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The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the Toddler Years Paperback – 12 Jan 1998
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"Brott writes honestly and earnestly. His wry sense of humor will be a relief to hassled parents." - Time
About the Author
Armin A. Brott has written on fatherhood for The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, The Washington Post, American Baby, and Parenting. Host of a weekly radio show on parenting, he lives in Berkeley, California.
Top customer reviews
I actually gave the book to my husband for father's day, but have been snatching it from him to read myself. We have several friends who are about to have new babies -- I'm planning to give them copies of the author's book covering the first year as shower gifts.
For nineteen months I've been reading about parenthood and pointing out this and that passage in some parenting book to my husband. In every case, the book spoke about the mother's role, but the father was at best a shadowy figure who might help out once in a while. Given that my husband and I have had the pleasure of fully co-parenting, we were delighted to find a book focused on being a hands-on dad.
Again, bravo to the author for a fine success.
Fathering Your Toddler is very similar to New Father. It breaks down each stage in exactly the same format. Anyone who has read the previous work in the series will find themselves able to flow into this one seamlessly. The breakdown is written by a man for men, it is in bite-size chunks and covers practical issues as well as introducing the more complex emotional issues in a very understandable way.
There are some cultural biases in Brott's writing. Occasionally there are Americanisms that just do not cross to other cultures such as around social and sporting pastimes. Sometimes this manifests in his expectation of child development. Potty training in the US seems to be months behind other cultures for instance whereas language use is perhaps a bit ahead. In a very multi-national and multi-cultural environment, tracked with Brott's expectations. Inevitably some points of development will vary from child to child and generally it is really useful to have an expectation of what kinds of development happen in a level of detail that is both understandable and useful.
Brott is pertty rigorous in his assessment, not letting his own views or expereince dominate. A clear example where he fails to keep himself out of the way is in describing a toddler's potential annoyance at not having what they say repeated back to them. That's not science just an unusual subjective opinion. It stands out because Brott is so level headed and rationalist about everything else.
As well as child development, this book also is about parental development. It is about what to think of when fathering. Some things are not natural. It takes learning to develop skills. Brott offers some advice but what is most useful is his laying out what some of the issues are so they can be thought about. Typically Brott offers pros and cons to help with decision making.
Parental development is also about developing as a parent. It is incredible how being a father makes for a better man, practising otherwise unutilised skills. The pointers about what the mother and father are going through is really helpful though of course Brott's cultural bias in assuming the poor put upon mother and the emotionally limited father colours his worldview.
During the toddler years some practical things happen and Brott lays out a decent guide. Preschooling is of course different in different places but things like considering a second child are universal. Preparing the toddler for the arrival of a new baby is very exciting, Brott introduces the issue sensibly without presuming to offer solutions.
Of course Brott has his own agenda in putting forth the idea that fatherhood is necessary and wonderful. He is right so his agenda should be celebrated. Brott's line about not being mummy's little helper is a breathtaking one and really helpful during those arguments about why things have to be done her way.
Where Toddler falls down a little compared to New Father is in the additional experience the father has. Fathers who have been through the first year are already better equipped to deal with what's coming next so the value in Brott's work is slightly less. The individual range of development is much greater in the toddler years than in the first year of life so it is not quite so simple as picking up the book for a refresher on what to expect in the next chapter.
There is nothing else available for fathers that comes close to the New Father series. It is a really helpful tool for the engaged dad trying to make the best for his children. As a companion piece to a couple of years of joy, it is a wonderful reminder of how to be as active and ready as possible to be the best dad a toddler can have.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
My favorite part - that I have been using regularly - is recording myself reading children’s books to my kids. As I travel a lot for business, this was a tip recommended to me. And the best part that he recommended was to say “I love you” at the end of the video - which I did. It is powerful, and my wife sends me video clips of the kids (2 now) huddled around the book I’m reading looking at the screen. I can’t wait to have my kids watch this for years on end. These kinds of things you leverage to do the best you can as an entrepreneur and a father. If you want to take a more educated and active role on being a good father - invest some time and read this book.