Adjusting to the Challenge of Fatherhood

Do you have any suggestions for a new dad struggling to get used to the lifestyle changes that accompany the birth of an infant? I love our child very much, but whenever my wife asks me to help with the baby I become frustrated and angry, especially when I'm in the middle of something else. I know I'm being selfish, but how do I overcome it?

Take heart – it’s common for new dads to experience some difficulty adjusting to a new baby. Some men feel a bit “left out” when they discover that all of their spouse’s time and energy is being directed toward the child. What’s more, some guys may find it hard to relate to an infant. It’s been shown that many men have an easier time getting close to older children with whom they can interact physically. The good news is that you realize what you’re up against. You understand that you have to find a way to put the needs of the baby above your own. Your infant is totally dependent upon you and your wife right now. As you’re learning, the job of a parent involves a great deal of patience and self-sacrifice.

It’s important that you express your feelings of frustration to your wife. If you’ve been feeling lonely or ignored since the baby arrived, say so. Let her know exactly what’s going through your mind. Naturally, most of her time and attention has to go toward the child for the time being – that’s a fact of life, and you need to adjust to it. But it’s also crucial for new parents to make sure that their “couple” relationship doesn’t suffer unnecessarily. It’s especially important to establish a regular date night, even with a newborn at home. This isn’t as difficult as it sounds – all you have to do is ask a friend or relative to watch the baby for a few hours each week. It will go a long way toward keeping your marriage healthy.

That said, it’s only fair to add that we’re a bit concerned about your use of the word “angry” to describe your state of mind. If you’ve been feeling true anger toward the baby, there may be some deeper issues that you need to deal with. If so, we’d like to suggest that you call us. Our licensed therapists would be more than happy to discuss your situation with you over the phone.


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Survival Tips for New Dads

You’ve Got This

The New Dad’s Playbook

The Juggling Act

Promise Keepers

National Center for Fathering

New Dad

Defining ‘Successful Parenting’

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