In an article we wrote last year, we reported on the podcast of renowned pediatrician and child development expert, Dr. Harvey Karp, where he discussed how parents today have it tougher than previous generations. According to Dr. Karp, new parents have less experience, and they are doing work they are not prepared to do, which leads to exhaustion and a lot of frustration.
What can help? Aside from a good support system, parenting classes or workshops clue in new parents on what to expect. They won't fully prepare you for what's ahead (only experience can do that), but getting the opportunity to familiarize yourself with child care basics is a tremendous boost to parental confidence.
There’s one problem though: a majority of workshops are aimed at moms.
If we want, and even expect, dads to step up to their role as fathers, they need to know that society believes in the importance of a father in a child’s upbringing. One such believer is pediatrician Dr. Craig Garfield who has studied fatherhood for many years and is dedicated to showing dads just how much they matter. One way he does this is by holding a parenting class for expectant dads. (Many of his participants were signed up for it by their pregnant partners.)
A feature by Anahad O’Connor published in The New York Times shares details of the fathers-to-be who attend these classes. “One man said he hoped to raise a strong and confident daughter. Another said he was fearful about holding his baby for the first time...Others said they worried about their finances, losing sleep, the health of their babies and their partners, and not having enough time to spend with their children,” reads an excerpt.
Like the moms, the dads want to be good parents, but they need guidance because most of them feel they don't know what to do. “This class serves as a ‘How-to’ or ‘Fatherhood 101’ to try and meet this disconnect between wanting to be involved and not being sure exactly what to do,” said Dr. Garfield.
“My message is to get in early and get in often,” he added. “When the baby is born, be there, get your hands on the baby, change the diaper, talk to the baby, hold the baby, feel the baby. Get involved and don’t be shy about it because it’s all about building your confidence and getting comfortable with your baby.”
There’s mounting research on the benefits of having a hands-on dad. The long-term positive effects reach many areas of a child’s life including behavioral (less likely to have behavioral issues), emotional (more likely to have higher self-esteem), psychological (less likely to have depression and anxiety), and academic (more likely to have better grades in school).
The takeaway? Parenting is a partnership. Though designating responsibilities and tasks are still integral to raising a family and running a home, a hands-on parent should not always fall on the mom. It is a desirable trait to have for both mom and dad. A little nudge in the form of a parenting class may be all a dad needs to begin his journey in becoming the loving, doting, hands-on father he is meant to be.
Smart Parenting is having its second Convention on July 21, 2008. Pick any from the talks by our partner doctors, pediatricians, doulas and experts with topics on family and money. Plus, get a chance to win awesome prizes from our partners!
Buy your tickets now at any SM tickets outlet or online at http://bit.ly/SPCon2018 for Php100 only. Avail of our buy 4-get-1 free promo and bring the whole family. See you there! #SPCon2018