Becoming a Dad Article
Starting Point: Our Own Fathers
Our experiences with our fathers differ dramatically; some were great; some were not there at all. Stepfathers, coaches, or other men may have had positive impacts on us, but for most, the legacy of our own fathers is our starting point for becoming a dad.
It is ironic that a distant or absent father can benefit us now, but the more we missed out as children, the more desire we bring to this job. Of course, the more we received, the more prepared we are to connect with our children due to the example set by our dads.
What Kind of Father Will I Be?
A great question to ask yourself, as it focuses you on a positive, constructive approach. Other questions to ask:
- How do you want to be the same or different from your own dad?
- Was he involved with you as a child?
- Did he provide warmth and respect?
- How about your friends' dads, who may provide good models for how you want to approach fatherhood?
- How do you want your kids to feel about you as they grow up?
Connecting with Your Father
As we become fathers, we take on an extraordinary role that we share with our own fathers. This provides the basis for a new relationship with them, one that can get beyond the normal constraints felt by fathers and sons. He sees you in a new light, and you may be wondering how he felt when he was just starting out.
This can also bring up issues about his experience as a father, so you may have a lot you can talk about. Look out for the opportunity, or just ask, "dad, how did you feel when you became a father?" He also may enjoy being hands-on involved with a baby. If he missed out on you, he can have a second chance as your child's grandpa.
We are just beginning to explore these issues, but we believe there is a lot to gain from connecting father-to-father with your own dad. Maybe someday fathers will mentor their sons in fatherhood like mothers do for their daughters in motherhood.
Connecting with Other Dads
As Boot Camp for New Dads has demonstrated for well over a decade, we can learn a great deal from each other. The problem is that, for the most part, we don't. Rookie dads don't ask, and experienced fathers don't tell - unless asked. Break the ice and ask other dads for their suggestions and frank advice.
Ask them what they found to be most important when they were just starting out. They may be caught a little off guard because no one asked before, but most fathers would be honored and would give you their best words of wisdom from their heart. It is a great way to both compliment a man and learn from his experience.
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