What Not To Say To A New Dad

Welcoming a baby into the world can be one of the most exciting times in a person's life. It's also extremely scary. For a first-time dad, there are so many different responsibilities, hopes, and fears that come along with a new baby. Yet, despite the myriad different feelings you may have, your baby will want to bond with their dad immediately (via Raising Children Network). Even if you feel that you're 100% ready to have a new baby, the fears and pressure can sneak up on you. Amazing dads can have a huge impact on their child's life, and you want to be there for your baby no matter how many anxieties may be popping up.

When it comes to how a new father will be feeling right after the birth, child psychiatrist and director of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, Dr. Joshua Sparrow, told Fatherly to "expect a range of conflicting emotions." If someone you know has just become a first-time dad, you may be unsure of how to help or what exactly he needs to hear. Luckily, there are some things you can tell him that are always helpful, as well as some statements you should never say.

What to avoid saying

When it comes to talking to a new dad, don't necessarily trust your instincts. What you think may be the right thing to say may be more harmful than helpful. To start, don't tell the new dad anything he needs to do or give unsolicited advice (via Fatherly). If you're a parent already, he'll likely come to you if he needs help. If you aren't a parent, he'll probably think you don't know what you're talking about, so it's best to avoid it either way.

Avoid telling the new father that things are going to get worse (via Best Life). In fact, it's safe to say you should avoid telling anyone that. Whether he's having a tough time with a fussy baby or is a natural when it comes to adjusting to fatherhood, it's best not to say anything like "just wait for the terrible twos." By the same token, don't tell them how fast this stage goes by or to enjoy it while he can. This puts unnecessary pressure on a moment he needs to focus on navigating. Finally, never, ever ask him about future children during this time. Any "are you going to have another?" questions should either be postponed until the baby is much older or avoided altogether.

Ways to be encouraging

Just because there's a long list of no-nos when it comes to talking to a new dad doesn't mean that there's no way to be helpful and supportive. A great way to help is likely something that will come naturally to you: tell him how adorable the baby is (via Mom). Of course, the new dad definitely knows his baby is a cutie, but it never gets old hearing it. If possible, you should also offer to bring food over or even lend an extra hand. It can be extremely helpful just knowing that someone is available to help if things get overwhelming.  

If you're a parent yourself, tell him something you love about parenthood (via Best Life). It's scary to be totally responsible for another person's health and happiness, and sometimes, a new dad's fears can overpower his ability to enjoy the moment. Reminding him of the little things that make being a father so incredible and that there are amazing moments with his little one ahead of him is a great way to ground him in the moment and keep him in good spirits. No matter what you decide to say to a new father, be sure to let him know that he's doing a great job and that his best is more than good enough for his little one. While unsolicited advice is generally a bad idea, support is always the opposite. Sometimes some encouragement like this can go a long way.