A: A lot of guys don’t realize how important they are to their children and how much influence they have over how the kids turn out. The short version is that kids whose dads are involved and spend time with them are smarter, happier, healthier, do better in school, have more friends, end up getting better jobs and making more money, are less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, less likely to get involved in crime or become teen parents. The evidence is overwhelming. This isn’t to say, though, that your child is doomed if your husband doesn’t step in. The point is that he can make a big difference.

Another thing to look at is why he’s so reluctant. Is he worried that his boss or coworkers will make fun of him or deny him a promotion if he puts family first? Does he have a lot of friends who don’t have children who might be putting pressure on him to focus on earning money? Did he grow up in a “traditional” home and view parenting as women’s work? Is he afraid to get involved because he’s embarrassed that he doesn’t know what to do?

You should also consider whether you might be subtly discouraging him by telling him that things have to be done a certain way (your way) instead of letting him learn his own lessons. It’s important to figure out what’s at the root of the problem. The next step would be to gently reeducate him.

At the risk of sounding commercial, you might want to pick up a copy of my book, “The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year.” There’s a ton of information and support in there for guys just like your husband who are coming into parenting feeling a little unsteady and insecure.

If none of this works, the two of you should try some counseling. The fact that you’re committed to finding solutions will really help.

Armin Brott’s most recent books are “The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year, Second Edition” and “Father for Life: A Journey of Joy, Challenge, and Change.”

You can reach him through his Web site at www.mrdad.com.


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