New Dad Diaries – week 9 – Rugbaby World Cup




Chronicling life as a new father to his beautiful firstborn child – daughter Thea – Chris Kerr’s goal is to provide all men experiencing fatherhood for the first time with some invaluable tips and tricks as they are learned – the hard way. This week, Chris tries to get his daughter to make a big life decision, even though she is only 9 weeks old… 

My brother Dave started a war in the family this week. Like me, Dave is a passionate England rugby supporter. My wife Alicia and her family are passionate Wales supporters. So, when Uncle Dave bought Thea an England babygrow, it all kicked off. Alicia’s family, led by Uncle Jason and his two daughters Astara and Cerella, retaliated and got Thea a Wales babygrow.  The situation was dangerously close to escalating. It was white versus red, roses versus dragons, and most dangerously, dad versus mum.   

Dads, when this situation arises you need to do the right thing. Step back, be objective and cut through all the emotion to focus on what is really important in this situation: the happiness and wellbeing of your child. That is why, every night since this war began, I have sung Swing Low, Sweet Chariot to Thea before bed! 

This was, of course, a trivial disagreement. Our families laughed and joked about it. But there will be times when Alicia and I disagree about more important parenting issues. Guess what? You and your partner will too. Every couple does. For example, we may disagree about how to discipline our children when they have done something wrong. We may disagree about whether to let them go on a school trip, or not. One parent may be over-protective and the other may be very liberal with their child’s health and safety (yep, usually us dads!). The question then is not how to we avoid these conflicts, but rather, how do we handle them?  

The first rule of ‘fight club’ is to love your wife well. Pursue her daily, love her generously and fight to protect your marriage with everything you have. She is your number one, your children are a close number two. Conflict may be inevitable, but it shouldn’t be the norm. If a parental disagreement comes, you will handle it much better if your marriage is strong. By the way, the studies tell us that a healthy, loving marriage is also the best way to serve your children.  

Secondly, whatever your disagreement, you must present a united front to your kids. You can and should disagree and debate with your wife behind closed doors. But come to a decision, stick together and make sure your child knows you are on the same page. Find that hard? Remember that both of you are actually united by the same thing anyway – you want the best for your child. You just disagree about the ‘how’ behind that.  

Thirdly, you must have an equal say. We have all seen or experienced unhealthy family dynamics where one parent has the final say all the time. You know the type: the dad who believes he is the head of the family so gets the final word, or the mum who believes she is the decision-maker because she spends more time with the children. No. The decision-making power should be a 50:50 split. Work together and keep talking it through until you reach a mutual agreement.   

Finally, your decision should never be final. Keep assessing the data, keep talking to each other and be open to changing things at any point. For example, when it comes to Thea going on her first ever date, Alicia and I might disagree about whether she should go or not. Initially we may go with my instinct (“absolutely not, over my dead body”), but over time, as Thea demonstrates greater maturity, we may go with Alicia’s wisdom, granting Thea greater freedom and responsibility (note to boy: assume I am there in a disguise, because I will be).  Don’t get caught up on who is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. There will be some trial and error, you will have to compromise, and you will need to change at the speed of your child’s growth – which will be fast.   

All in all, remember you and your wife are on the same team, aiming for the same try-line: Helping your child to become a healthy, happy, wholesome adult. 

Before we wrap this diary up, I suspect many of you want to know whether Thea wears the England or Wales babygrow now? The answer is – both!  I am a man who has learned to compromise. Thea looks good in the stunning white of England, and the Wales babygrow makes for a fine reusable nappy!   

Tip of the week  

If a disagreement comes up, talk to each other.  Share fears, insights and gut-feelings.  Go on fact-finding missions – talk to other parents, read books, speak to youth pastors and listen to parenting podcasts. The Bible is a pretty epic parenting resource too!    

Chris Kerr

Chris is a husband to Alicia and father to Thea, who is the subject of his columns on Fatherhood for Sorted.  In his spare time he works for a national law firm in an executive capacity and provides crisis leadership consultancy support for non-profits across the UK.  He attends Urban Crofters Church in Cardiff.  A keen weekend adventurer, Chris is regularly spotted in the sea or on mountains.

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