New Dad Tips To Deal With the Fears of Fatherhood

baby Jul 20, 2020
New Dad Tips To Deal With the Fears of Fatherhood

Becoming a first-time father doesn’t come with a manual. There are a lot of uncharted territories, and with them come new-dad fears. What if you don’t know what you’re doing? What if you fail as a father? What if you can’t fulfill your role and your child hates you forever? These hypotheticals may be keeping you up at night. At Dad University, we are diving deeper into these concerns and providing tips to help you overcome the fears of fatherhood. Keep reading to learn more!

New-Dad Fears: Why Do They Happen?

Gone are the days when our fears were as simple as ghosts or monsters under the bed. As fathers, our fears are less superficial. We’re more concerned about our responsibilities and if we’re able to handle the pressure of raising a family. Dads are scared that they won’t be able to provide — not just financial but emotional support to their wives and children.

Parenthood is not easy, so it’s understandable that some new fathers may balk at the huge responsibility placed on them. Thankfully, there are plenty of experienced dads who know what to do. Here’s what the experienced fathers of Dad University have to say.

We Are All Beginners

Doing something for the first time makes you a beginner, and no beginner can be an expert immediately. Let’s say that you’re learning to play the guitar. You’ll mess up a lot first with finger placements and the right strumming patterns. In time, you will get better. As long as you practice consistently, you’ll become better and better until you can perform a song confidently.

The same principle applies to fatherhood. You can learn to change diapers well and feed your infant after doing it a few times, so those do not really qualify. We’re talking about the emotional things: learning how to listen, how to deal with temper tantrums, how to make sure they can handle bullies, etc.

You won’t get things right the first time for these more complex things. This doesn’t mean that you should quit trying. Instead, learn from your previous mistakes and practice every time you can.

Bonding Takes Time

You might feel jealous at first because your child’s mother bonds so easily with the infant while, on the other hand, you’re finding it harder to create a strong bond with your child. These issues can be caused by a lot of factors. You may not be spending a lot of time with the baby, or your attempts to bond with them aren’t working. 

We want to let you know that bonding takes time. It will happen as you spend more moments with them, especially as they start laughing, smiling, and reacting to your voice. Eventually, they will recognize you as well as they recognize their mother. Being patient is key in this regard, so make sure that you stay consistent with the time you spend with your child.

You Are Not Alone

All these feelings of anxiety, sadness, and fear can feel overwhelming. It seems as though you’re the only one feeling it because other dads don’t ever talk about it. These negative emotions can lead to bad habits in the long term, such as substance abuse or withdrawal from your family. In some cases, men lash out with anger and other extreme reactions.

Men are taught not to show emotions because they are thought to somehow make us look weak — that could not be further from the truth. Having emotions doesn’t make us weak, it makes us human. Every dad will experience some type of emotional turmoil as he becomes a parent, so these emotions are universal and completely normal. Just knowing that you are not alone can make you feel better and more likely to seek help from others. 

Talk With Other Dads

Speaking of asking for help, you probably know at least one friend who is also a dad. Even your own dad knows what it’s like to become a first-time parent. As you experience these fears, it’s good practice to let other dads know about them. These people, in turn, can share their stories about how they dealt with their fears. The other dads won’t just become a source of advice, but they can also become a part of your support system.

As men, we usually don’t like to talk about issues or feelings. If you’re uncomfortable talking about your problems to buddies who might just dismiss you, there are plenty of communities online and in the real world that are ready to accept you. Find these groups and become a member so you have space where you can discuss your fears without judgment.

Watch Your Spending

The costs of raising a child can be pretty daunting, so it’s not surprising that many new fathers have a fear of not being able to provide enough for their infants. Being mindful of your spending is one way to help you ensure that you’re allocating appropriate funding for your child. Look at things on your list that could be removed to allocate more savings for the baby. Don’t listen to relatives who suggest baby stuff that you don’t need. Sometimes, a discerning eye and a little bit of sacrifice can go a long way.

Enjoy the Present Moment

A lot of negative emotions stem from obsessing over the past or worrying about the future. You can let go of these thoughts by simply focusing on the present. Fatherhood is a journey, and it can go by in a blink. You could miss important moments by worrying too much about what could be. Instead, enjoy what is happening right now. Root yourself in the moment and let go of your fears. 

Wrapping Up: Overcoming Fears of Fatherhood

Becoming a new father is neither easy nor straightforward. You may have a lot of fears because of uncertainty, but we’re here to tell you that you’re not alone. Keep in mind the tips we shared above and apply them as you raise your new baby.

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