I remember when Amanda first told me we were expecting, I was first elated, then promptly proceeded to panic. I knew I wasn’t ready to be a father. I remember leaving the hospital with Scarlette thinking,

“Is this real? Are they really planning on giving us this little life?

Don’t they know I killed the home economics baby?”

Despite my inadequacies I found solace in the words of John Green when he said “The nature of impending fatherhood is that you are doing something that you’re unqualified to do, and then you become qualified while doing it.”

I have only been a father for a little over two years and as much as I HATE unsolicited advice below are five fathering tips that you may (or may not) find useful. If you’re a seasoned father you will greet these tips with fondness; and if you are new…welcome. We all started at the same place.

1. Help Mom Whenever You Can

““Just do the dirty work, man. You gotta do the diapers, you gotta do the middle of the night thing. I mean, your wife — a human being will exit your wife, so she’s done enough. Just change the diapers and do all that stuff.”- Ryan Reynolds

2. Educational Electronics Are Your Friend

We try and limit Scarlette’s exposure to Television, but I will gladly let her play with the iPad for couple of hours. Fisher-Price has a collection of educational games which have single-handedly taught Scarlette her numbers, animals, and colors

3. If Something Isn’t Working, Change It

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. -Largely credited to Albert Einstein

Every child is different and nothing will work on every child. I often joke with Amanda that “We will just keep guessing until we get this right.”

4. Wait 20 Years Before Writing “The Book On Fatherhood.” (Says The Man Writing A Blog With 5 Fathering Tips)

College freshman aren’t professors, medical students are not doctors, white belts don’t teach classes, and fathers with two-year-olds are not the ultimate source for parenting advice. If you wait until your child has moved out at least you will have “completed” the parenting process (though we all know that job is never truly done) and can give a full account of your experiences.

5. Bribery Is Also Your Friend.

I’ve always preferred positive reinforcement to physical discipline, not just with my daughter but in my own life as well. If you threaten me you can expect ZERO results, if you offer me a reward I will exceed your expectations. While there is a time and place for both techniques I tend to lean toward bribery with Scarlette….there is literally nothing that girl won’t do for “chippies”.

-David James Fox