A lot has changed for fathers in recent years. Long gone are the days when a father got the first glimpse of his new baby when she was brought to the waiting room of the hospital. Now a new father is expected to be in the delivery room and is able to play an integral role as his baby comes into the world.
Though most things have changed for the better, it's unfortunate that many other things haven't changed at all. Dads are expected to be full and equal partners when it comes to taking care of their kids, but they aren't always given the resources to be able to do it. They may have difficulty getting time off from work to care for their sick child or go to well-baby visits with their pediatrician, and may not even get any paternity leave. And many people still promote the stereotype of the bumbling, clueless father.
One thing that hasn't changed — and hopefully it never will — is how important it is for children to have an active father figure in their lives. Children who grow up in a household without a father are more likely to drop out of school, abuse drugs, run away from home, and end up in prison. A father who understands his responsibility and takes an active role in raising his sons and daughters is important for his family and for society in general.
If being a good father is so important, then why aren't new fathers given more resources to help them? You won't find as many support groups and clubs for dads as there are for moms, and there are far fewer parenting classes just for new fathers. Other simple things, like diaper- changing tables in the restroom, are often not as widespread for men as they are for women. Why do new fathers still often have a hard time understanding what their role is supposed to be?
Part of the reason is that although the role of fathers is changing, it sometimes still isn't seen as being very “manly” to take on many parenting tasks. Sure, you're a real man if you take your son to a ball game, but what if you help feed your baby or regularly change his diapers? Is that still a “manly” thing to do?
Of course it is. Real men are good fathers and are equal partners when it comes to all aspects of raising a baby. You take care of your baby when she is sick, wake up at night for feedings, and are familiar with how your baby is growing and developing. Understanding this more active parenting role can help you realize what it means to be a good father.
One of the most important aspects of learning to be a good father is understanding all of the general parenting tasks that you are expected to do. This includes changing diapers, feeding your baby, and giving him a bath. Fathers who know how to do these things will be eager to do them, and won't be uncomfortable or afraid of doing something wrong. In The Everything® Father's First Year Book, 2nd Edition you will learn everything you need to know in order to care for your baby until his first birthday. You will also learn how to support and help your partner through this very enjoyable, but often challenging, first year of your baby's life.