8 First Time Father Mistakes - Don't Do This!

baby Apr 24, 2020
8 First Time Father Mistakes

Nobody likes admitting they’ve made a mistake, but today we’re willing to make an exception and spill all the beans. After all, we know first-hand that first-time dads need all the help they can get.

Even the most prepared or experienced parents can still make mistakes when it comes to raising kids, ranging from funny and innocent — like putting diapers or your baby’s clothes on backwards — to bad and potentially harmful.

Don’t worry, Dad University’s got your back. Here are eight common first-time father mistakes you’ll want to avoid for a smooth transition into daddyhood.

Buying Too Much Stuff

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of preparing for your new arrival and buying every baby item you lay your eyes on. It’s understandable, too. What dad doesn’t want the best for their little one?

But you don’t actually need all the fancy baby items and gadgets that the internet or your friends are saying you should get. Before making a purchase, ask yourself and your partner if it’s really a need or just a want. A lot of things we think we need are really just for convenience.

It’s best to stick to the essentials: clothes, food, diapers, wipes, and a safe place for your baby to sleep. As you figure out what truly works best for you and your little one, you can simply buy more as needed. And remember, it’s better to save your money for something more important, like college funds or family vacations.

Not Accepting Help

Pride, or the belief that “I can handle this on my own,” or even that “I should handle this on my own,” is one of the most common mistakes made by first-time fathers. We’ve seen this happen even though the dad is trying to juggle a job, learn the ropes of fatherhood, and maintain a healthy relationship with their partner — all at the same time.

The truth is, no one’s expecting you to be superman. Friends and family who offer help do so with the best intentions. They just want to give you a bit of a breather.

So, when a trusted friend or family member steps up to lend a hand, take a deep breath, set your ego aside, and gratefully accept. Accepting help is never a sign of weakness. As a first-time dad, accepting help is a smart strategy that can make your first weeks or months of fatherhood a little less stressful.

Not Being Empathetic

We’ve all heard the saying “put yourself in someone else’s shoes,” and it couldn’t be more true for first-time fathers. Lack of empathy can cause tension and strain on your relationship with your partner.

Always remember that you’re not the only one going through the new experience of parenthood — your partner is, too! And in many cases, they are going through a much bigger physical and emotional transformation.

So, the next time your partner says something like, “My feet hurt so bad,” or “I feel so tired all the time,” don’t dismiss it or brush it off. Instead, try to understand their perspective. Offer support, perhaps a massage, and a healthy dose of sympathy instead of criticism.

Thinking You Should Bond Right Away

Don’t make the mistake of assuming your baby will bond with you immediately. It’s normal for working dads to experience a delayed bonding with their newborn, especially if they’re maintaining regular office hours while their partner stays at home.

Bonding is not always an instant process — it takes a lot of one-on-one time and caring to develop your father-son or father-daughter bond.

Be patient. As you spend more time with your baby and gradually take on more baby duties — changing diapers, bath time, or just cradling your baby in your arms — the bond between you two will grow.

Calling It Babysitting

One of the common mistakes by first-time fathers that can paint you in a very unfavorable light is calling watching over your kids “babysitting.”

Let’s get one thing straight: watching over your own kids isn’t “babysitting” — it’s called “parenting.” Saying you’re “babysitting” implies it’s not really your job, but a favor you’re getting paid to do for someone else. And that’s not true.

So, make sure to forget that mindset. Parenting is not a one-person show, it’s a partnership, a team effort. Make sure to step up to the plate and embrace your dad responsibilities with pride.

Comparing Your Baby to Others

One of the major mistakes first-time fathers make is comparing their baby to others. It’s tempting to measure your child’s progress against other kids’, but remember, every child grows and develops at their own pace.

Making the mistake of comparing your baby to others can lead to unnecessary stress. If you get into the habit and continue doing it as your kid gets older, the constant comparison may even hinder your child’s self-esteem.

So, make an effort to appreciate your baby for who they are and the pace they grow at. Always remember: love the child you have, not the one you want.

Taking Things Personally

Another common pitfall for first-time dads is taking their baby’s actions personally. Remember, your baby isn’t out to get you — they’re just babies!

If your baby cries when you pick it up, maybe you aren’t doing it right. If your baby prefers to go to mom instead of dad, perhaps they’re just not comfortable with you yet and you need to spend more one-on-one time with them.

Most of what they do are simply reactions to their surroundings, not conscious efforts with hidden meanings. Understanding this can help you respond more empathetically to your baby’s needs.

Thinking You Need To Be a Perfect Parent

Believing that you need to be a perfect parent is a huge mistake, whether you’re a first-time dad or not. Nobody is perfect — not even experienced parents.

Thinking you need to be perfect sets an unachievable standard that leads to unnecessary stress and self-doubt. You can still be an awesome and excellent parent without being perfect. It’s the love, care, and effort you put in that truly matters.

In fact, seeing you stumble and make mistakes then learn from them is a good lesson for your kids as they grow older. We live and we learn from mistakes.

Mistakes that aren’t our own count, too. Remember: the only thing better than learning from your mistakes is learning from someone else’s!

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