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Sad Dads Need Help: Preventative Care for Babies


Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.: Thu, Mar 24th 2011

depressedA recent study came out polling 1,700 fathers of 1 year olds to gather data on parenting habits. They found a troubling sign that 41% of fathers who were depressed spanked their 1 year olds in the past month. Corporal punishment has been a major controversy for a while now, but no matter what your views are on it, it will be highly unlikely that a 1 year old will learn the association between spanking and bad behavior. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and depressed, it may be time to see what your options are for help.

For many men, depression is not talked about; it’s been ingrained in us from our early years that we have to be strong. The problem is depression is seen as a sign of weakness so our minds have already done the math. Go get help for depression and be weak or suck it up and be strong. The conclusion is made before we’re even aware of it.

However, the fact is, it takes a lot of courage to stand up to some of our long held erroneous beliefs. Courage is the ultimate form of strength.

And what do we really want in life anyway, do we want to seem strong to the outside world or feel good about ourselves, find a sense of peace, balance and give ourselves and our children the chance of being happy. I’m guessing it’s unanimous, the latter.

It’s that first year of parenting that seems to hold the largest prevalence for a mother or father to become depressed. It’s time to open up awareness around this because depression can certainly lead to actions that our children will pay for in the future.

Our minds swim with automatic negative thoughts (ANTS) leading us to be irritable and lash out or neglect those who are closest to us.

Not everyone has equal access at this time to mental health care. If you have money, you can seek out a private therapist, if you don’t have money, but have health insurance, you can find a provider under your plan. If you don’t have health insurance, you can see if there are any community healthcare facilities in your area.

There are also online therapists to look into, but I don’t have any experience with that and I’m guessing if someone is really depressed, I’d recommend they see someone in-person.

Depression is more common than people believe.

Let’s continue to inform ourselves so that our babies can grow up feeling safe and protected, loved, and healthy in body and mind.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from. 

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Workô program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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