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Our Favourite Ways to Enter Fatherhood with Confidence

Parenting leaves imprints because we create people and being a father is an important and integral part of all stages in a baby's life

 

A father's love is a different type of love, sometimes it is a real labour of love, so we asked Psychologist Chireal Shallow for her tips on how to help fathers become confident and begin to leave positive and supportive imprints in their children's lives:

  1. Children love faces and they love your face above anyone else's. Be an active part of your child's life even whilst at work, by using face time and technology to stay connected to your growing family and ensure that you are present even when you are not at home and at work or travelling overseas.
  2. It can be hard to feel useful in the first few weeks and months of your newborn's life, when they may depend on a breastfeeding mum much more. However, your job is still crucial and you, as dad, can create a positive bond by holding your baby close to you so that they can smell you and learn that you are their dad. The more you hold them in between feeds, the more they become familiar with you and the easier it will be for you to settle, sooth and put them to sleep, which will in turn, build your confidence.
  3. Before your baby is born you can begin to think of the values that are important to you, how you teach your child this imprint is essential whether you have a boy or a girl. Your baby is seeking to learn from you and be led by you. Showing them how you provide for your family and what your role is within the family home is a valuable lesson. Never forget how powerful your position as a father is.
  4. Most dads don't feel they can help at night; this is wrong - you have a very key role here. As many parents will attest, coping with daytime struggles in a busy family is much easier when both adults and child are well rested, and (lack of) sleep also has a significant impact on day-to-day life. We know that sleep is important for normal development and learning, however its importance for other physiological functions is less well known. I advise both parents to take alternative nights to settle your baby to sleep at night. This will help you both sleep, bond and also support each other. It will also get you through the tough early bits of your new borns lives.
  5. As a dad, just like Spiderman, with power comes great responsibility. You will be the role model your daughter looks up to and the man your son hopes to be. "The words that a father speaks to his children in the privacy of home are not heard by the world, but, as in whispering-galleries, they are clearly heard at the end and by posterity." - Jean Paul Richter
  6. With the ever-changing dynamic of family lives, the roles of parenting are changing. The most important is remembering to be present, and if you can't share the moment, ask someone to take videos so you don't miss out.
  7. Being a dad can be challenging, tricky and hard whether you are a present dad, a distant dad or a step dad. But remembering that this is one of the greatest loves and most rewarding job you will ever do will boost your confidence even at the darkest and most sleepless nights.
  8. You are the rock, the support and the provider; sometimes it may feel like your role before the baby is born is an invisible one. Most men are doers and feel most useful when they are doing and problem solving. Ask your partner what they require from you, what they need you to help them with. Don't hold back! Sometimes people are afraid to ask or say what they need but as a new dad or an expecting dad, the best words a person can hear are "how can I help?" this will boost your confidence and the response will make you feel included.
 
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