Fathers today are a lot more involved than they used to be decades ago, but we still have some misconceptions about fatherhood that prevent men from being effective fathers. Here are some of those myths, and why they’re wrong.
1. Men aren’t as nurturing as women.
Both men and women come into parenting knowing virtually nothing, but women have the advantage because they typically spend more time with the baby early on, and also have more support from family, friends, and health professionals.
Dads aren’t biologically wired to be less nurturing, but with the right encouragement and support, can develop childcare skills at the same rate as moms.
2. Newborns don’t need their fathers.
Newborns spend most of their time either sleeping or feeding, which is usually spent with mom if she’s breastfeeding. Dads can often feel left out during this time, but you shouldn’t think that your baby doesn’t need you. You can bond with your baby after he has eaten. You can even choose to feed your baby if your partner pumps milk.
By helping your partner around the house, you are also allowing her to nurture your baby even more. Dads make a difference—even with young infants.
On the next page: more fatherhood myths debunked.
3. Dads are incompetent parents.
Mainstream media has made a joke of dads and how they aren’t “real” parents, highlighting fatherhood mishaps and misadventures. There’s nothing wrong with having a little fun with your kids, but remember: you are a parent, not a babysitter. Your learning curve may be a little steeper than your partner’s because you haven’t had as much time to learn the ropes, but with a little effort, you’ll get there.
4. Mother knows best.
The way your partner interacts with your kids will be different from the way you do. Mothers should avoid criticizing dads for every little thing, and instead, encourage their partners. The more competent men feel as parents, the more involved they’ll be.
5. Dads don’t make much of a difference at home.
This myth couldn’t be more wrong. Several studies have found that children who grow up in a household with a dad perform better in IQ tests, have higher EQs, and are generally more well-adjusted.
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