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As I think about ways to prepare a son to be a father, I think: Wow! You mean one day my son may be a parent? It’s amazing to think that I, as a mom, have a role in teaching him ways to be the best future dad.
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Before reading this, please remember that fatherhood looks different for everyone because we all have walked different paths in life, and all families do not look the same. Also, this list is from a mom’s perspective.
1. Support the Women in His Life
Teach your son to support the women in his life, whether it’s mom, grandma, or whoever! Try and prepare your son by emphasizing the importance of support, especially while a mom is growing the baby, giving birth, and healing from birth. While mom is breastfeeding, and baby only wants mom, be supportive and encouraging.
For me, there was nothing better than kind words and hearing my husband cheer me on with words of encouragement during childbirth. It sets such an example for our son. Many times while breastfeeding, he would say: “I know this is tough, but you can do this. How can I help?”
Setting examples by supporting women in each of our lives can help create a lasting influence on how our son’s treat the women in the world. I’m not saying women need saving, but I am saying we have a role in teaching our sons how to support women.
2. Active Parenting
We need continuously active fathers in all aspects of kids’ lives. Dad needs to change the diapers (even the poops), take the kids the school, and we need dad to be attentive in the home.
In most households, it’s all hands on deck to keep things running smooth! Verbalize to your son how to help out, whether it’s emotional or physical support. Help, step in, and be there (obviously when possible). For example, teach your son how to change a diaper, when to offer a hug, when to take out the trash without being asked, and other responsibilities.
3. Help When You’re Not Helping
What does this mean exactly? This means you can share with your son ways to help when they are not actively helping with the baby. For example, if your partner is feeding the baby, you could be washing bottles, cleaning breast pump parts, and doing some laundry if you are feeling brave.
Please understand that breaks are also important, but, if you do not have a housekeeper, keeping up on the housework is also a part of the role. Throughout our son’s lives we can begin the learning process by showing or helping them pick up toys after play or by allowing them to help with chores around the house and if they are older, assign them some responsibilities around the house.
4. Patience in the Process
Taking on the role of a parent is new, and no one has it all figured out! What works for some may simply not work for your family unit. If you’re expecting a new baby in your home, prepare your son by letting him know that things are going to change, and, in that change, it is best to be patient with your partner. Take deep breaths and try different things until you find what works for your family.
Teach patience by taking deep breaths, and healthy ways to handle stress or anger like working out, meditation, and other forms of self-care.
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5. Find Time
Date nights are important, taking time to yourself (by yourself) is important, and self-care is important. Parenthood can be tough and busy. A good way to prepare your son is by sharing how important it is to take some time for himself, time with his partner, and ways to stay healthy in all the aspects of health.
Your son is about to embark on a whole new world. Encourage him to join groups with other fathers. Encourage them to read books about parenting. Both parents will need support and have the ability to speak to someone outside of his relationship.
7. Safe Spaces
Help your son with finding a way to create safe spaces. Somewhere he and his partner can speak freely without judgement. I have said many times how the journey can be challenging. Creating safe spaces to talk about the challenges and the emotions will be helpful to the both of them. Find some time and a relaxing place at the end of the day to talk about the day (even things that may not pertain to parenting).
8. Accepting Unbalanced Duties
Prepare your son for the times when his partner may only be able to give 20 percent. Some days are better than others . . . and some days one person may be stronger to take the 80 percent.
9. Share Your Experiences
Hearing all the stories of parenthood from my mom, dad, or mother-in-law is not always easy. Especially when they were telling me how I should do things rather than, “This is how I did it. Would you like me to show you?”
I still learned a lot from their stories. Hearing their experiences either taught me a way I chose to follow, or taught me how not to do something and to try something else. Your son can learn by hearing your parenthood experience firsthand.
10. Be the Village
No matter if your son is a young child or about to become a father, offer to help your son, but give him space to learn things independently. In helping prepare him, you can also teach him how to help.
We would love to hear your perspective on the topic. Please share in the comments!