Home Uncategorised 5 Parenting Gems from Fathers, for Soon-to-be Dads

5 Parenting Gems from Fathers, for Soon-to-be Dads

While traditionally accepted parenting roles have changed a lot in the last few generations, fathers are still often treated as support acts when it comes to raising their kids. Perhaps that’s why we don’t hear enough about the unique parenting experiences of these fathers.

Journalist Matthew Savides says that these low expectations we have for Dads negatively impacts the advice supplied to them, which is normally quite superficial. “Dads basically get told three things: you’ll get no sleep, they’ll cost you lost of money and there’ll be lots of poo,” he says. But it’s much deeper than that, of course.

With this in mind, here are some pearls of wisdom other fathers have shared with us:

  1. Loving your partner
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Many fathers listed the importance of taking care of the mother as they all embarked on this parenting journey together. And the same would apply in any relationship, heterosexual or not – it’s not only about the child, it’s about supporting your partner because there are two people that need equal care and attention. Father of three boys Sipho Nghona reminds us that you set the example to your children, saying: “They will learn their love language watching how you love their mother,” so bear this in mind, always.

  1. Be hands-on (literally)

You can be present in the room, but not involved. That’s why real joy can be found in actually doing physical activities with your children – a role that many fathers excel at. “Lift them, throw them, play with them, throw balls with them, wrestle them, chase them or build stuff with them,” says Joburg-based father Jacques du Bruyn. Children need this physicality from their parents, as it encourages responsible risk-taking, teaches them problem-solving skills and improves their confidence.

  1. Expect high-highs and low-lows

Matthew wishes someone had told him before becoming a parent to expect high-highs and low-lows. “I wasn’t prepared for the relentlessness of how hard it is when your kid is sick, and how your heart just wants to explode when they do something awesome,” he comments.

The endless nights with a new baby, the “no off-switch” when they are busy toddlers, the lows will be incredibly difficult, but the immense joy you also feel should outweigh those moments. However, if you do find the low-lows too much to handle on your own, there is always professional support available. Many medical aids such as Fedhealth offer special baby programmes that provide advice and education, to help you get through the more challenging moments.

  1. It gets better

Some dads struggle initially when their tiny baby only seems to need their mother, and they can’t necessarily be involved in feeding their newborn child. Mothers also tend to feel this instant bond with their baby, especially if they’ve carried them in their wombs for nine months, while the father may feel less bonded purely for these biological reasons. But just be patient, as once your baby gets to around 6 months old, they develop little personalities, they smile back when you pull funny faces, and you’ll find the bond between baby and dad gets stronger by the day.

  1. Appreciate every minute

We take for granted that our children will outlive us, even though experiences around us show this to not tragically always be the case. Parents who have lost children will remind us to soak up every precious moment with our kids: every bedtime story, every soccer match, every skinned knee and toddler tantrum, because no matter what happens, our children are in our homes and with us for a limited period.

As Gretchen Rubin wrote: “The days are long, but the years are short”, so appreciate this absolute gift you’ve been given – fatherhood.

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