Once you get into it, the rewards of being a dad are many. And you don’t need to do things the same way as your partner to be a great parent – fatherhood is different from motherhood.

Rewards of being a dad

During pregnancy, you can hear lots of bad news about difficult births, sleep loss, less social life and other downsides. It’s easy to lose sight of what it’s all about – having a baby.

The bonds you build with your baby and the fun you have together are priceless. And you can start building these bonds even in pregnancy. For example, as you feel little kicks, talk to your unborn baby and think about what kind of dad you’d like to be.

Being a positive parent is partly about reminding yourself that the hard times pass, but the fun times stay as special memories.

Video

Dads’ special moments

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In this short video, men share stories of dads’ special moments with children. They talk about how they use bathtime, playtime and stories for bonding with their kids. Special moments between fathers and children can happen everyday. These moments can make the challenges associated with parenting worthwhile.

Seeing the development of them becoming their own person and growing into an individual, you just sit back sometimes and get a tear in your eye.
– Felix, father of four

You’ve got such a fantastic set of things that are going to happen to you – like the first time your baby smiles at you, the first steps and the first words when they talk to you.
– Barry, father of two

How being a dad is different from being a mum

As you get into being a dad, you might find that your way of being a parent is very different from your partner’s.

Dads tend to be more physically active with their babies and have different ways of bonding, nurturing and caring for their children. This is great. When you care for your child, you do so in ways only a dad can.

Doing things differently from your partner can be a source of tension or disagreement for some couples. It’s a good idea to negotiate your roles and share expectations about what’s important to you. You might want to talk about how you’re going to manage differences in how you do things.

Working these things out can take time and patience, but it will help keep your relationship strong. 

Fatherhood is not motherhood. And it’s really important to go, ‘I’m different from mum, I’m not the same as her, I’m not going to do things the same as her’. We’re pushing in the same direction, but we’re just pushing a little differently. We both want good outcomes for the kids.
– Ricardo, father of two

Things you can do

  • Think about what’s most important to you about being a family, and talk about it with your partner. This could help you make a confident, happy start to family life.
  • Read our 10 tips for making a great start to fatherhood.
  • If you find you’re getting upset or angry with your partner or other people, it’s a good idea to ask for help. You could see your GP. Or call MensLine on 1300 789 978 - it’s a free and confidential service that can put you in touch with a counsellor.

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Last updated or reviewed
09-08-2016

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Raising Children Network is supported by the Australian Government. Member organisations are the Parenting Research Centre and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute with The Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health.

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