Your new role as a father

What type of father do you want to be?

Now you’re dad to a young child and one of the most important people in your child’s life. What you say and do will influence that little new person for the rest of his/her life. On this page you can find advice on how to tackle your new role as a dad and how to become the type of dad you want to be in the future.

A good father – but how?

Try answering the following questions on your own or with your partner:

  • What values do I want to pass on to my child?
  • Can I find anything useful in the way my father did things?
  • Is there anything my parents taught me that I want to pass on?
  • Are there things from my own childhood that I would rather not repeat with my own children?
  • Is there anything I need to know, or instruments I could use?
  • Who can help me move on from here?

Get inspiration from others

Many fathers naturally want to be a big part of their children’s lives – caring, interested and generally close to their children. Many men draw inspiration from their own fathers. It is often motivating to have a good father, and have happy memories of him as part of your childhood. Others may have negative memories associated with their father’s role, and want to do things differently.

If you need inspiration from someone other than your own dad, it is a good idea to look at other fathers among friends or family. You may also be able to talk to your father about the motivations behind the type of father he was, and clear things up or understand better.

Mum and dad can do the same things

In the past, it was accepted that mum naturally provided care, and that dad’s main contribution was to support her. Today we know that mum and dad can do the same things in relation to the child and that both parents can form a close bond with the child. Your child’s attachment to you as a father is a result of the amount of time you spend with your child and the kind of contact you have with each other.

As a father, you can think about whether your role as dad and the things you do with and for your child are working out for you. For example, you may want your baby to come to you for comfort, or you and your partner can both cuddle your baby. If you’re not sure how to make it work, try talking to your health visitor, other dads or the nursery nurses at your child’s daycare centre.

You will probably also find that your role and your partner’s role with your child will change over time. For example, it may vary a lot who picks up/drops off your child at daycare or who spends more time with the child if one of you is very busy at work for a time.

So think about what you want to be like as a dad. Use the inspiration and talk to your partner and others about being a dad.