Ask For Help
Let’s be honest, if you are like me and most new parents, you have no idea what you are doing or frankly why they let you be in charge of this kid without so much as reading through the instruction manual. You have discovered that every preconceived notion you had about parenting is just about completely wrong. Even if you have other kids, virtually every technique you developed and refined with previous kids isn’t going to work with this one.
It doesn’t really matter which parenting style you subscribe to, or what you planned to do before the kid arrived in your house, you are now in trial and error land. We all test theories and ideas to see what works with our kids to resolve situations, get them to eat and just to go the *&%^ to sleep.
We dads aren’t always great at asking for help figuring out this parenting gig or with other issues in life. Stereotypical assertion to make I know and generally I avoid stereotypes because many of them don’t include me. When it comes to parenting, we don’t necessarily want to admit we don’t know what we are doing, because we want the chance to figure it out without being told what to do by someone else. We all have to figure out what works best for us, our kids and our families. That doesn’t mean you can’t find help.
Phone a Friend
This may be easier said than done. In my experience and from talking with other dads, we often have a small circle of close friends – if any that are our own. Studies in Britain have show that millions of men “have no friends they would turn to for help or advice in a crisis.” For some reason we aren’t great at holding on to or making new friendships. This is certainly true for me. I have plenty of acquaintances and a very small number of close friends.
This can be a significant issue when you become a dad or are struggling with an issue as a dad. If you don’t have a lot of close friends to start with and likely fewer who are also parents who can relate to your circumstances, it can be difficult to seek out advice and get help. It is important to find community and find other dads that you can talk to about your kids and experiences as a dad.
If you don’t have close friends who you can talk to, find an online group or other community group where you can seek advice as needed. It is so helpful to know that what you are experiencing with your children is normal. It is also very helpful to have a community you can talk to if you have experiences that are outside the range of normal.
People are great. Especially when babies are involved. If you have a new baby, you will likely discover people who want to come and help you in some way. People will bring food so you don’t have to worry about burning the house down by falling asleep on the stove while making dinner. People will offer to do your laundry or clean your house. It is OK to accept help. It is not a judgement on your abilities as a parent. People like to help, and those who have been through life as a new parent and emerged out the other side are often looking for opportunities to pay forward the support they received. It is also OK to set limits on how long they stay or whether you will accept visitors depending on the needs of your child, your partner and you.
As men we are trained to be strong, solve our own problems & avoid any signs of weakness. It is OK to ask for help.Click To Tweet
Admit & Accept Your Failures
You are a new dad. You don’t know what you are doing and frankly neither does your partner. There is no manual for your kid. Well, that isn’t entirely true. There are plenty of parenting books out there packed full of advice – often conflicting with the last book you read. I found Armin Brott’s book The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year helpful.
You will make mistakes, lots of them, probably every day. Some of them because of sleep deprivation, some of them as a consequence of having no idea what you are doing. They are all OK. Those mistakes and failures are part of your learning process. Figure out how to do it better next time and ask for tips and help from other dads and parents. Someone will have the suggestion or idea that will work best for you and your kid. You can do it.
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