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Parenting Guide Sheets
5. Early Days

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Page 5B
2. A Word for New Fathers
Why do so many people have a hard time of it?   Because they haven't thought through some of these things you've read about on these pages.
If it's not that (and it probably will be!) it's that they have been unwilling to take hold of the responsibility of being a parent. It costs you your life to be a good parent, but the good news is that we're designed to make a good job of it.
The husband/partner who wants to remain a self-centred individual, still doing the things he did when he was single, just hasn't clued in to life! These notes are as much for you as for the child’s mother.
Being a husband/partner means joining yourself to your wife/partner in far more ways that sex. It means being willing to give up yourself for her. She is really going to need you to support her and your child is really going to need your presence.
Being a father means far more that just being the main one bringing in the bread; it means being there as a primary influence in your child's life.  
Let’s just recap the stages of family life that are ahead of you. On Page 1 we expressed this but let’s reiterate it to face what is coming.

Stages of Parenthood
Pre-parents  i.e. expecting your first child
New parents i.e. the panic of being responsible
The early years i.e. developmental stages and difficulties to overcome
Junior school i.e. learning and growth
Teen years i.e. trials and tribulations
The empty nest i.e. when the children have left home
Grandparents - Joys and frustrations.

Historically, over the past thirty to fifty years, the trend of temporary relationships (marriage / cohabiting / one night/one month stands) has meant that for many relationships have been reduced to sexual encounters.

For many, the fruit of that has been unwanted children and then abandoned families. Husband / partner / father swapping has become the name of the game for many. This is not the place to discuss the causes of relational breakdown, but to point out that because of thousands of men walking off and leaving their women to cope with the baby alone, if nothing else (and there is a lot more that the media are getting better and better at pointing out) children are suffering.

Although we try to justify it in the face of modern trends, children DO anguish when the father either isn’t known, isn’t there or walks away. Even when, as happens often, the absent father has the child at the weekend, it has been clearly documented that children feel their lives are fragmented and there is a loss of security and even identity.

This will be the only place on these pages that we will mention this subject but for the sake of our children, we would plead with men to think again and seek counsel before they walk away from a distressing partnership that involves children or a child on the way.

Many a teacher will testify to the falling grades or disruptive behaviour that occurs with pupils when a marriage or partnership break-up is in progress. For the sake of the children please get help and stay together.

If it is the only way, look at the material in this series here on Rochford Life and set new goals in life that are focused on your children, goals to do the best for them. If you have read this far on this page, you are someone who does care. If you need it, please get help.

3. And So….

We have, on this page, moved on in our considerations as how we can be good parents, to facing the tough time that faces us in the early days of having a new child.  It can be a difficult time, most especially for the mother, with the potential of post natal depression and tiredness, and for that reason we have made a plea for togetherness to get through those early months.

I have often come across people, at different stages of life who have been heard to say, “If only I had been warned….”  Well here is the warning. For the mother especially who may be feeding two or three times a night, these first months of caring for your new child can be the most exhausting times you’ll ever have in your life.   

But you will get through it! You’ll especially get through it if you have someone alongside you to help you cope in the middle of the night when your personal resources are running low, but if you are on you own, you will get through it because you’ll find inner resources that you never knew you had. If you have a parent or friend who can mind your baby in the daytime while you catch up on sleep, that will help. This will be one of the tough times in your life as a parent. There will be others, hopefully not so tough, but if you can see it through you have the potential of achieving something truly wonderful – being a parent who is able to be there for your child and see him or her grow up into someone who is lovely to have around. They are the future and you have the wonder of creating that future. You can do it!


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