My wife and I are expecting our first child. I’m anxious to be a dad and also intimidated. My father wasn’t a good role model, so I feel pretty clueless about this whole parenting thing. Help?
Answer: Author Kent Nerburn once said, “It is much easier to become a father than to be one.” Maybe that’s one of the reasons why so many dads feel overwhelmed.
It’s easy for dads to feel like they’re in over their heads. When your six-month-old baby starts wailing, you can’t make him stop. When your son is failing mathematics, you can’t make him pass. If your daughter gets bullied, you can’t just make all of her hurt feelings disappear. It’s much slower, subtle work.
All of which, of course, is what can make fatherhood so frustrating. In our professional lives, dads frequently hold the reins and make things happen. But parenting often strips fathers of that control. As much as we might want it to be, fatherhood isn’t like being a mechanic: We can’t fix things with the simple turn of a socket wrench. Even worse, sometimes we don’t know if what we’re doing is even working. Being a successful dad starts by learning your role. Don’t try to force your child down a certain path in life. You have to walk alongside and encourage them in their journey. It’s a process that takes a lot more patience, time, and commitment than many men are used to. But at its heart, fatherhood is a relationship. So, remember, gently coaching your children is the essence of what you’re aiming for. Be a coach, cheerleader, and champion of your child.
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