A special book for a special dad.
June 15, 2014 6:43 AM   Subscribe

We are expecting our first child and I am an excited and joyful father to be. I would like a book or a pair of books on pregnancy and child rearing with special conditions.

Before I met my wife, I was convinced I would not be a father. I have very much changed my mind and I am very much looking forward to our family growing. However, I did not grow up with any admirable male presences and I was never around babies, small children or pregnant women. I am not used to family.

My wife is currently educating herself on pregnancy and what will be happening to her. I would like something to read on what to expect during the pregnancy on my end and how I can be the most helpful and supportive.

I would also like something to read on how to be a dad. I am not looking for something gender essentialist. I am just aware that I am going to be Dad and not a gender neutral co-parent and I do not know what that means. It would be especially great to have a section on effective discipline, as my own experience with it revolved around screaming and hitting. I need to know what to do instead of following my instincts.

Finally, neither I nor my wife are at all spiritual or religious, so a book written for that kind of perspective will not help. We are urban, liberal, atheist, educated, feminist, etcetera. so something understanding and catered to that mindset is what I am looking for. As science backed as possible, please.

Thank you in advance.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (10 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
I highly recommend Be Prepared.
posted by mcstayinskool at 6:57 AM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Congratulations! I always recommend The Expectant Father and The New Father by Armin Brott. Happy Father's Day!
posted by Rock Steady at 6:57 AM on June 15, 2014

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk has been in print for decades for very good reason; same with The Father's Almanac (not quite as good as The Mother's Almanac; still worth a look).

If you want something to browse on-line, ahaparenting.com has really good advice on positive discipline.
posted by kmennie at 7:00 AM on June 15, 2014

I am just aware that I am going to be Dad and not a gender neutral co-parent and I do not know what that means

Congrats! I don't have a book recommendation, but I just wanted to say don't let this bother you. None of us know what being a dad means, until we are a dad.
posted by COD at 7:11 AM on June 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

I (mom) really liked The Expectant Father and got a copy for my husband. For post-pregnancy, I loved Baby Meets World: Suck Smile Touch Toddle, written by a dad, following the first year of a baby's development. I have also heard great things about 123 Magic for a good method of discipline for school-age kids. Congratulations!
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 8:07 AM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

My husband sounds just like you and really liked The Dad Factor by Richard Fletcher. Congrats!
posted by jrobin276 at 2:14 PM on June 15, 2014

I am a mama, but like you came into the role after a lifetime of thinking it wouldn't happen. It is The Best Thing Ever. I am also urban, liberal, atheist, educated, feminist, etcetera. I read a zillion books on the subject, and here are several favorites:

The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us About the Mind
by Alison Gopnik [fascinating!]

What's Going on in There? : How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life
by Lise Eliot

Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn--and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less [not as dorky as the cover would have you think]
by Roberta Michnick Golinkoff

Good Music, Brighter Children: Simple and Practical Ideas to Help Transform Your Child's Life Through the Power of Music [wow!]
by Sharlene Habermeyer

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder
by Richard Louv

Your One-Year-Old: The Fun-Loving, Fussy 12-To 24-Month-Old
by Louise Bates Ames [This whole series is amazing, despite its apparent sexism.]

What to Expect When Your Wife Is Expanding: A Reassuring Month-by-Month Guide for the Father-to-Be, Whether He Wants Advice or Not
by Thomas Hill [Again, the series is a wonderful resource.]

The Baby Owner's Manual: Operating Instructions, Trouble-Shooting Tips, and Advice on First-Year Maintenance
by Louis Borgenicht M.D. [funny and light, but handy too]

The Girlfriends' Guide to Toddlers
by Vicki Iovine [Absolutely hilarious!]

The Discipline Book: How to Have a Better-Behaved Child From Birth to Age Ten
by Martha Sears

Liberated Parents, Liberated Children: Your Guide to a Happier Family Paperback
by Adele Faber

Between Parent and Child: The Bestselling Classic That Revolutionized Parent-Child Communication
by Dr. Haim G. Ginott

Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out
by Jack Petrash [for later]

The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night
by Elizabeth Pantley [for now]

Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason
by Alfie Kohn

Playful Parenting Paperback
by Lawrence J. Cohen

The Read-Aloud Handbook: Seventh Edition
by Jim Trelease [Don't let the title fool you; this is an amazing book, worth reading before baby is born]
posted by Capri at 2:24 PM on June 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

For pregnancy & birth: The Birth Partner is excellent.

For parenting: Parenting from the Inside Out is especially useful for people who choose to parent in a more mindful way than they were parented.
posted by judith at 3:30 PM on June 15, 2014

Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child has a chapter just for dads (though it's all interesting and useful). My husband and I are just starting And Baby Makes Three which we've liked so far. In particular, it's nice to be addressed as not just a parent but as adults who happen to be parents. Pretty much, Gottman is amazing.
posted by adorap0621 at 4:03 PM on June 15, 2014

Bit out of left field, this, but this is a great book for capturing the feel of what it's like to hang out with a small child: Twenty Days with Julian and Little Bunny, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Yes, that Hawthorne.
posted by Diablevert at 11:33 AM on June 16, 2014

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