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Falling in Love With Your Child

Quote of the day…
Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone

How do we fall in love with our children? Don’t we just know from the moment of birth we are in love with them? As men and dads we need to know something about our “feeling nature.” Sometimes we associate “feeling” with how women experience emotions and if we don’t “feel” the way they do we are not “in touch” with our feelings. Men do experience feelings differently than women and this often gets misunderstood for us not knowing how we really feel. Here are the differences.

There is immediacy to women’s feelings, a quick response to how something feels to them. For men there is a longer response time, needing time to “think it over;” may be needing time to let the feelings come to surface. Often men are criticized for this different rhythm to the way they process feelings.

Some anthropological work reflects this different way of processing feelings. In our prehistoric tribal times women were in the village tending to children and the tasks around the fire; they needed to interact quickly and verbally with the other women. The men who were out hunting need to remain silent and still as they waited for their prey.

For dads, as we begin our journey into fatherhood we may need some time to process all that is going on inside us as we go from man to dad. Do not be afraid not to know how you feel…..give yourself time and little by little, I bet, as most dads do, that little son or daughter will be well loved and cared for by you…the dad!

If you are in dads/fathers group this may be a good topic of discussion.
“When did you discover that you had fallen in love with your child?”

If you are not in a dads group and would like to start one contact me through the
Fathers’ Forum and I will try to help you get going!

Becoming a father

In some ways the public problem we have — that we don’t provide enough support for families — must be resolved in a private way. Each of us, as a parent and as part of a couple, needs to find the way to create the work–family balance that can sustain our families emotionally as well as financially. We as fathers need to support each other in parenthood. We dads must give each other the encouragement to take risks both emotionally and financially in order to be more integrated in our families.

As dads and men we need to examine our desires and expectations. We are socialized to believe self-worth is dominated by our relationship to careers, and then we have a conflict when we become fathers and find ourselves wanting to be part of our children’s lives. More and more men are choosing to be fathers, often making  financial sacrifices to be involved in family life. We need to find ways to be nurturing and involved fathers while making important contributions in the workplace. We need a new definition of our work culture. This is especially difficult in today’s economy.

From my perspective as a family therapist, it is easy to understand that the changes couples and babies go through in the first year of life depend on having the necessary time to form the important early attachments. Yet we do little as a society to protect this time for parents or children. Pressures mount quickly for parents to get back to work. I am not saying that every couple should stay home with their new baby. What I am proposing is that, especially in the early years, there is a need for flexibility so that fathers, mothers and babies can have enough time to get to know each other. It takes time to understand what parenthood and family life means for each of us. In choosing our priorities we make sacrifices, but the sacrifice is easy if we recognize the gain. Fathers are being sold a bill of goods whenever we are told that our work will give us the entire fulfillment we need in life. We are now discovering that we need to feel connected with our children and families to be truly content.

We are coming to understand as fathers that our relationships with the important people in our lives — especially our children — are of paramount importance to feeling good about ourselves and feeling that our lives have meaning.


Welcome to the Fathers’ Forum Blog

Welcome to the Blog for the Fathers’ Forum Programs…..

“The birth of a child opens the doorway to discovering the nurturing qualities within us as men. These discoveries not only benefit our children, our partners, and ourselves, but create a new potential for the society we live in.” —Bruce Linton 

For over 20 years I have been facilitating Dad’s Groups for Fathers of Young Children and teaching a “Becoming a Father” class for expectant dads in Berkeley, California. I am Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in working with fathers and couples with young children. I received my  Ph.D for my research on ‘Men’s Development as Fathers from Pregnancy to a Year Post–Partum.” Please click on a links below to learn more about the Fathers’ Forum and how important it is for us to share the experience of fatherhood with other new dads.

What is expected of me as a new dad?