Advice for soon to be father...


This could get interesting...

Going to be a father for the 1st time and was wondering if you guys/gals had any advice for my wife and I. I grew up doing a lot of outdoor activities, camping and that kind of stuff... Would love that our kid also enjoys the outdoors to some extent. Ultimately the choice is theirs, but i guess we can help guide them a little.

Two areas of concerns
1. Most kids these days are glued to screens and spend very little time playing outdoors...
2 Any suggestions on how to raise them so they are like self dependant... That we can rent a camper van and go for a trip. That the baby/kids dont need so much and can just enjoy life. I dont know how to put it. Hope it came across.



Three criminal heroes

Okay, I have four 32, 30, 27, 19. Your child will be a digital native, meaning they will have access to digital technology from the time they first open their eyes until they close them for the final time. I fact, they will have technology augmentation in the form of implanted devices during their lifetime. It will be as natural to them as clothes are to you. Don’t fight it, engage it. Remember, they are coming into your life, not the other way around. Many couples make the mistake of thinking the relationship with the child is the most important. It is not. Your relationship with your wife is most important and demonstrating what a fantastic, loving relationship looks like to your children is paramount.

Bring them into your adventurous life and they will adapt. For example, designate them as navigator or technologist when they are old enough, having them use technology to map routes, find interesting sites, book engagements, research adventures, etc. until they are old enough to do this, they are easily influenced baggage. Take advantage of this so they know no better when they are old enough to think. Best of luck, kids are a blast when raised correctly!

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First off, congrats! While parenting has its hard days, I always tell people that the "low-lows" aren't nearly equal to the "high-highs". Meaning, the best days with your kids far outweigh the hardest ones.

Second, I echo what others have said. They'll want to mimic you, in most ways. If you want to minimize their screen time, minimize it yourself. I just got back from a weekend camping trip with my oldest boy (almost 4) with a group of guys. It was stressful at times, but most of that was my own doing. Him joining was a last minute thing and while it wasn't as restful as I would have hoped, the desire is that we made some long term memories together and that he got to experience some new things.

Best of luck, and remember this, while it can be helpful to talk to other parents just know that you and your wife will always know what's best for your kid.


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Retired Explorer
Congratulations! Being a Father is about the best thing in life. Kids don’t come with a manual. Hopefully you have had good role models help mold the person you have become so use what works. Set a good example. Don’t Sweat it. It all somehow works out. I have 27 and 29 year old girls as well as a great son-in-law. I am proud of all of them.
As far as technology, I agree that it will be a major part of their lives. They can’t avoid it and will need it for school and interaction with peers. Set rules and boundaries. Set guidelines for how much time with technology (TV, cell phone, IPad. Or computer). Nothing at the dinner table, nothing after X o’clock. Cherish quiet times, meal times and Dad time. Learn to listen. They will learn to enjoy what you enjoy. Cherish your family. Good luck. You will find what works for you. Have faith.


My daughter had a powerwheels before she could rollover. I sat her in it and made it go. She spent time on our horses being held on just standing in the yard since birth.
She spent alot of time in my garage in the swing asleep while i ran air tools and wrenched.
I used to play her hank williams songs through ear phones on her momma belly before she was born.

Shes 2.5 now. She is outside everyxhance she gets, want to be right there wrenchin with me. Ask to go feed the horses, and requires hank music to fall asleep to.

I have no clue what im doing but everythingi had her doing at 6months old she now loves doing.

So far its worked

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Also she can work a tablet better than me. But she never chooses tablet over vroom vrooming (go out riding) even at 2

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Tail-End Charlie
Put the TV in a box in the garage. Buy a bookshelf and fill it up.

Set boundaries. Some are negotiable, others are ironclad. They learn to understand and deal with limits by bouncing off the wall.

Never lie to them. If they catch you lying to someone else, explain what you did and why. Always make time to answer questions clearly and fully.

Treat them with respect, don't patronize or condescend. Little people are people and will figure out if they are being insulted. Parents should never be the ones doing the insulting - they'll get more than enough of that from their peers.

You will screw up. You will regret it every time. Try to keep it to a minimum.

Every child is a little mad scientist genius learning machine. Every thing they do an experiment of some kind. Don't stifle it. But keep an eye out that they don't blow up the garage or lose a limb through carelessness. :)
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Keep the kid away from screens for the first two years. No matter how hard people push classical music - let them listen NOT watch. Under the age of 2 screen time actually slows crossbrain development. Frankly after that its about moderation and embracing the opportunities technology offers. Tech and outdoors are not mutually exclusive. My 9 and 7 year olds enjoy the outdoors, camping, fishing, hiking the works. But that doesn’t mean they have the patience to spend 8 hours in a car getting to the camp sight. Let them play Education games or watch good nature shows on the way...

You are about to enter what for me has been the most amazing part of my life. The goal is not to avoid all mistakes. The goal is to teach them to live happy and healthy lives in spite of our mistakes.


New member
I have a 14 and 18 year old boys. My oldest attends one of the top STEM high schools in the nation (and is headed to college this fall). He laments that his peers, although book smart and math nerds, don't know a sparrow from a robin, an oak from a maple, are petrified of little insects and want squash them all, have headphones on constantly instead of listening to the real world, never get out of suburbia, don't know how to use basic tools, can't repair anything, and are just clueless when it comes to self-sufficiency. They were astounded when my son told them he had seen lots of bears. "You mean you saw a real live bear in the wild???"

I think technology and having the internet/social media at your fingertips 24/7 has really been a detriment to kids' ability to do anything for themselves and has removed them from the natural world. If you don't know/haven't been exposed to nature and had significant time outdoors (without screens), you don't appreciate it and don't care to protect and preserve it for the future.

From the beginning, my husband and I took the boys on daily walks with us (having dogs helped get us out). First in a carrier, then they actually walked, far, none of the "stroller until 6 years old stuff". We looked for bugs, identified trees, rescued all sorts of critters, watched praying mantis eggs hatch, picked up litter, dug elaborate ditches and built dams in the dirt to study water flow, built forts, made stone tools, etc. Took them tent camping before they could walk.

The key is to make them marvel in all the little wonders of nature, and the grand vistas, not just on vacation, but everyday! Instead of screen time, read a book to the kid daily!! before bedtime. Start with picture books, board books, and progress to chapter books. Check out huge stacks from your library and have them around always. Instead of garbage on TV, put on nature shows. Don't treat your kids like fragile eggs, brush off the little injuries and disappointments. Don't reinforce the "it's all about me, me, me, and more me, and my worth comes from the number of likes I get and the number of worthless posts I make" baloney. Be and act how you want your kids to turn out, be the ultimate model for them. You can be more influential than peers if you have built a good, consistent foundation.

I admit, our youngest hasn't turned out quite as "successful" in the self-sufficiency, nature-loving department as my oldest, but you can't win them all 100%. My oldest would rather hike in remote places in Denali National Park (like we did this past summer) and pick wild blueberries than look at any screen.

Good luck! It is a fun ride.


Kudos to you for seeking advice. Some great advice in the above messages. It is impossible to know it all and do everything correct, I suspect everyone makes mistakes and every child is a little different. I truly wish I would have had the advice from Southpier and Factoid (excellent words of wisdom).

My advice is as follows: The time with your kids will go very fast. There are wonderful moments at every age. Some things will be easy and some will be or at least seem difficult - all are rewarding in some way. My boys both were very much into baseball and played on multiple teams. That meant every weekend was dedicated to baseball. It seemed very difficult and a big commitment as it was happening (and it was a big commitment). However, I will tell you going to each of their last games was even more difficult (they played through High School and we knew they weren't going to be playing in college). I miss going to their games more than you can imagine. So my point with that story is ENJOY every stage and everything you do with them as they grow up.

My other piece of advice is more on the practical side. You will be taking thousands of pictures of your kid(s) - most likely with your cell phone. I recommend each month (I know time is hard to find) that either you or your wife or both of you review the pictures from the month. Put them in a folder on your computer and label them. This is the important part, pick out a handful of the absolute best pics. A few times a year you should take those best pics and actually have them printed. Then put them into a photo album and add some labels including location and dates to the album. If you have some extra cash the albums from snapfish and shutterfly, etc where you can add sayings and dates and locations, etc are wonderful as well. I promise you if you do NOT print the pics most will never ever be seen again. Your kids will love looking at those pics later in life. In books you can share with friends that come over many years later and they will be discussion pieces and hours of fun during holiday or birthday get togethers. Also when they have significant others or children of their own they will appreciate those books.

We didn't find out the sex of either of our children prior to birth. An absolutely amazing decision (not for everyone, but it is great). In todays world everyone will think there is something wrong with you, but that's also part of the fun. People always asked do you want a boy or girl. We also answered, "a healthy baby."

Good luck and congratulations.

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What I've told all my 'new-dad' friends recently:

Don't forget to make time to invest in your relationship with your wife - kids require a lot of time and focus. Being intentional about continuing to build your relationship with your spouse will help when things get really stressful with the kid (lack of sleep, illness, change to lifestyle, etc.). Congratulations on your growing family.
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Best advice I can give:

Be a parent, not a best friend. This is the important one. It's not your job to be their friend. It's your job to raise a productive, responsible, member of society. It's OK if they don't like you very much on occasion.

Be consistent. Lay down the law and stick with it. If everyone knows where the limits are, life is easy. Arbitrary rules just confuse them.

Kids are extremely durable, don't worry so much that you suck all the fun out of life. They can eat dirt without it killing them. They can fall down without everyone jumping to see if they are OK.

Don't leave them at home when you are out having fun. The best way to influence their idea of fun is to have fun as a family. We were camping with our first by 6 months and a car seat works in a boat perfectly. He's 30 with 4 of his own and still loves camping and outdoors.

And Congratulations!! You are embarking on a wonderful and terrifying journey. Enjoy it.