Editorial Contribution by Sally Writes
Only 12% of parents feel like they are prepared when they first have kids, according to 2020 survey data from the diaper rash company Bordeaux Butt Paste. While you can easily learn the more practical things like first aid, swaddling, and putting together a nursery, there are a number of things that you simply won’t be prepared for. Here are just three of those things to make your adjustment to fatherhood a little easier.
You are a personal influencer
One thing that surprises many new parents is just how much kids take in: everything you do matters — including the language you use and how you handle different situations. Even the amount of time that you spend on your phone can have an impact on your child. In fact, researchers conducting a study on parents who used their phone in fast food restaurants found that their children were more likely to act out. The study discovered that many parents who were more absorbed in their devices were irritable or impatient, which then led to worse behavior from their children. The study serves as a stark reminder that it’s important to be mindful of our actions and words as parents: you are a major influence on your child in many aspects of life, even when you might not notice it.
Your child’s name matters
While many parents struggle to pick the perfect name for their baby, others do so with ease. However, no matter what you choose, it’s important to realize that your child’s name matters. Not only will the name itself be a large part of their identity, but additional words that you use to describe their personality as they grow can also have a major impact on them, meaning the words you use to define your child will be quite influential. For example, if you were to describe them as ‘messy’, the negative association with the word could affect how they view themselves. Instead, opting for words such as ‘creative’ or ‘expressive’ in its place can point out positive qualities and strengths, thus empowering your child and creating a good “name”, or reputation, for them.
You’ll learn on the job
Learning on the job is another challenge of becoming a parent, and one which is often not talked about. This is not only because each child is different, but also because the world is constantly changing. Becoming a father for the first time is daunting for anyone, but for many black men in America, there are additional challenges brought about by absent father stereotypes and societal expectations. With that in mind, it’s important to realize that as a parent, you will likely have to take things as they come in a rapidly changing society.
Becoming a father is a positive and life changing experience, and while you can prepare as much as possible, there will still be some surprises along the way. From how your actions influence your child to why your child’s name matters, there are a number of things that you may not yet be prepared for.