What help should we be offering new dads?
This question has intrigued me for the last 5 years.
There is a clear structure in place to help the mums mentally adapt to their new life. They receive 9 months maternity leave and then a gradual integration with government backed returner programmes. And rightly so, for the obvious reasons of baby wellbeing and workplace equality and opportunities.
However, there is absolutely nothing in place for the dads. Other than the statutory 2 weeks paternity leave, which is little more than a period of sleepless nights and general chaos.
Yes, the UK period of 2 weeks is better than other countries such as the US, but compared to Sweden, where parents of both sexes are entitled to 16 months of paid parental leave at 80% of their salary (capped), we have a long way to go.
The 2015 study by the National Childbirth Trust showed that 38% of new dads have concerns about their mental health. No doubt, this figure has increased now in 2021.
My vision is that ALL employers put a programme
in place for ALL their first-time dads.
- This will help dads manage the shift in mindset
- Make dads feel valued and understood
- Increase their productivity
- Increase their focus
- Improve their mental health
Do you remember what it was like when you first became a parent?
That moment is arguably the pinnacle moment in any man’s life. You are no longer just a son, you’re the daddy, the creator of life, the leading male role model for a little person in this world. You now have someone to guide, nurture, protect, empower and develop.
What a huge responsibility!
After your 2 weeks paid leave, you head back to work to get on with your day job.
Everyone asks how you’re doing…
You tell them, “I’m happy, excited, a bit tired” and a range of other emotions which equate to the classic male response of,
Guys are very proud – I get it. This is about offering needed support during a crucial period of a man’s life when they are experiencing huge changes. Support which will benefit the mums and babies around them.
There needs to be more work done to assist with the mental health of men.
Many of these men are also fathers; becoming overwhelmed; anxious and stressed about the responsibilities of fatherhood.
Some dads search for a new identity in life and step outside of the family setting to regain this element of control.
Other dads come to the realisation that their work-life balance is no longer effective, and they need more flexibility.
They then pursue self-employment, but this doesn’t always give them the security they crave.
It doesn’t have to be like this. You can retain your experienced staff and work with them to create the right balance, so they don’t need to move on.
Modern-day dads are more involved and more stretched than previous generations, that’s why we are struggling to fulfil all the demands.
Dads need to feel valued and understood. This is vitally important for their mental health.
Here are my 5 Tips to Help New Dads in the Workplace:
- Introduce a mentoring scheme; for existing dads to help new dads. Someone to sound ideas off, vent frustrations and offer that much needed support and advice.
- Provide information around mental health of new dads and the warning signs. I recommend reading the ‘Are you feeling more anxious since becoming a dad?’ blog on this website.
- Take a flexible approach to their workload and hours for the first 3 months.
- Offer coaching support to improve productivity and focus.
- Educate around the shift in mindset when entering fatherhood.
What a great way to support your staff!
The MINDSET DAD 30 DAY SWITCH book is like having a coach walk alongside you during the early stages of fatherhood.
It’s a tool to educate, support and coach new dads using proven techniques backed up by psychological research and neuroscience.
QUESTIONS FOR YOU…
I’m also really interested to know, what did your employer do to help you when you first became a father?
What do you do now as a boss to help your employees?
What would you have really liked to have received from your boss in terms of help?
I would love to know your thoughts and thanks for reading.