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15 books to help dads learn about fatherhood

This Father's Day, we ask experts to share books that all fathers should be reading 

There has been a positive shift in how we look at fathers' role in child-rearing
There has been a positive shift in how we look at fathers' role in child-rearing (Tatiana Syrikova (Pexels))

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Recently Parag Agarwal, CEO of Twitter, chose to avail a full 3-month paternity leave, highlighting the importance of dads spending time with their newborns and perhaps bringing a shift in how we look at fathers' role in child-rearing. With parenting roles changing, fathers are taking the lead in raising their children, making it pertinent to have resources for them to fall back on. This Father's Day, in honour of dads taking the lead in parenting, we list out books that these new-age dads can refer to for advice on parenting. 

Dr Meghna Singhal (NIMHANS), an internationally-certified positive parenting coach 

Fathers have always been playing the role of breadwinners for their families. However, today fathers are also stepping into a role traditionally ascribed to women- parenting. New-age fathers increasingly realise the importance of developing a connection with their children, fuelled by neuroscience research which shows how paternal instinct is as real as maternal instinct (e.g. research shows that men have a hormonal response to becoming fathers- increased oxytocin, estrogen, and prolactin!)

1. The Expectant Dad's Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know by Rob Kemp

This book is the perfect guide for new, expecting dads to prepare them for the realities of fatherhood. It has accounts of gynaecologists, midwives and psychologists to help the new-age father deal with what pregnancy and fatherhood bring and what they can do for the baby every single day. 

2. Diaper Dude: The Ultimate Dad's Guide to Surviving the First Two Years by Chris Pegula and Frank Meyer

 For all those expecting dads who believe that their life will change drastically with fatherhood, this book reassures you that it won't and throws light on the first two years of your child's growth. It's an easy read and filled with useful information.

3. Dad's the Word: The Perils and Pleasures of Fatherhood by Soumya Bhattacharya

 When most books cover the mother's perspective on parenting, this book, authored by an Indian dad, sheds light on the father's perspective. A firsthand account from a 21st-century father, it talks about the pleasures and perils of being a dad in today's day and age.

4. One-Minute Super Dad: 99 Magic Moments to Raise Amazing Children by Dr Prashant Jindal:

Filled with interviews, real-life experiences and research, this book focuses on how to bond with your child and set them up for happiness and success for a lifetime. It has simple techniques that one can use on a day-to-day basis.

5. 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don't Do by Amy Morin

 This book is written by an expert in family and teen therapy and hence makes for a compelling read. The book draws on her experiences and insights and has case studies, strategies, and exercises that can help children of all ages to become healthy and strong adults. 

Dr Debmita Dutta, Parenting Consultant

Dads today are very involved in every aspect of their child's life. I have enthusiastic fathers attending my prenatal classes and taking notes. And my parenting workshops are full of fathers eager to discover what else they can do to be better dads. They are there, of course, so they can give their children a better upbringing. But they are also there because they want to be more, feel more, and live more. And yes, they get all that when they get involved in parenting. When dads care for their babies – they become more observant, they listen more and so on. This percolates into every aspect of their life and helps them dive deeper into experiences and live more mindfully.

1. Dr Spock's Baby And Childcare

A classic that has been read all over the world, this book is customised and contextualised for Indian parents.It asks pertinent questions about whether or not certain traditions are to be followed and aids parents in making the right decisions.This book is to prepare the dad to receive their baby and know what to do when the baby arrives. 

2. No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind by Daniel J Seigel and Tina Payne Bryson

 This book will help a dad understand the true meaning of discipline.It helps one tackle the ultimate challenge in parenting - discipline. With fascinating insights, this book provides fathers with a roadmap to dealing with tensions and tantrums with compassion and patience. 

3. What To Do If Your Child Is A Picky Eater? by Dr Debmita Dutta

Throwing a fuss about food and unhealthy food habits are some of the biggest problems that most parents face in the early years of bringing up their child. Instead of being riddled with anxiety, refer to this book to get some handy tips for making your child a healthy eater. 

4. What to Expect: The Toddler Years 2nd Edition by Heidi Murkoff

 A handy guide into the dreadful toddler years, this book addresses some of the most important issues such as potty training, sleep schedules, speech, talking,  learning, thinking, etc. This book is a comprehensive guide to keeping your child safe and healthy.

Also read: Raising a perfect parent in the age of Instagram

5. How to Talk so Teens will Listen & Listen so Teens will Talk by Adele Faber

The stormy years of adolescence are difficult for most dads and parents, in general. This book has practical advice and guidelines to manage those years successfully and forge a bond with your teenager in a way that you will gain their trust. 

Hirak Patel, Counselling Psychologist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund
As society has evolved and changed, we see changes in different domains. Fatherhood is a significant period of transition for any person responsible for the upbringing of children. As this is a huge responsibility, it will bring about many changes in the person's life. Also, today the roles of fathers are very different from what they were in the previous generations. From providing emotional and financial support to their families, their roles have evolved considerably, especially in the last decade. 

Today, fathers play a vital role in the upbringing of a child. Whether it is taking responsibility for feeding and changing their diapers or playing with them, the role of mothers and fathers have begun to overlap. 

1. The Expectant Father: The Ultimate Guide for Dads-to-Be by Armin A. Brott 

This book is a hit with millions of dads across the globe and is authored by an expert on fatherhood. The book gives insight into what happens in each month of pregnancy, what goes on with the mother, the baby and also, the dad himself. There are special sections on delivery day and what happens next, too. 

2. Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads by Gary Greenberg and Jeannie Hayden

This book has plenty of tips and tricks for navigating the first year of fatherhood. From engaging and playing with the baby to managing work and night duty, diaper changes, and babyproofing, this is a handy guide for new dads. 

3. The Baby Owner's Manual: Operating Instructions, Trouble-Shooting Tips, and Advice on First-Year Maintenance by Louis Borgenicht M.D. and Joe Borgenicht

As interesting as the title is, the book is even more so. Filled with schematic diagrams and targeted at nerdy fathers, the book gives insight into crucial factors that a dad needs to know post the birth of the child: swaddling, bottle-feeding, putting the baby to bed, etc. 

4. Man Vs. Child: One Dad's Guide to the Weirdness of Parenting by Doug Moe

A hilarious take on parenting, this book covers the journey of fatherhood from the birth of the baby to the adolescent years. There are survival lessons, quizzes, and a lot of tips dished out in a witty manner to prepare the dad for the 21st-century child. 

5. Dad's Playbook: Wisdom for Fathers from the Greatest Coaches of All Time by Tom Limber

 For the dads looking to be inspired, this book is perfect. Packed with quotes from some of the greatest coaches in sports history, the author applies the wisdom to the game of fatherhood. 

Also read: Five books that delve into the intricacies of motherhood





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