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The Family Action Centre: Talking To Dads About Bonding

Dads have a good sense of what bonding feels like from friendships and romantic experiences, but they may need information on how to bond with their new baby and establish a connection. This booklet gives new fathers information on how bonding occurs between dad and baby, and how it develops.


Children and babies are looking for a connection with you, and this happens when you are playing with them, talking to them and giving your children your full attention.

Evidence shows that dads who spend quality time connecting with their young children help their children's development. Children develop bonds with those who care for them in the following ways:

  • Babies start discriminating between their parents and strangers at about six months of age, so crying when a "stranger" holds them is normal at this age.
  • Bonding happens through day-to-day interactions, so dads can start forming a close bond by taking care of his child, playing with her and being close to her for as long as he can, and from as early as possible.
  • A dad's relationship with his child will influence both things like crying, but also brain architecture and future ability to deal with stressful situations.  

 Children who have experienced high quality bonding can:

  • manage stressful situations more effectively
  • do more exploring
  • express their fears; and
  • gain the comfort they need from their parents

Children who have high quality bonds with their dads will have better outcomes, and be more successful, as they have the ability to manage normal school difficulties and form friendships easier.

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