Increasing Competence

I’m a new father. I haven’t had much experience with infants and I want to be involved in my child’s care, but every time I try to pick her up, she cries. How can I feel more competent and help soothe my child so she’s more comfortable when I take care of her?

Few things can make a man feel less like a man than feeling like an incompetent parent. And nothing can make a man feel more incompetent than a baby. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to overcome these feelings.

First of all, let’s start with what NOT to do: Do not hand your daughter off to your wife. She may be able to get her to stop crying a little quicker than you do, but the truth is that whatever your wife knows about children, she learned by doing–just like anything else. And the way you’re going to get better is by doing things, too. Research shows that lack of opportunity may be one of the biggest obstacles to fathers’ feeling more comfortable with their children. In other words, the more time you spend with your child, the more competent you’ll feel as a parent.
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