Fathering Your Toddler: A Dad's Guide to the Second and Third Years

Fathering Your Toddler: A Dad's Guide to the Second and Third Years

by Armin A. Brott

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A significantly updated, revised, and expanded guide to all aspects of fatherhood during a child's second and third years by the best-selling, critically acclaimed author of The Expectant Father.  See more details below


A significantly updated, revised, and expanded guide to all aspects of fatherhood during a child's second and third years by the best-selling, critically acclaimed author of The Expectant Father.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for Fathering Your Toddler: A Dad's Guide to the Second and Third Years:

"Another great book in an intelligent series for dads. Armin Brott writes terrific parenting books for dads. They are well researched and the tone is encouraging and friendly.” — Parentsworld(dot)com

Product Details

Abbeville Publishing Group
Publication date:
New Father Series Series
Edition description:
Second Edition
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

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Fathering Your Toddler

A Dad's GuideTo The Second And Third Years

By Armin A. Brott

Abbeville Press

Copyright © 2005 Armin A. Brott
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7892-0850-7

Excerpt from: Fathering Your Toddler


What image comes to mind when you hear the word toddler? Probably that of a child, small, but not nearly as helpless as an infant, walking, falling, walking again. A child brimming with confidence and eager to learn.

Much of the same could be said about the fathers of toddlers as well. You’ve learned a huge amount over the year or so since your child was born, and you’re really getting the hang of this parenting thing. But as confident as you are, something happens every day to remind you that there’s still plenty more to learn.

Over the next two years your child will go from crawling to standing to walking to running, and from one- and two-syllable words to telling you that you don’t know anything about anything. Psychologist Lawrence Kutner likens toddlerhood to a musical fugue in which “the themes of intellectual, physical, emotional, and social development intertwine.”

But the focus of this book isn’t really on that. Sure, we’ll spend some time discussing your child’s growth and identifying developmental milestones. If you want an exhaustive study of child development, though, you need look no further than your local library or bookstore.

This completely updated edition of The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the Toddler Years is primarily about you and your musical fugue, about how fathers develop and grow over time. And that’s something you can’t find anywhere else. In writing this book I talked extensively with dozens of leading experts and studied the research and writings of many more. I also drew from my own experiences as the father of three , as well as from the interviews I’ve done with hundreds of fathers about their experiences and feelings. It is my hope that giving you access to all this wisdom and experience will leave you far better prepared to meet the challenges of being—and staying—an active, involved father.

The big question, of course, is, Why bother to be involved? Three simple reasons: it’s good for your kids, it’s good for you, and it’s good for your relationship with your partner. We’ll talk about all of this in detail throughout the book, but let me give you a small taste now.

The benefits for your baby. “The evidence is quite robust that kids who have contact with a father have an advantage over kids without that kind of contact,” says Norma Radin, who conducted research on fathers for more than twenty years. And these benefits are evident very early in life. In one study, Radin found that children who were raised by actively involved fathers scored higher on verbal ability tests than children raised in more traditional families by less-involved fathers. In another study, toddlers whose fathers took a special interest in child care were consistently rated two to six months ahead of schedule on tests of development, problem-solving skills, and even social skills. And there’s also a strong connection between kids’ math skills and the amount of contact they have with their fathers.

The benefits for you. Working fathers also benefit greatly from being involved with their kids. Too many men worry that there’s no real way to balance their work and family lives, and that taking an active role at home would be committing career suicide. But the truth is that men who put child-rearing high on their list of priorities are on average more successful in their careers at midlife than men who focus only on their work. Fatherhood also seems to “promote men’s abilities to understand themselves as adults and to sympathetically care for other adults,” says fatherhood researcher John Snarey. Men who take an active role at home are—by the time their children are grown—better managers, community leaders, and mentors. Overall, they’re more concerned with the generation coming up than with themselves.

The benefits for your partner and your relationship. Division-of-labor issues are right up there with money as the top marital stressor. Not surprisingly, the more involved you are and the more support your partner gets from you, the happier she’ll be in her marriage and the better she’ll perform as a parent. And that will make her a happier woman, which will make you happier as well and will make your relationship last longer.

How This Book Is Organized

Because babies (and their fathers) develop so quickly, the previous book in this series, The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year, was organized month by month, a format that enabled us to capture the rapid changes that you and your baby were undergoing. But as your baby morphs into a toddler and as you gain in experience, neither of you is developing quite as quickly, and a month-by-month approach would have been too cumbersome. Instead, while we’re still going through your child’s and your development in chronological order, we’ve divided things up into three-month blocks. Each of these quarterly chapters is further divided into several sections:

What’s Going On with Your Child

In this section we take a brief yet extremely important look at how your toddler is developing physically, intellectually, verbally, and emotionally/socially. In many ways your toddler’s growth parallels your own growth as a father. And much of what you’ll be experiencing over the next few years will be closely related to your child’s development. So knowing the basics of child development will not only help you understand your child but give you a better, deeper understanding of yourself.

As you no doubt already know, children develop on very different schedules, and the range of “normal” development is quite broad. Dividing the book into three-month sections should take care of most—but probably not all—of the variations, so it might help to imagine that each chapter title is preceded by the word roughly. The first chapter, for example, would be “Roughly 12–15 Months.” You might also want to keep an extra bookmark in the chapters immediately preceding and following the one you’re reading. If your baby seems to be two chapters (six months or so) ahead of her age, call Oprah. If she’s two chapters behind, read the special sections I’ve added on developmental red flags. If you’re still worried, pick up the phone and call your pediatrician.

What You’re Going Through

There isn’t a lot of social support out there for fathers who want to be actively involved, which means that most dads don’t have very many people to talk to about parenting feelings and concerns. As a result, far too many fathers end up thinking not only that they’re absolutely alone in what they’re experiencing but that they’re abnormal as well. Chances are, however, that with very few exceptions what you’re going through at any particular moment of your fatherhood is fairly similar to what millions of fathers before you have felt and millions more after you will. Just as babies develop along a more or less predictable path, so do fathers. And in this section of each chapter, we’ll examine what fathers typically go through at that particular time, so you’ll be able to monitor your own physical and emotional development. We’ll talk about the emotional ups and downs, the joys, the frustrations, the anger, the confusion, the incredible pride, and the confidence that fatherhood brings to all of us. If what you’re reading in one chapter doesn’t sound like it applies to you, or there are specific issues you want to hear about, feel free to skip around.

You and Your Toddler

Besides being very important, these sections are undoubtedly the most fun. This is where you’ll get the tools you’ll need to know your child better and to create the deepest, closest possible relationship with her—even if all you have is half an hour a day. We’ll deal with activities as diverse as playing games, reading, music, making art, cooking, potty training, computers, discipline, handling your child’s fears, and overcoming gender stereotypes. Every one of these sections is completely different and covers age-appropriate material.

Family Matters

Although the focus of this book is mostly on you and your toddler, the two of you are still very much part of a family, which includes your partner and any other children you might have. For that reason, we’ve included a separate section that covers all the things that can have a major impact on everyone in your house. We’ll talk about finances, family planning, nutrition, looking for preschools, finding dentists dealing with tantrums, how your child’s temperament affects the whole family, improving communication with your partner, sex, and much more. A number of chapters also include a special “You and Your Partner” section that focuses on specific topics that affect your relationship with the mother of your children.


Excerpted from Fathering Your Toddler by Armin A. Brott. Copyright © 2005 Armin A. Brott. Excerpted by permission of Abbeville Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Armin Brott, hailed by Time Magazine as “the superdad’s superdad,” is a pioneer in the field of fatherhood and has been building better fathers for more than a decade. He is the author of 8 books on fatherhood including The Expectant Father, The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year, The Single Father, and Father for Life: A Journey of Joy, Challenge, and Change. He has written on fatherhood for such leading publications as the New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, and Parenting. As a trusted spokesperson, Armin speaks on fatherhood around the country and teaches classes for expectant and new dads. He is a father of three and lives in Oakland, CA.

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