Being a father is something many of us dream about our entire lives. Yet, after the birth of our children, we are often surprised by how little we know about how to be fathers. Many of us did not have fathers in our own lives to teach us what it was like to be a dad or what role a father plays in his child’s life.
Even when we were fathers before, it was often in the capacity of being an uncle or family friend to our nieces and nephews.
We did not have the same responsibilities or expectations that a father faces.
In our society, being a father is more than just having children. It is more than being someone’s dad. The fathers in this country are routinely blamed for the ills of our communities and families as if having children automatically makes us fit to raise them.
Here is what you need to know about the unique challenges and joys of fatherhood.
1. Everyone will offer advice, few will volunteer theirs
You will be overwhelmed with advice from family, friends, and even strangers about how to handle every situation involving your child. Yet, few people are willing or able to give you the bigger picture or offer their own struggles as a way of saying that they understand what you are going through.
As parents, we all want to raise children that are responsible, productive members of society. We want them to have dreams and aspirations that will lead them to live their lives according to their own principles.
We also want them to find happiness in life, even when we die early or they must face obstacles we never could. How do we give our children the tools they need for a successful life?
2. You must lead by example
Our children learn from everything we do and say, even when we think they are not paying attention. Most of us remember learning how to eat properly only because our parents repeatedly told us to chew with our mouths closed and that anyone who talks with their mouth full is a barbarian.
A child only needs to hear their parent say “no” five times before they know they can get what they want by saying it ten times.
They learn how to treat others not only because of how you behave towards them but also with how you speak about others in their presence. They learn the value of hard work when watching their parents do what is necessary to get things done.
You are the most important role model your child will have in their life, so lead by example through your deeds, not just with your words.
3. Your wife needs you as much as the kids do
Your wife has been doing a lot of work for a long time now and she will continue to do so for a long time. Your best support is to help her as much as you can and let her know that the situation has not changed just because she had your child. She still needs your support, encouragement, and help with household duties.
On top of that, remember that a baby will provide a wonderful new opportunity for your wife to be the mother she has always wanted to be. She deserves all of our respect and admiration for enduring pregnancy, labor, delivery, breastfeeding, sleep deprivation, etc. while still managing to provide for you and the kids in many ways.
In conclusion, being a father is hard work, but it is also the greatest blessing most of us will ever receive.