Becoming a father is a life-changing event for any man. From the moment they find out about the pregnancy, to the moment they come face to face with their child for the first time; there’s a lot going on in their brain. In fact, it just may even change the dynamic of a man’s brain.
“There's also preliminary but tantalizing evidence that fatherhood can change the brain. A 2006 study found enhancements in the prefrontal cortex of the father marmoset. After childbirth, the neurons in this region showed greater connectivity, suggesting that having young children could boost the part of the brain responsible for planning and memory, skills parents need when having kids gives them more to keep track of. The neurons also had more receptors for vasopressin, a hormone that has been shown to prompt animal fathers to bond with offspring,” reports Slate.com.
Brain changes or not, new fatherhood is one of the most exciting time in any man’s life. Luckily, for all of those dads-to-be out there, there are a whole lot of other guys out there who have already walked and are currently walking that route. Therefore, there is a ton of advice floating around for new dads to take note of. New dads can also take note of how the celebrities do it. Most younger parents are following all of their favorite celebs on social media, so why not take note of how they parent? If anything, it’s entertaining, and a good way to get some parenting tips, even if it’s how not to parent.
20 Splurge On Them
Some things are silly to spend a lot of money on. Kids go through toys like crazy and can easily be entertained by a cardboard box as much as any toy. Similarly, they grow through clothes like crazy so it doesn’t make a lot of sense to spend a money on clothes either. However, there are some things that you should splurge on, EverythingFinanceBlog recommends splurging on experiences over things. “When it comes down to it, take a look at what your child has. If they have more stuff than memories with you, then maybe it’s time to rethink your spending. Splurge meaningfully, and spend consciously,” writes EverythingFinanceBlog.com.
19 Encourage Their Individuality
“As parents, we have a unique opportunity to nurture our child's distinctiveness. Our job isn't to construct a personality for our child, but rather to nurture her inherent individuality,” shares Famifi.com. You can encourage your child’s individuality by letting them pick out their own clothes, exposing them to a variety of activities and encouraging them to make lots of friends. Famifi.com recommends the following, “Invite other parents with children to your home for play dates, dinner dates, etc. Go outside. Show them what's unique about the landscape where you live. Go to the farmers market with them. A simple trip to the grocery store can be educational for children by talking to them about the variety of produce available.” Additionally, you should always encourage your child to spend time doing the things that interest them most, and praise them for it!
18 There’s Nothing Wrong With A Laid-Back Parenting Approach
There are lots of types of parents, and each type loves to criticize the other. No matter what type of parent you are, you could take a few tips from learning to approach parenting with a laid back style. A laid back parenting approach might look like reacting to a stressful situation more calmly instead of lashing out in anger. It also might look like having your child help pick up a mess they made instead of scolding them about said mess. Mother.ly suggests the following, “Talk about life and family and kindness and responsibility at the dinner table, in the car and sitting together in bed at night. Use calm conversation to teach them about what to do rather than emotionally lecturing them about what not to do.”
17 Remain Calm Under Pressure
Most parenting fails happen at times when there is simply too much going on and one little thing pushes mom or dad over the edge. In moments such as these, it’s really hard to try and remain calm, but in doing so, you will find that you can handle tense situations much more appropriately.
LifeHacker.com suggests a partner switch in tense moments, “If I'm at home, I will ask my husband if he can take over, and I just walk out of the room for a few minutes. Yes, that means I literally dump the situation on him. From past experience, I’ve noticed that most often—since he was not in the middle of it when the storm brewed—he's in a much better situation to handle it without yelling and I get a break to cool off. Of course this works vice versa too. When I notice that my husband is starting to lose it, I’ll step in and scoop up, so he can step out. As for my daughter, just the change of scene, where one parent steps out and the other steps in, seems to help a lot to diffuse the situation.”
16 Don’t Coddle Them
If you’re anything like me, sometimes you’ll just want to hug your child until they melt! It should be noted though, that especially as kids get older, you will want to stop coddling them so much. By the time they’re over ten they probably won’t want your embarrassing squishy hugs anyway. ArtOfManliness.com states the following on the topic, “Don’t coddle your kids by keeping them under lock and key and only letting them out if you can keep a constant eye on them. You’re squelching their development and sense of independence. Teach your kids how to stay out of trouble and away from strangers, and then turn them loose to ride their bikes, roam the neighborhoods, run errands, and walk to school by themselves.”
15 Have One On One Time With Each Kid
“If you spend a Saturday with one child every month (or at whatever frequency works for your family) this is a great time to go and do whatever is on their heart. Does your son love all things space? Why not take him to a museum, exhibit or park specifically oriented to his current phase? This will particularly be special for him because you two being alone means no one else (another sibling trying to complain about something) is there to say his idea is stupid, no fun, or uncool.Each child is different and this can be a time to embrace their individual differences and really help them to feel at home with you when they are in their element,” shares AMotherFarFromHome.com.
Carving out time to spend a little one on one time with each child will be so beneficial for both you and your child or children. Not only will your child feel special and cherished, you also get to experience some awesome one-on-one time with your child. You may find the separate time helps strengthen your bond.
14 And, Don’t Forget To Make Time For Your Partner Too
The same goes for your significant other too! It’s so, so easy to get wrapped up in parenthood that you soon find yourselves in a repetitive day-to-day cycle that just goes on and on. This often leads to feeling like you and your partner are more like roommates than lovers, and that’s not a healthy dynamic for any relationship.
So carve out a date-night, even if it’s just once every few months or so. Plan a day of your favorite things or a night out on the town. It will be so good for your relationship, and it will leave you feeling recharged and ready to continue your day-to-day routines with a more fresh perspective and respect for your partner.
13 Keep Them Out Of The Public Eye
Take it from the celebs on this one, keeping your kids out of the public eye is keeping their best interest in mind. WelnessMama.com shares the following thoughts on keeping your child out of the public eye and off social media, “To me, though I have the responsibility and honor of raising these tiny humans, I don’t “own” them as they are individual human beings who will one day be much more in life than just my adorable baby. While I get to make some really important life decisions for them, like what I feed them for dinner or how they are taught about life and morality, I decided to leave the decision of how and what their online presence would look like to them. And I hope that this is a decision they will make carefully after much thought once they become teenagers or adults.”
12 Be There For Your Family When They Need You
No matter where your career takes you, always make sure you have the best interest of your family at the forefront of your priorities. There will be baseball games and ballet recitals that you might not make it to, it’s inevitable. But if your son has a spelling-bee that he’s really nervous about, or your daughter makes it to the state level in gymnastics; then make sure your priorities are in check and you show up for those things.
“...I could never think of anything to do with my time that would be more valuable than being with my boys. Sure, the extra money would have been nice. But at the end of the day it seemed so insignificant compared with the responsibility I had taken on as a father. Many years stretched ahead of me, years in which I could make money. But time with our children is lost with every passing day. Besides, I had never heard of any father lying on his deathbed saying, “If only I’d had made more money.” More often than not, their biggest regret was that they didn’t spend more time with their children,” shares TheAustralian.com.au
11 Be Openly Proud Of Your Family
There is no better feeling than being recognized for your hard work and achievements. Most adults share their accomplishments with friends and family hoping for recognition of their hard work. It’s one of the motivating factors for a lot of people. Kids are no different. They want you to see that sweet kickflip they did and say, “Wow, great job!”
“One of the best ways to let your kids know you are proud of them more often is to intentionally catch them doing something good. When they play sports, look for the good. When they are practicing an instrument, find their improvement. When they interact with their siblings or friends, be on the lookout. The more we search for something, the more likely we’ll find it. Look for reasons to say, “I am proud of you…” to our kids and follow through on it,” suggests AllProDad.com.
10 Lean On Other Dads For Advice
Know that there is nothing wrong with leaning on other dads for advice. When you get together with your buds for a beer after work or gather with your college friends for the first time in months, don’t feel like you have to limit the conversation to non-kid related things. In fact, they are some of your best resources to turn to for parenting advice.
“There are some "daddy blogs" like greatDad.com and howtobeadad.com written by dads for dads, but these resources don't always help fathers navigate the day-to-day emotional challenges, such as feelings of insecurity, partnership stress and the new daddy blues that parenthood brings.Also, says Courtenay, "Dads may be less inclined to talk about their feelings at a parenting group, but they want to connect. Oftentimes they look to other dads to figure out what they're supposed to do as a father, and many dads say that they feel a responsibility to help other fathers improve their parenting skills,” reports NPR.org.
9 Travel With Your Kids
“Do kids get to see mountains, trees, leaves, flowers, worms or dried-up bones (from a museum) inside a classroom? Probably – but only in the books or on the Internet. Do they ever get excited seeing letters and numbers on signs? Maybe not. Nothing excites and makes kids learn more effectively than being able to use their five senses. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn,” shares TrekEffect.com
Travel far, travel wide and take your kids with you! You will never regret taking your kids on an adventure, even if it’s not too far from home. Your time and budget might not allow frequent family vacations, but even family hikes and a camping trip every year are worthy adventures that will leave a last impact on your kids.
8 Don’t Feel Guilty About Having A Career
Working Dad guilt is a very real thing. It can be hard to leave your children all day, five days a week. Just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean it’s wrong though. So take it easy on yourself and try your best to let the guilt go. “Rather than feeling guilty about time you don’t spend with your children, think about how your career is benefiting your family. Perhaps you can afford certain toys or educational activities or you’re able to save money for their futures. You don’t have to spend every second of every day with your children to be a good dad. It’s actually okay to say, “Do you know what, I’m allowed to enjoy the time I spend away from my children. And that’s okay,” shares IrishTimes.com.
7 Teach Your Kids To Appreciate Their Mother
Ain’t nobody happy if Mama ain’t happy! It doesn’t get much more real than that. The matriarch of the household should be appreciated by her partner, and by her kids. And as the partner, you can, and should, set that example. Even if you are co-parenting with your child’s mother, you should still lead by example when it comes to respecting said mother. “Love your wife without reservation – you can’t do much more for your kids than that. If you are divorced, treat your children’s mother with respect, even if it is not reciprocated. Never return disgrace with disgrace,” suggests AllProDad.com.
6 Embrace Your Dad Style
You’re a dad now, say hello to white sneakers and button-up denim. Just kidding, but it is totally okay to embrace a little dad style once you become a father, in fact, many designers are pulling inspiration from guys just like you.
WSJ.com states, “Practical? Check. Comfortable? Definitely. I may already own it? Ideal. Critically though, dad style is not an invitation to pull out your most egregiously mockable pieces under the cover of “fashion fad.” Fleece zip-up vests printed with a defunct law firm name are not fair game, nor are Sopranos-style track suits. Instead, revisit tried-and-true workhorses like Levi’s 501s, Ray-Ban Wayfarers and Lacoste polos. Prioritize good dad style (defined by quality, subtlety, fit) and eschew bad dad style (squareness, stodginess, sloppiness). And consider upgrading some of your staples to more presentable versions, like Burberry’s trim harrington jacket and Spalwart’s streamlined waffle-soled running sneakers. These pieces boast dad reliability, but you could wear them to say, dinner and a movie.”
5 Know When You Need To Say Sorry
“As much as I'd love to be an example of self-control and Buddha-like serenity at all times, that's not happening. However, apologizing to my children when I lose my cool or otherwise mess up lets me model some life skills that are far more valuable. My kids know that when they inevitably stumble or lose control, they have the power to choose to recover from that mistake and make it right,” shares Parenting.com.
Parenting isn’t always fun, and sometimes you’re going to mess up. Say sorry to your children when you need to. You might be uncomfortable, but this important gesture is one that you should model well for your child.
4 It’s Okay To Indulge In Kid Shows
If you haven’t got lost in an episode of Daniel Tiger then you are lying to yourself, bottom line. Most parents, at some point, become interested in the shows that their kids watch, and you know what? It’s okay! My husband and I loved catching the latest Disney movies when it was just the two of us, and now that we have a kid it is just icing on the cake. I would be lying if I said we didn’t have some of our best dance parties to Moana, Trolls and Frozen, and I’m not sorry about it! Let’s all just admit that some kids shows and movies are pretty awesome.
3 Teach Your Kids That Nothing Can Stop Them From Reaching Their Dreams
Believing in your kids and letting them dream their crazy dreams is a sure way to raise successful and happy children. When they tell you that they’re going to be an astronaut spaceship sailor, then reply with, “Why, of course you are!”
“A young mind is a host to endless possibilities and wild dreams only a child is able to concoct, nurturing them through play and exploration, yet turning them into reality only with the help and guidance of their parents. It’s not easy raising children who dream big and achieve greatness, whatever it may entail for them, but it can be done with encouragement, positivity and prudent planning,” states AMamaTale.com.
2 Be Confident In Your Parenting And, Well, Everything Else You Do
Confidence can take you far in all aspects of life, and parenting is no different. “Confidence is key to parenting well. When you display confidence, your child feels free to be a kid. They feel safe expressing big feelings because they know you can handle them,” shares PostiveParentingConnection.net. So roll up your sleeves and handles those tantrums like you know exactly what you are doing. Smile at your child and tell them it will be okay as they are having an epic meltdown in the middle of the grocery store. Your own confidence is what will ensure that you raise confident kids, and isn’t that what all parents dream of for their children?
1 It’s Okay To Be In Tune With Your Feelings
In our society, men are expected to be tough. It is ingrained in their minds that they should always be tough, fearless and macho. Most grown men will tell their mother they love her in a heartbeat but wouldn’t dream of saying such a sentiment to their father. Isn’t that odd? It’s okay, and healthy to be in tune with your feelings. And it’s especially important to lead by example and show your children that it’s good to be in tune with your feelings. So give your daughter a hug, tell her you love her! Feeling down and out? Talk to your partner about your feelings, you’ll feel better after you do.
References: www.everythingfinanceblog.com, www.famifi.com, www.mother.ly, www.lifehacker.com, www.artofmanliness.com, www.slate.com, www.amotherfarfromhome.com, www.wellnessmama.com, www.positiveparentingconnection.net, www.amamatale.com, www.theaustralian.com.au, www.allprodad.com, www.npr.org, www.greatdad.com, www.howtobeadad.com, www.trekeffect.com, www.parenting.com, www.irishtimes.com, www.wsj.com