Dad-ucation 101: 4 parenting lessons for newbies in fatherhood

Discover the wisdom shared by an experienced father and first-time dad on the key ingredients for a smooth transition into fatherhood

A father bonds with his son by lifting him with his hands during a tender parenting moment.
Dad-ucation 101: A first-time father and experienced dad share their wisdom, revealing four crucial parenting insights for a smoother and more fulfilling transition into fatherhood. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

Becoming a father is a significant parenting milestone that brings forth an array of emotions ranging from overwhelming joy to a heightened sense of responsibility.

As new dads enter the world of diapers, sleepless nights, and endless giggles, it's crucial for them to be prepared for the transformative journey of parenthood.

Yahoo Southeast Asia delves into the wisdom shared by a first-time father and an experienced dad, unveiling four crucial insights that can make all the difference in ensuring a smoother and more fulfilling transition into fatherhood.

1. Be prepared to navigate the unknown

When Kary Tan, a 41-year-old first-time dad, discovered he was going be a father, he realised that the reality was quite different from what he had seen in movies. Reflecting on the moment his wife shared the positive pregnancy test with him, he recalls feeling speechless and uncertain of how to react. He jokingly asked if his wife had tested positive for COVID-19, but beneath the humour, he felt a sudden wave of worry.

"I didn't know how to express myself because I had never been a father before. My immediate thoughts were about what steps we needed to take next, like scheduling medical check-ups. It was the first time I had ever felt such overwhelming worry, especially considering my age."

2. Expect a change in routine

Tan also noticed that his priorities and routines changed significantly after marrying his wife in 2010. Previously, they used to go out frequently on weekends, staying late into the night. However, with their baby girl due in early November, their focus shifted towards saving money and preparing for their child's arrival.

"For the past three to four months, we've been staying at home on weekends. We relax, have some snacks, and watch Netflix. We want to save money and be more mindful of our spending. It's a big shift from how we used to live."

Tan acknowledges that adjusting to this new routine requires patience, as advised by his friends. He also said that he understands that fatherhood is a journey that unfolds naturally over time.

Building Strong Families Through Communication: Omar highlights the importance of open dialogue and emotional expression for fathers to foster trust and understanding within the family.
Building Strong Families Through Communication: Omar highlights the importance of open dialogue and emotional expression for fathers to foster trust and understanding within the family. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

3. Embrace hands-on parenting

According to Abdul Omar, a 55-year-old father of a 27-year-old daughter, the role of fathers has evolved significantly over the years.

No longer limited to providing financial support, fathers are now actively involved in every aspect of parenting. Embracing hands-on caregiving can strengthen the bond between a father and their child.

Reflecting on his own experience, Abdul admits that he regrets not being as involved when his daughter was young. He was too focused on providing financial support and neglected the importance of actively participating in daily tasks like changing diapers or soothing his daughter to sleep.

"It took a while for us to develop a closer bond. I realised that by actively engaging in these daily tasks, I could have built a deeper connection with my daughter when she was a baby."

4. Clear and open communication

Abdul emphasises that clear and open communication forms the very foundation of a thriving family.

He firmly believes that fathers must exercise patience, actively listen, and fearlessly express their emotions. "Having meaningful and honest conversations can build trust, understanding, and mutual respect within the family. So, fathers should not shy away and take the first step to reach out to their children because they would genuinely appreciate it," according to Abdul.

Reflecting on his own experience, Omar recalls his initial hesitancy in reaching out to his daughter, as he confesses, "I didn't know what to say or how to support her."

To bridge this gap, he resorted to expressing his affection through small gestures, such as offering snacks and inquiring about her well-being. It was during these moments that he had an epiphany, realising that "even small steps" were sincerely appreciated by his daughter.

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