The Basics of Fatherhood: 5 Must-Read Parenting Books For Fathers
Congratulations – you’re going to be a dad! From the very first time you heard those words, there’s no doubt that a million thoughts and emotions started running through your head. From excitement to panic to joy or anxiety, preparing for fatherhood can be overwhelming. However, being an involved, loving father is one of the greatest gifts that you can offer your child and ultimately their future productivity and success.
In fact, research shows that a child that has an involved father in their life often shows higher levels of self-control, sociability, and confidence. If that wasn’t enough, these children were also shown to perform better in school and were at a lower risk of partaking in risky behaviors as teenagers. However, this doesn’t only work between a father and a son, the importance of a father-daughter relationship is just as strong. When it comes to young girls specifically, studies show that father involvement can reduce psychological problems like depression. Boys, on the other hand, showed to have less behavioral problems in adolescent years.
While these facts may be quite surprising, it’s also important to note that this correlation isn’t based on the number of hours a father spends with a child, rather the quality of the relationship they share with one another. Even for fathers that live in a separate household than their children, they can still have a serious impact on their mental, social, and emotional well-being. Setting up bonding activities between a parent and child is all that’s needed to make a significant impact on early childhood.
Overall, while being a dad is incredible, it’s totally normal to feel nervous or anxious. Fortunately, other fathers and parents, in general, have felt the same way. There are so many great books and other dad resources out there to guide you along this new journey. Here are our top five books on fatherhood.
“Dude, You’re Gonna Be a Dad!” by John Pfeiffer
This book is the perfect one to read in the nine months before your little one arrives. It will give you tips and tricks to avoid common pitfalls and partner with your loved one through the ups and downs of pregnancy. Hopefully, after reading this book, you’ll have a little more insight into what actually happens when it’s time to meet your baby.
“The New Father” by Armin A. Brott
This book focuses entirely on the first year of parenthood. Each chapter explores each month of the first year as the child grows and develops. It also includes new research and information on how to understand what your baby is telling you, the amazing abilities of infants, vaccinations and healthcare, infant massage, the unique and equally important role of moms and dads, fatherhood and technology, and so much more! Plus, it includes special considerations for single dads, same-sex couples, stay-at-home dads, blended families, parenting children with special needs, and other varying populations. There is truly something in this book for everyone.
“Better Dads, Stronger Sons” by Rick Johnson
Many men dream of the day that they have their own son, and the little moments such as teaching him to play baseball, ride a bike, or spend weekends together. This book builds upon the foundational idea that there is truly no greater honor, joy, or privilege than being a father. It examines father-son relationships, and how to navigate them with compassion, character, and strength.
“Be The Dad She Needs You to Be” by Kevin Leman
On the other hand, little girls need their fathers just as much as boys do. In fact, many young women grow up to attest to the hurt that accompanied absent or abusive fathers. Fortunately, research recognizes and values the role of fathers, as does the author of this particular book. Dr. Kevin Leman writes about “The Indelible Imprint a Father Leaves on His Daughter’s Life,” and speaks to the importance of a dad’s role in child development.
“The Dad’s Edge” by Larry Hagner
This moving book, filled with inspiring stories and practical tips, explores nine simple ways to have “unlimited patience, improved relationships, and positive lasting memories.” With a focus on better communication and connection with your kids, this book explores how all of the relationships in your life are interconnected and affect the way that you parent. This is a great, all-around book for multiple areas of your life as a father.
Here at the Children’s Bureau, we celebrate dads – and we believe in you! We hope that these preparing for fatherhood books help you to grow and truly be the best dad that you can be. As you enter into this new season of your life, walk with confidence, take in the little moments, make memories, make mistakes, and learn all that you can. For more parenting resources, visit our website or if you live in Orange County, California, check out our Dads Matter program.