practice makes perfect and each diaper change, feeding, bath or cuddle time is an opportunity for you to become more confident in your abilities.
- Bonding- Attachment is achieved most effectively through these daily rituals. Talk to your baby while you change her diaper. Try to make eye contact and gaze into her eyes as you sing and rock her. Best of all- read to your baby. Your baby is learning to recognize your voice, which will make her feel comfortable and secure with you.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Show Affection- Both boys and girls need nurturing touch. Hug your kids every day and tell them that you love them. Dads are perfect for engaging in a little “horse-play.” Tickling, wrestling, and rolling around on the floor work great for maintaining physical contact once the child gets a little older. Just make sure that you follow their lead and watch for clues that they have had enough.
- Praise Them- Watch for those moments when your child does something wonderful and tell them so!!
- Pick Your Battles- Decide what characteristics in your child are most important to you and your partner. Concentrate on developing and nurturing those traits. If you constantly nag and criticize, he will quickly learn to tune you out’. Set limits and stick to them. Consistency is the key.
- Stay Involved- As your children grow there will be new and exciting ways to interact. Talk with them about their activities every day. Listen to them when they want to share something with you. Show a genuine interest in the things they enjoy doing and introduce them to the things that you like too.
- Respect Their Differences- No two children are exactly alike- even twins. Each child is born with their own personality- what works with one may not work with another. Allow your children to be who they are and celebrate their uniqueness.