Tips for Dads
Tips for All Fathers
The American economy may be rebounding in some areas, but many people
still are compelled to find unique ways to provide for their families
and take care of their children in a job market that remains
difficult. One solution that is becoming increasingly popular is for
the father to stay at home and act as the primary caregiver to
children, while the other parent is the principal breadwinner. Hogan
Hilling, the author of The Man Who Would Be Dad and "an elder
statesmen of the at-home dad movement" (Brian Reid, The Washington
Post), provides tips to new stay-at home fathers on how to adjust to
their new job.
He tells the story of how he became the father he is today.
Written in lyrical vignettes, he passes along wisdom and humor in the
stories he tells about being a stay-at-home father for his three
sons, one of whom is severely handicapped. He is completely genuine
in his desire to be the best dad he can be and to help other dads
achieve this too. Here are tips from the newly released paperback
edition of his book, for both parents when one of them becomes a
- Accept different parenting styles and ways of completing
tasks. "When Im caring for the kids or responsible for
cleaning the house, I do everything as I do them. When Tinas
the parent in charge, she does things her way, as a mom. We show
respect for the way each of us parents our boys."
- Dont undermine each other with insults or corrections.
"Were learning to exercise some self control. We work hard
to keep from making backhanded comments that undermine each other.
It takes practice and kindness. Whenever one of us sees fit to
offer some advice to the other, we accept what the other has to
say as constructive criticism instead of condemnation."
- Be aware of what you will be gaining and giving up by becoming
a stay-at-home dad. "Yes, its tough to watch other fathers
move up the corporate ladder and earn those big pay increases,
awards, and promotions. The quality of our life as a family was
more important than the quality of our familys lifestyle. I
dont feel any sacrifice. Ive gained much more than I
ever gave up."
- Being a full-time caretaker is a job, not a breeze. "In
between my daily duties like bathing, feeding, and dressing the
boys, cleaning the house, grocery shopping, and my wifes
honey-do list, finding and making time to spend with my kids is
just as challenging for me as it would be for any father working
outside the home."
- Find a support group, but dont worry if you are the only
dad in a room full of mothers. "As much as I wanted to be part of
the group and the moms wanted to accept the idea of having a
father in the group, the fact that I was a father and they were
moms made things a little uneasy for everyone in the beginning.
Neither the moms nor I knew what to say or how to act toward each
other, which got all of us started on the wrong foot. After a
while, I stopped making an issue of the fact that I was the only
dad in the play group and just concentrated on having fun and
being a parent. Then I became more comfortable, less inhibited.
Eventually, my perseverance and new attitude paid off."
Source: Author Hogan Hilling is the founder
of Proud Dads Inc., a national consulting firm that sets up and
conducts fathering programs for hospitals and other family-oriented
organizations and business. In 1995, he received the California
Courage to Care Award and the Parents Parent of the Year Award.
Hogan has appeared on several national television and radio talk
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