Becoming a parent for the first time is, how do I put this gently – terrifying. There’s this tiny little fragile thing that is perfect and incredible, and it’s your job to make sure every one of their needs is met. You spend months preparing for your little one’s arrival, and when that day finally comes, everything changes in ways you never could have predicted. A community-based program called Boot Camp for New Dads (BCND) is working to reduce the stress associated with becoming a parent, helping you feel confident in your parenting abilities by the time your baby arrives.
The research-based approach pairs new fathers with highly-experienced dads, creating a supportive environment that allows fears to be expressed openly. The non-profit was founded over 30 years ago, and more than 325,000 new dads have participated in workshops since.
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The program’s website explains, “Boot Camp for New Dads® (aka Daddy Boot Camp®) is a unique father-to-father, community-based workshop that inspires and equips men of different economic levels, ages and cultures to become confidently engaged with their infants, support their mates and personally navigate their transformation into dads.”
BCND’s multi-layer approach aims to teach, empower, and support new dads. Because of the program’s success, it now runs in 44 states across the U.S.. Veteran dads know firsthand that becoming a parent is anxiety-inducing. But with skill training, the ability to ask questions, and a network of dads there to support you, enjoying fatherhood rather than letting it overwhelm you becomes far easier.
“The veterans, with their babies on their laps, are very effective in communicating to other men the opportunities and rewards of personally caring for and connecting with their children,” the BCND website explains. “Their expectations that each man will do their best for their children is implicit in everything they say and do, and their frank explanations of the realties they faced and their encouragement create a trusting and motivating environment.”