By Dominic Alford, Relationships Australia
In mainstream Australia, Dads are traditionally encouraged to work and provide for the family and to be a Dad second. This is not everyone’s idea of being a Father. Some Dads need and want options.
Let’s explore 7 different types of Dad. Have a read below and try out all the types. Try them at home, in the car, or in the playground. Try them for 5 minutes, an hour, all day, all week or forever!
- Responsible Dad is great at organising and following through. For your newborn, you can organise and attend appointments like maternal and child health nurse, GP or immunisation, or arrange a babysitter – for a date night!
As your child gets older, you can organise school supplies, arrange sport or music lessons and attend with your child. What can you do now? Start a family calendar (paper or digital) and get organising!
- Remembering Dad is always thinking about their child, what they need and what they want. For your newborn, you can discover your baby’s routines, sleep signs and the best cuddling position they like to go to sleep – regardless of how sore your arms are!
As your child get older, you can plan birthday parties, presents, know their favourite games, and what they love to do with their friends. What can you do now? Think about your child’s day and talk to your partner about what you both observed.
- Nurturing Dad makes sure their child has all their basic needs met. For your newborn, you can support your partner’s needs during breastfeeding, prepare the bottles for the day and share feeding (if not breastfeeding), do bath time, and pick out baby clothes for the day.
As your child gets older, you can look after them when they are sick, stay home from work and take them to the doctor. What can you do now? Figure out if your child’s routine is meeting their needs.
Affectionate Dad expresses their love for their child. Hugs, kisses and lots of “I love you”. Enough said. For any child at any age.
Interactive Dad loves to play, communicate and explore ideas with their child. For your newborn, you can give cuddles when they are happy or crying, play games, notice their reactions to people, and recognise when they make eye contact.
As your child gets older, you can role model managing emotions, encourage your child to be part of decision making, and read books together. What can you do now? Watch your child’s behaviours. Think about what they do and don’t like.
- Sharing Dad shares parenting roles with their partner. For your newborn, you can share the bottle feeding (if not breastfeeding), tag-team getting up throughout the night, tag-team nappies and share the housework.
As your child gets older, you can discuss parenting strengths and weaknesses with your partner and, as a team, decide on what roles to play in typical parenting scenarios. What can you do now? Work as a parenting team. You are in this together.
- Provider Dad is the traditional Dad who provides for the family and ensures they feel protected and safe. For your newborn, when you go back to work, you can provide financially for the family. When you are at home, you can provide a nurturing, consistent and predictable home environment where your child feels safe, loved and able to thrive.
As your child gets older, both parents may be working and providing so you can share this role. What can you do now? Go to work and get home to that cute kid ASAP!
A great way to explore and share your experiences is with Dads groups in your community. Dads groups, just like Mums groups, are for Dads and their kids to meet up and talk about the unique role played by Dads.
Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.