The 10 Best Parenting Books For Dads

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This wiki has been updated 32 times since it was first published in February of 2017. There's a little secret people forget to tell dads: They're allowed to read parenting books, too, even though they aren't the ones delivering the baby. From humorous to moving, we found a ton of editions for new and expectant fathers that will make the dizzying process of having and raising a child a bit less scary, and maybe even get you excited about it, rather than fearful. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. The Expectant Father

2. The Dad's Edge

3. Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters

Editor's Notes

March 02, 2019:

It is no secret that being a parent is one of the hardest things you can do in life. At the same time, it is also probably the single most rewarding thing too. While there is no instruction manual on how to be a great dad, many of the books on this list come very close. The type of advice you are looking for will most likely be the deciding factor in which of these you choose, though in all likelihood, you should probably read more than one. If you are concerned about being the type of father than a son grows up idolizing and privately insecure on your ability to do so, Better Dads, Stronger Sons is for you. It should also help you create a stronger relationship with your male progeny that can withstand all the strains that it is bound to encounter. Stronger Fathers, Stronger Daughters runs along many of the same types of concepts, but with a twist for men who are raising a girl. If you are stressing out about a little bundle of joy on the horizon or one that has just recently arrived, The Expectant Father, Be Prepared, The New Father, You're Gonna Be a Dad!, and The New Dad's Survival Guide are excellent reads that can make your new reality a little less daunting. Those who just need a bit of inspiration to refuel their tanks should take a look at Dad's Playbook.

4. Be Prepared

5. Better Dads, Stronger Sons

6. Calm the F*ck Down

7. The New Father

8. Dad's Playbook

9. Dude, You're Gonna Be a Dad!

10. The New Dad's Survival Guide

Why Expecting Dads Should Read Parenting Books

The reality is that nobody can ever be completely prepared for parenthood.

When you and your partner are expecting, there are so many things to do. Between decking out the nursery with the best crib, toys, and diaper caddies, and making arrangements with work regarding paternity or maternity leave, you might think you don't have time to read parenting books. But the reality is that, once the baby arrives, you probably won't find a spare moment to scan even one single page. Someone will always be on feeding or cleanup duty, and if you do find a minute to relax, you'll want to use that to snooze considering how much sleep new parents lose.

Reading books about parenting also shows your expecting partner that you are just as devoted to parenthood as she is. It's common for mothers to feel as if they're carrying all of the burden — literally and figuratively — when it comes to having children. It's their bodies that undergo tremendous changes during pregnancy, from morning sickness and weight gain to hormonal mood swings. And, it's the woman who goes through the rather painful experience of childbirth. Let's not forget that pregnant women cannot drink alcohol or eat certain foods while they're carrying, too. But you can show that you're willing to make an effort, too, by doing your research and reading parenting books.

The reality is that nobody can ever be completely prepared for parenthood. But, gathering as much information as you can before your new family member arrives will help you feel calmer about this major change. You will likely need to refer back to your books throughout your child's infancy, toddler years, and even childhood. But having a general knowledge of how to handle some situations — or knowing exactly which book and which chapter to turn to — will make you feel less panicked when issues arise. It's much easier to simply refresh yourself on a topic when you're in the middle of a parenting crisis than to have to learn it anew, so read parenting books before the baby gets here.

Ways To Support Your Pregnant Partner

Since fathers don't carry the embryo in their body, they can feel at a loss for how they can possibly do as much work during the pregnancy as their partners. Once the baby arrives, dads have the opportunity to develop that unique and important playful dynamic between father and child, but before that, they can feel left out and rather useless. But there are actually plenty of ways expecting dads can support their partners, and help each trimester go a bit smoother. For starters, the old rules regarding who does which chores should go out the window. Growing a baby inside of her is exhausting on a mother, so dads can help by picking up extra responsibilities around the house when mom needs to rest. Doing most of the cooking will go a long way, too.

You don't even need to suggest solutions or try to problem-solve.

More than just her belly is changing during pregnancy; a woman's feet go through a transformation, too. That's why your partner will appreciate frequent foot massages throughout her term. In fact, pregnancy puts quite a bit of stress on most of a woman's body, so drawing your partner a bath, and filling it with therapeutic salts and bombs will earn you a husband of the year award. Another way you can improve your partner's comfort is by investing in tons of pillows — it becomes harder for a pregnant woman to find a comfortable sleeping position with each passing month, but having lots of pillows to prop her up is helpful.

Emotional support is just as important as any practical task you might do. Pregnant women experience a whirlwind of emotions. They deal with body image issues as their entire figure changes into something they don't recognize. They don't sleep well. They worry about their parenting abilities. They're always fatigued, and that affects their performance at work and in other areas. Lending a listening ear when your partner vents about these concerns is so valuable. You don't even need to suggest solutions or try to problem-solve. Just listen, and she'll be very appreciative.

Surprising Ways Fatherhood Changes You

If you're worried that fatherhood will change you, well, first off, it will, in fact, alter the way your brain works. But, it won't bother you — in fact, you'll probably love it. Becoming responsible for another human being's physical and emotional wellness is bound to affect a man. One instant change you'll notice is that you become far more affectionate. Any embarrassment surrounding public displays of affection evaporates when you have your own adorable offspring asking for a hug and a kiss. Most fathers notice that this new, more affectionate personality extends to other relationships — like those with friends and other family members.

But, it won't bother you — in fact, you'll probably love it.

While males are more prone to thrill-seeking and daring behaviors, that may also decrease once a man becomes a father. Suddenly, the potential consequences of risky behavior change from, "I could die" to "My child could lose a caretaker." Not only are fathers worried about their own safety, so they can stick around and be life-long providers for their children, but they also consider themselves role models. Dads don't want their children following in their footsteps in dangerous activities. Overall, having a child makes a man less willing to put himself in harm's way.

Any delusions of being cool, suave, or slick go out the window, too. When a man has a child, he has to be willing to wear a diaper as a hat just to make his little one laugh. And as for fashionable, well, that goes, too. Dads need diaper bags, and clothes they don't mind getting spit-up or crayon on. But it's all worth it to make a son or daughter smile, and to provide them with a sense of protection. When a man becomes a dad, he stops living just for himself which, while a huge responsibility, is also immensely rewarding.

Brett Dvoretz
Last updated by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as in front of a laptop screen, Brett can either be found hacking away furiously at the keyboard or, perhaps, enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He has been a professional chef, a dog trainer, and a travel correspondent for a well-known Southeast Asian guidebook. He also holds a business degree and has spent more time than he cares to admit in boring office jobs. He has an odd obsession for playing with the latest gadgets and working on motorcycles and old Jeeps. His expertise, honed over years of experience, is in the areas of computers, electronics, travel gear, pet products, and kitchen, office and automotive equipment.

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