Some of the best advice I got before becoming a dad was:
A father is a child’s first friend.
When a child is born, they see their mother as a part of themselves. The child was a part of mom for nine months. It takes time for infants to learn that they are their own person.
Dad is the first person the child regularly interacts with who is not mom, and therefore not them, who regularly cares for them. Dad is their first friend.
The way mom treats the child informs how they will relate to themselves. The ways dad treats the child informs how they will relate to their friends.
While I am still my son’s father and that role has responsibilities that go far beyond a friend, I am happy that our friendship is growing as well.
Originally published here.