Moving Beyond “Bootcamp”
I just read this NPR piece about how soon-to-be and new dads are taking classes—“bootcamps” they are being called—to help them get ready for their new role as a father. I’m sure these classes are helping and providing valuable information.
No one should be “terrified” at the idea of needing to soothe his new baby, though, as one man says he is in the article. As the dad of a six-year-old, I wanted to contribute more to this conversation.
Now that I’m on the other side of the “just keep it alive!” feeling of early parenting and well into the “planning for the future” part of parenting, I just know there is so much more to learning how to be a confident dad in the long term than learning how to swaddle your baby in “bootcamp.”
Looking back, the most powerful, effective, and time-saving thing I did as a new dad was to develop a perspective on the long game. It was Raising Families’ class that helped me do that.
Do It Your Way
In general, I’m not the kind of person who likes to be told what I should do or told what to expect out of anything. Given that, when we found out my wife was pregnant, jumping into a prenatal class wasn’t my first instinct. Still, at her urging, we actually went to a few classes before and after our kid was born.
Those were all helpful and informative, and similar to the classes that were mentioned in the NPR piece, but none of them helped me to gain a full perspective on what was really coming.
The truth is, loving your kid and family is all you need to start with, and from there you can build up the practical things you need to know. There are multitudes of day-to-day fires to put.
Most people are able to figure those things out, though, even when the topic areas are completely new (e.g., diaper options, sicknesses, info from the pediatrician, etc.).
Parents have to learn fast, because things that present as enormous challenges one day get figured out for a certain phase of development, and then the kid moves on/gets over it and different issues crop up just as suddenly.
The phases of your kids’ and family’s life change quickly in the zero to six years, and they are over in the blink of an eye it seems.
But when you’re in the middle of it, the more that you can develop a perspective of “This is what’s happening now, but what’s coming next?” the better off you’ll be.
Constant Change Requires Consistent Thinking
Even though there is so much to know and learn at every phase, it’s the larger challenge of knowing how you want to respond that is the most helpful thing to get your head around.
It takes time to work through initially, but if you and your spouse/partner can begin to tackle it early, that process will yield dividends that make your family life more enjoyable, meaningful, and satisfying.
Raising Families’ online class Leading Your Child to Success was the only class that helped me, and my wife, to develop our own ideas about being parents, so we could save time, determine for ourselves what does and doesn’t deserve our attention, and begin to navigate a world that is increasingly complex and challenging to navigate.
And if you are saying to yourself that you don’t have time now for a parenting class that saves you time, money, and helps your family navigate the rough and unexpected spots that always come up with kids, then just imagine all the time and effort it will take you in the future to unravel the less effective habits and unintended consequences that come from not taking the time to plan.
We know that in life if you ignore something you should be paying attention to, it seems to grow and take up more time in the future. We also know that without some clear markers and goals for the future, it’s hard to achieve a vision that hasn’t been articulated.
Newer parents are—and will always be—strapped for time. But within that hectic space, taking the time to develop plans and goals for the future makes achieving a solid future together possible.
Wishing you the best of luck in this process!
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