What to Do If Your Partner Isn't Prepared to Be a Father

What to Do If Your Partner Isn't Prepared to Be a Father
María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Not everyone in the world is prepared to be a father. Some people even say there should be a “test” to know who is truly equipped to become a parent.

In any case, new parents sometimes feel they haven’t had enough preparation once they’re finally holding a baby in their arms.

When a baby comes into the world, parents’ lives change completely. Caring for the child can be a truly stressful responsibility. This is especially true if the baby is born premature or experiences health problems during infancy.

There are also parents who, as their children grow up, don’t know how to play with them, how to educate them, or how to talk to them.

Child-rearing can feel like a lot to manage when parents feel they haven’t had adequate preparation.

Some of these fathers and mothers may have always wanted to have children. However, experiencing the reality of parenting makes them change their minds.

This feeling can make parents feel completely unprepared for the wonderful responsibility of being a parent. While it’s true that parenthood will always involve exhaustion and worry, it’s also immensely gratifying.

What might really be happening?

If you notice your partner isn’t enjoying raising your children, it’s very likely that you’ll also experience unhappy feelings that make you feel lower than normal.

Nobody likes to realize that being a father or mother “isn’t their thing.” This is daunting because your children are totally reliant on you in order to grow and develop.

A father isn’t just someone who gives life; that would be too easy. A father is someone who gives love.

–Denis Lord

If you feel your partner is stressing out all the time, feels apathy, irritability, and a lack of motivation, pay attention. It may be that he needs your help.

Some of these feelings are typical signs of depression. They are probably hindering his ability to form an effective bond with his children.

It’s important to recognize these signs in order for you to know if a fellow parent needs help facing up to this stage of life.

What to Do if Your Partner Isn't Prepared to Be a Father

In addition, if your partner believes he is unprepared to be a father, it’s possible that he will become a burden to you. This is because you’ll feel obliged to do all the work yourself for the good of the kids.

You’ll feel unsupported, with a great weight on your back every day. You need to think of ways to help him and to make family life as manageable as possible.

If your partner isn’t prepared to be a father, he may need help and support

Criticism is the last thing that someone who feels unprepared for parenthood needs. They need to realize that they are in fact capable, and that they have the necessary tools and knowledge.

If you’re worried because your partner isn’t ready to be a father, you should give him all your support and understanding. He’ll need it whether he tells you or not.

At the same time, you need to communicate your concerns from a place of empathy and assertiveness.

You can tell him he doesn’t seem like the same person, or that he seems sad or unhappy. Tell him you’ll be by his side to make the family work if he wants to do his part.

What to Do if Your Partner Isn't Prepared to Be a Father

It’s also important to tell him that the children need him. Let him know that he’s one of the most important people in their lives.

He needs to see that they love him above all else. This will help him gain confidence.

A good solution is to create a family action plan. Help him understand what being a parent means, what his new role is, and what is expected of him at any given time.

Make him understand that parenthood is a two-person job. You’re a team, and you have to help each other in order to make things work.

If necessary, you can seek the help of a professional to guide you and offer structured advice. Little by little, he’ll feel more self-esteem and confidence.

He’ll realize he’s capable of fulfilling his responsibilities, and above all, that he can draw on an innate paternal instinct that will allow him to enjoy raising your children together.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.