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Fathering – the best job on the planet

New mums tend to get more information than new dads. Sometimes it seems as if the world is revolving around your partner and your baby, but there is so much you can do in your new role as a dad.

You and your child

Children need their dad. Dads make kids feel good. Dads encourage, dads guide, dads explore, dads go on adventures, dads fix things, dads give good cuddles, and so much more.

Good dads come in all shapes and sizes, and all have different ways of being a dad. This section isn’t about telling you how to be a dad. But dads aren’t the same as mums, and kids do better if they have a dad involved in their life.

New mums tend to be given more information than new dads. Sometimes it seems as if the world revolves around your partner and your baby.

The most important thing you can give your children is your time. Research tells us that children benefit from having dads who provide a loving, stimulating and secure environment. So spend time with your child: smile, talk, read, sing, cuddle and have fun.

Children from these environments are healthier, learn better, and are more successful in many different ways. If you have other children, remember to make time for them too.

Get your other children involved with the new baby, so that they feel part of the new family/whānau.

At first, it may seem that your new baby needs mum more than they need you.

The time you put into your relationship with your child from the earliest days will pay off. Be patient, and trust that you are important to your baby.

Check out some activities that will help you bond with your children.

Parenting roles

There are many different ways to share parenting. You may decide to share parenting equally, or that one of you will be the primary caregiver. Men who are involved with caring for their children usually find it a rewarding experience.

Talking about care for your child and sharing tasks will help build a strong relationship between you and your partner.

Talk to your partner about how you want to be with your child. This will help you to work out your parenting ideas, and better understand your roles as parents.

Earlier, we talked about how your experience of being a child helps to shape the way you parent. Some men want to be the kind of dad their father was. Some want to parent differently. 

If you live apart

Even if you don’t live with your child, you and your child’s mother are still partners in parenting. Your child needs you both. If you live apart, you’ll also need to find out what your responsibilities are for child support and care.

Many parents work out their own arrangements. You can get free and independent advice from Relationship Services or through the Family Court parenting programmes.

Parenting alone

If you are your child’s only parent, there will be times when you’re tired or worried, and need to share the care of your child with your support people, family and friends.

Think about what sort of support you need to be a good dad to your child, and ask Plunket to help you contact the right people.

 

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