advice to new fathers

Advice to New Fathers

The best gifts often have little to do with money, and a lot more to do with thought and time. This Father’s Day, as a gift to all the expectant fathers and new dads joining the rank of parent-dom, we asked some of our favorite dads to share tips as well as what they wished they’d known before they had kids.

“There is no manual!” shared Christian, father of two (22 months and 2 years) and part of our security team, still sounding shocked at this realization, “but it is the best experience in the world.”

His children now grown, Barry Spencer, case manager and certified social worker, reflected on the importance of letting your kids be kids, “They don’t need to grow up too soon. Enjoy their silly innocence and don’t break their spirit!” They don't need to grow up too soon. Enjoy your child's silly innocence. - Barry Spencer Click To Tweet

Of course, not breaking their spirit does not mean that there won’t be times when you will have to have a few words with your child and set safe boundaries. Jeremy Friezen, R.N., is sure to get in those three little words‑I love you‑even when he has to discipline his 5 year old. “Counsel in love,” he suggested. Jeremy’s 10-month-old baby hasn’t provided much reason for correction, but Jeremy is already focused on allowing and fostering both his children’s personalities. “Remember to enjoy each stage, even when it is frustrating.”

Get in those three little words‑I love you‑even when having to correct behavior - Jeremy Friezen RN & dad Click To Tweet

Micheal Laetsch, manager in TMC Transportation, describes his goal as a father to Elijah, 6, and Violet, 1, as “to protect their innocence for as long as possible. Don’t rush to teach them about the real world, they’ll find out soon enough.”

Michael is also fostering a love of the outdoors in his children, too. “Develop a hobby you and your kids can do together. You can teach and bond with them at the same time,” he said. “Include your kids in your exercise routine and you’ll have a motivational work-out buddy, and teach them good habits at the same time!”

He warns new dads, “Be careful with TV and video games. It’s easy to slip into a bad habit of using them as electronic baby sitters.” Of course, it helps if you model good screen-use behavior. “If you make it hard for them to gain your attention by spending too much time on your cell phone, they will come up with more creative ways of getting your attention like acting out and throwing things at you.”

What to do when your kids act out? Michael suggests, “Stay calm as much as possible when dealing with misbehavior. Teach your children with words, reason, and that there are consequences for their actions vs. using shame and embarrassment. Know when to step away to take a breath. Don’t lose your cool or your kids will too.” And reward appropriate behavior. “Constant, consistent, profuse, repetitive praise at times is necessary to encourage good behavior.”

Constant, consistent, profuse, repetitive praise at times encourages good behavior. - Michael L. on parenting Click To Tweet

What advice do you have for new dads?