Q&A: As a new dad, I sometimes struggle with a negative attitude. Can you help?Written by Focus on the Family
What's inside this article
Question: I’m a new father, and though I love our child very much I often find my selfishness rearing its ugly head. Whenever my wife asks me to help with the baby I become frustrated and angry, especially when I’m in the middle of something else. Do you have any advice or suggestions for me?
Take heart – it’s common for new dads to experience some difficulty adjusting to a new baby. Some men feel a bit "left out" when they discover that all of their spouse’s time and energy is getting directed toward the child. What’s more, some guys may find it hard to relate to an infant – it’s been shown that many men have an easier time getting close to older children with whom they can interact physically. The good news is that you realize what you’re up against. You understand that you have to find a way to put the needs of the baby above your own. Your infant is totally dependent upon you and your wife right now. As you’re learning, the job of a parent involves a great deal of patience and self-sacrifice.
Talk to your wife
It’s vital that you express your feelings of frustration to your wife. If you’ve been feeling lonely or ignored since the baby arrived, say so. Let her know exactly what’s going through your mind. Naturally, most of her time and attention has to go toward the child for the time being – that’s a fact of life, and you need to adjust to it. But it’s also crucial for new parents to make sure that their "couple" relationship doesn’t suffer unnecessarily. Susan Yates, author of And Then I Had Kids, stresses the importance of establishing a regular date night, even with a newborn at home. This isn’t as difficult as it sounds – all you have to do is ask a friend or relative to watch the baby for a few hours each week. It will go a long way toward keeping your marriage healthy.
Contact a counsellor
That said, it’s only fair to add that we’re a bit concerned about your use of the word "angry" to describe your state of mind. If you’ve been feeling true anger toward the baby, there may be some deeper issues that you need to deal with. If so, we’d like to suggest that you contact Focus on the Family Canada’s counselling department at your convenience. Our registered counsellors are available to speak with you Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Pacific time at 1.800.661.9800. They’d be more than happy to discuss your situation with you over the phone.
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