My last assignment for my Child Development class I had to write 500-1000 words that could be used for a making into a brochure or website. The information had to be for expectant fathers and their transition into parenthood. The questions where given (not the last one that was mine). I decided to post on my blog because I had two very nice men answer the questions and help me better understand the male perspective. I am very grateful for both of them for taking the time out of their busy lives (one guy is a new father to one, and the other a father of four with one a few months old). Anyways, I hope you all enjoy, and that someone benefits from
the information given.
|Noah 2 days old (April 30, 2012).|
Georg Simmel believed that there was no greater an effect on the group than the adding of a third person. When a couple finds out they are expecting most emphasis is placed on the women leaving the future fathers unclear of what is in store for them.
What changes can the father anticipate after the baby arrives?
Do anticipate a balancing act with work, partner, and baby.
Do anticipate sleep deprivation, stress, and possible depression.
Do anticipate changes in roles, schedules, finances, and your relationship.
The following questions will explain ways to deal with these expectations.
What changes in roles, schedules, and finances might the father expect?
Do consider taking up more of a role in household chores and caring for the children. Both parents and children benefit from the father being more active and seeing their father willingly and actively involved in unconventional responsibilities such as cleaning, making dinner, and playing with them (Berk, 2009). These actions not only help children with gender stereotypes, but also allow both parents more time with the child (Berk, 2009). This along with cooperation can give a positive environment.
Do expect schedules not to be consistent, one day things will go as planned and other days they will not.
Do expect finances to be strained during and after the birth of the child. Children require a great deal of things and if the mother takes maternity leave it can add more of a burden. Taking a financial class could help, as well as cut back on things that are not essential.
Does the arrival of a new baby cause significant marital strain?
Babies can put a strain on any relationships with a mixture of lack of sleep, woman’s hormones balancing back out, and both parents adjusting to change it is easy to get frustrated, depressed, overwhelmed, and just forget to appreciate one another.
Do communicate during pregnancy on how you feel about roles like who will discipline and what type of discipline will be used; how daily chores will be divided such as washing clothes, cooking, and other factors so that expectations are clear and realistic.
Do co-parent. Co-parenting is when two parents support each other’s parenting behaviors (Berk, 2009). Parents who co-parent have a more loving relationship and praise and stimulate their child more (Berk, 2009). In short, when the father and mother take part in the day-to-day with the child it fosters a more even tempered child which can reduce strain on the relationship and makes for a happier mother, father and child.
How can fathers support their partners during and after the transition to parenthood?
Do be there during the pregnancy. This may surprise soon to be fathers (Premberg, & Lundgren, 2006), but it is that simple.
Do take pride in what you are doing and praise your partner for the work involved in caring for your child.
Do feel open to both parents talking of negative emotions that they may be feeling. Eight to ten percent of women suffer from postpartum depression, and what is less known to most is three to five percent of men go through it as well (Berk, 2009). This can cause negative reactions and a withdrawn behavior towards the child and the other parent. The effects of postpartum depression on a relationship and the child can be devastating, so being able to talk about how you are feeling and receiving help are imperative. Postpartum depression can be treated in men and women.
Do make time to be in a loving relationship. Take the time to watch a show together, cuddle before bed, and make dinner dates without the baby. Remember a happy couple fosters a loving environment.
How might additional births affect the family system?
Do expect some jealousy from the first child. It is hard to go from being the center of attention to sharing it with a baby who is going to demand all of it. Having a child involved with the pregnancy can help with this, as well as setting time aside for the older sibling that is just for them. Jealousy usually decreases with time as long as all children are receiving positive attention from both parents.
Do expect sibling rivalry. With age and the difference in ideas and temperaments children will fight. Do expect your help is going to be needed more when the second child is born. It can put more demands on the father to help with the older sibling (Berk, 2009).
Do expect more of a drain on finances. In some ways saving on children’s things is going to be easier the second time round, however, an added child is still an added cost.
What will new fathers find most difficult about the transition to parenthood?
The most difficult part of becoming a father varies from father to father. Some have a hard time with discipline, others with the change in lifestyle, or with the shift in the relationship with their partner.
Do seek a support group for fears you have about becoming/being a father. Look for a group of just men as this is believed to foster the best environment for talking about parenting fears amongst fathers(Premberg, & Lundgren, 2006). It never hurts to talk to other future fathers or more experienced fathers.
|Noah 2 days old (April 30, 2012).|
Berk, L. E. (2009). Child Development, 9th Ed. Allyn and Bacon/Longman Publishers, Needham Heights, MA
Premberg, A., & Lundgren, I. (2006). Fathers’ Experiences of Childbirth Education. The Journal of Perinatal Education, 15(2), 21–28.