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Baby boy playing with his caring father and biting his nose.

Confident Fathering

Self-efficacy can be defined as the confidence that you have in yourself to complete the task at hand. In regard to fatherhood, it poses the question, “Do I feel like I have the skills necessary to be a good dad?” This is often a question that comes up for new and expectant dads as they transition into fatherhood.

A lack of confidence can come from the absence of caretaking experience. There are fathers whose first experience changing, feeding, or even holding a baby is with their own. Most men did not grow up playing with toys teaching them how to be a good dad. As boys, we are not encouraged to develop these skills, so when it comes time to take care of our own kids, we may lack the confidence to do so.

The ways that fathers are portrayed in the media tend to be unhelpful as well. Dads are shown to lack effective parenting skills and are often depicted as making matters worse, whether this is nurturing a baby, homemaking, or providing advice to a teen. All of these factors can lead to a decrease in confidence for dads.

Here are three tips for increasing confidence in your fathering skills:

  • Gain knowledge. One surefire way to increase confidence in anything you do is to learn and practice the skills that you might lack. You do this by understanding and admitting your strengths and weaknesses as a father. Figure out the areas that need improvement, and learn the skills necessary to perform the tasks efficiently. Take over certain parenting responsibilities if you feel that it will help your confidence in that area. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or feedback.
  • Stop comparing yourself. Our confidence can take a hit when we observe others “flawlessly” executing their parenting skills while we feel like we’re struggling with ours. It is important to remember that everyone’s parenting journey is unique. You should focus on your own progress and development rather than comparing yourself to your partner or to other dads you know.
  • Celebrate your successes. Throughout your fatherhood journey, make sure to recognize your parenting achievements. Every time you successfully complete a task or exercise a newly learned skill, give yourself a pat on the back. Appropriately celebrating your successes can help you gain confidence and seek additional opportunities to improve.

To further discuss this, I invite you to join us for the Dad Talks virtual discussion on fathering skills scheduled for Thursday, February 18. We will be answering the questions below:

  • How confident am I in my fathering skills?
  • What skills did I enter fatherhood with, and which ones have I learned along the way?
  • Which fathering skills have been the easiest and the most challenging to develop?

I look forward to seeing you there!

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About Z. Andrew Jatau, LPC

About Z. Andrew  Jatau, LPC

Z. Andrew is a Licensed Professional Counselor and the founder of Mylemarks, an online company that develops social-emotional resources to use with kids and teens. Through that company, he creates content such as digital downloads, workbooks, and children’s books. He’s an adjunct professor in the Human Services department at Old Dominion University, and serves as the Fatherhood Consultant for CHKD’s Dads in Action program. When he’s not working, he enjoys spending time with his family, cooking, and listening to music.