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New Dad Questions

Transitioning to fatherhood can be overwhelming. Some fathers feel wholly unprepared as they head into this new experience. Even those that feel confident will encounter elements of fatherhood that they never anticipated. While you may never be 100 percent ready for the transition, there are ways to prepare yourself to take on your new role. If you’re a new or expectant father, start by asking yourself the questions below.

What type of father do I want to be?

Early on, you should determine your role as a father. Re-examine your upbringing and explore the role that your own father or a father figure played in your life. What are the positive traits that you would like to possess? What are a few things about the parenting style that you would do differently? It’s important to realize that you get to decide how present and engaged you are in your child’s life. This is also a great discussion to have with your partner to make sure that your vision of parenting is in alignment.

How can my partner and I best support each other?

Throughout this journey, there will be struggles that both you and your partner will encounter. There will be days where either of you may feel ineffective in your roles or completely overwhelmed by stress. Talk with your partner about what you might need in those moments and ask what they need from you. Make sure to also explore the responsibilities that will arise with this new addition to your family and figure out the best way to ease the adjustment for everyone. If you and your partner are separated, it is still important to support each other as co-parents.

What else might change?

This is a tough question to answer because you don’t really know how your life is going to be affected until it happens. It is always helpful to reach out to others who have been through the experience of fatherhood and ask for advice. Make sure that the person you are talking to is someone you respect and admire. As a new father, you can anticipate changes in your sleep, friendships, family dynamics, and much more. The more feedback you receive about what to expect, the better prepared you’ll be.

These are just a few of the questions that will help you get ready for your new role. If you’re a new or expectant father, continue the conversation at the upcoming Fatherhood 101 class. In this class, led by a CHKD pediatrician and me, you will learn information about keeping your baby safe, happy, and healthy. We will also discuss how to navigate changing family and social relationships. Hope to see 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.