Fatherhood can be a scary enterprise at times, especially for those who have yet to hold their crying child in their arms. Caring for a baby, perhaps the most vulnerable of all God’s creations, can seem daunting. But Scott Kelby has written a book entitled “The Book for Guys Who Don’t Want Kids” that explores ways and provides tips on how a father can become a great dad. Here are some of his recommendations:
1.Don’t worry about being a great dad. As in, no need to fret over how to hold the baby just right or how to burp her; being a good dad begins with being a good husband, then getting involved in the prenatal process. Great husbands become great dads. So, work to make your marriage rock solid.
2. Try to life your normal pre-child life as soon as possible. Some parents refuse to leave the house for two years after their child has been born, but Kelby recommends that parents, especially fathers, return to their pre-child life as soon as possible by taking him or her to breakfast and doing other regular things. “When you start doing regular things,” he writes, “it takes a lot of stress off you both, and give you time to feel like a couple again.”
3. Give the mommy some time for herself. Kelby recognizes that in comparison, new dads have a much easier job than the new mom. She has the market cornered on knowing how to care for your child, but it can be exhausting for her. That’s why Kelby recommends that dads give their spouses plenty of time for herself. It is one fast way to help build a better marriage, and a better household.
4. Get up with Mom for late-night feedings. This can be tough, but Kelby shares how relishing it was when he got up at 2 a.m. with his wife to be with her when she breastfed: “I sat there and kept her company, we shared stories about our day, marveled at how cute our baby was, etc., until it was time to burp the little guy. … I have to say, I really enjoyed the burping because even though my wife could surely have burped him herself, this way I was at least helping in the process and that felt good. Plus, I was getting to hold my little buddy and the burping helped him too.”
5. Be affectionate with your baby, especially as they get older. Kelby stresses how important it is for kids to experience love from their dads – love in all forms. A loving touch (hugging, snuggling, kissing) helps them feel loved. “A kid that knows they’re loved is a happy kid,” he writes, “the kind of kid that runs and jumps into your arms when they see you.”
6. Treat your kid the way you wanted to be treated when you were a kid. Kelby recommends that new dads take a moment to reflect on their childhood, remembering how they would have wanted to be treated as a child. That kind of introspection might help them learn how to love their new children.
7. Don’t ever abuse your kid. Ever. Kelby stresses that there is never a good reason to hit your child, or your spouse. “It is the height of cowardice and a disgrace to fathers everywhere to hurt any woman or child. It is impossible to be a great dad if you hurt your child or your child’s mommy even once. It dishonors you, your entire life, and everything you’ve worked this hard to achieve.”
Dads, please pray for your children, and for the mommies of your children.
*List contributed by Parents magazine