By Carolyn Aston
Congratulations to Darren Maddock for ‘creating a safe sealed container’ for expecting Dads to openly discuss their reservations and fears about the imminent birth of their child. (See Channel 10’s ‘The Project‘ story on ‘Beer and Bubs’, July 9 2014)
So often Dads talk about their fear of their wife/partner suffering during childbirth and it is important for them to share this and hear they are not alone. Equally to learn how vital their role as fathers is right from the outset. Men are ‘programmed’ socially to solve problems and the transition from life as a couple to a family or threesome requires a huge adjustment for both new Mums and Dads.
Dads can feel lonely or useless when their baby’s needs necessarily take priority in the first few months particularly. It helps him to know this is a common experience and that other Dads have experienced this and survived it. He can prepare for changes in his own routine and leisure life, amount of sleep and sex life.
The new Dad can begin a key relationship with his baby during pregnancy when baby will learn to recognise his voice and that of his Mummy’s. He has a key role in actively bonding with bub and supporting his wife/partner in caring for their baby and when appropriate for baby’s development, helping to set limits on baby’s demands of his Mummy.
Healthy, caring fathers are instrumental in helping children to grow, to offer a male perspective on parenting, to show that men can be strong and tender as required and as role models for boys in our rapidly changing world. A USA study by National Centre for Education Statistics (2001) showed that father involvement in schools is associated with the higher likelihood of students achieving mostly A’s in their studies for fathers in biological families, stepfather and single parent Dads.
Howard et al’s study (2006) in fathers’ influence on children with adolescent mothers showed that father- child contact led to better socio-emotional and academic functioning. Dads are important and need support in adjusting to parenthood.
What do YOU think ?
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