Family

Advice to a new father

My wife and I found out a few weeks ago that we are going to be grandparents. We are thrilled, and are already planning the visits! My son is also very excited about becoming a father — and, I fear, somewhat naïve about what fatherhood entails.

I was the same way. Twenty six years ago I was sure I understood what it meant to be a father, after all, I was writing my dissertation on families and children! Then I looked down on my sleeping son on his first day home from the hospital. I remember feeling overwhelmed: what had I gotten myself into? I didn’t know the first thing about babies or being a father!!

Now I am pondering what advice I can give to my son, who in a few short months will begin the lifelong journey of fatherhood.

There is a lot of advice written for new fathers on what to buy, how to act, and what you should know about infants. Most of this is helpful, but I would suggest three things for my son, or any new father, to keep in mind:

ACTION IDEAS:

• Partner with your wife.  Babies are a handful and mothers too often assume most of the care.  Keep "front and center" this question:  What can I do to help out?



• Hold your child as much as possible. There is no substitute for building your love for your child than to gather her in your arms.



• Change lots of diapers! Learn to care for your child now, so as he grows you will always be involved in his life.



The local fathering effort, in cooperation with the National Center for Fathering, provides bi-weekly action ideas to stimulate conversation between fathers and parents.

For more information, or to join local conversations, contact

Mick Trombley at mick@apartmentstore.com

David Eggebeen at e5x@psu.edu

Robert Orndorff at rmo104@psu.edu

Marc McCann at 237-1719 or marc@thesecondmile.org

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