Becoming Fathers

A 10-week online group for men entering fatherhood
Facilitated by Dr. Josh

Next group starts February 27, 2024!

Description

Being a father is one of life's greatest joys, but the process of becoming a father involves some of the biggest challenges that men can experience in their adult lives. Few of us go into fatherhood prepared for what's in front of us as we try to meet the conflicting needs of our partners, children, and jobs. At the same time, our own experiences and needs can often get pushed down or go unseen. Friendships that we have relied on earlier in our adult lives can feel distant or inaccessible, and the emotional support that we previously received from our partners can disappear because of the constant need to care for a baby. We are alone precisely at the moment when we need the most help. By facing these challenges with courage and support, we can grow into men capable of being mature fathers and leaders.

This group will help men at the beginning of fatherhood to grow and meet the challenges they face through peer and expert support.

When

The group will meet weekly on Tuesdays from 6-7:30 p.m., Feb 27-April 30, 2024.

The Group Leader

Picture of Josh Krieger and family

Josh Krieger, Psy.D. is a San Francisco-based clinical psychologist in private practice for the last 15 years. He specializes in working with men and couples. Josh has trained extensively in psychodynamic psychotherapy, mindfulness meditation, and integrative psychotherapy. He has been married for 20 years and has an 12-year-old son.

Costs

The cost for attending this 10-session group is $520. 

Who Can Join?

The group will include 5 to 9 men and the leader. It is open to all men who are becoming fathers. That includes those who are trying to decide whether or not they want kids, those who are in the process of trying to have a child, those whose partners are pregnant, and those in the early years of their child’s life. Group members should have a willingness to examine their interpersonal behaviors, to share parts of their private lives, and to give and receive supportive feedback from a small supportive group.

How to Join?

If you're interested in joining this group, please send an email to Josh Krieger at josh@joshkrieger.com

Outline

Week 1 - Becoming a father

We each enter fatherhood carrying a set of assumptions, hopes, and expectations. Some of us enter fatherhood begrudgingly, fearing the loss of our independence. Some of us want to correct the ways our own fathers raised us for the sake of our children. Some of us feel excited about building our own family. Whatever your hopes and expectations, we’ll spend this session discussing what it means for each of us to become a father.

Week 2 - A Changing Partnership

Before having a child, men often fear the loss of their independence, the loss of attention from their partners, and the potential loss of sex in their lives. After having a child, the aspects of life rarely return to the way they were before. This week we talk about our fears and hopes around how our marriages/partnerships will change after the birth of a child and the reality of how they are changing.

Week 3 - Friendship and Isolation

It’s often not just that life is busier after having a child, but old friends have moved away, responsibilities at work have increased, and in our free time we often want to sleep or just be alone in our man caves. While women quickly group up into moms’ groups and yoga classes, men can find themselves increasingly isolated at precisely the moment when deeper friendships matter the most. This week we’ll talk about isolation in fatherhood and the importance of sustaining meaningful friendships with other men.

Week 4 - Changes in Health and Body and Caring for Yourself

The birth of a first child often occurs at the same time as other bodily changes for men. We can begin to develop a “dad bod.” Changes in metabolism mean lower energy levels and weight gain. We can be more fatigued and don’t feel as attractive as we once were. Sexual desire and function also change as we age. This week we’ll talk about ways that each of us finds to care for ourselves amidst the challenges of fatherhood.

Week 5 - Parenting Style and the Role of the Father

Parenting styles vary widely between cultures and family backgrounds. Traditional stereotypes often have mothers nurturing and protecting their children, while fathers help kids leave the nest and become independent. What is your parenting style, why do you have it, and what does that mean for you, your partner, and your kids?

Week 6 - Responsibility, Self-Sacrifice, Frustration Tolerance, and How to Get Your Own Needs Met

Taking on the responsibility of becoming a parent involves a tremendous amount of self-sacrifice. This sacrifice is not simply not getting enough sleep or not having enough time to yourself, it is a willingness to let go of what you want and need, to tolerate frustration for the sake of others in your life, particularly your children. And different from other sacrifices, it just doesn’t seem to end. This week, we’ll focus on how to get your own needs met and how to manage things when others' needs are more important than your own.

Week 7 - Your Family in the Center: Managing Family Boundaries and In-laws

This week focuses on healthy boundaries for your family. While you undoubtedly have already had conflicts with your in-laws (or your partner has, with your parents), the birth of a child creates a new necessity for rethinking old boundaries. One developmental task of a new family is how to establish a membrane around you and your family that is permeable to some relatives but not others.

Week 8 - Career or Family: Making tradeoffs

Having children means much greater demands on our time and finances. Traditionally, fathers financially provided for their children, but were otherwise absent, but there are very different expectations of modern fathers. How do we manage the tradeoffs between being present as a parent and our own career aspirations? Do we withdraw from the family in order to financially support it or do we sacrifice a portion of our professional identity to care of the family? This session explores the tradeoffs men make as they balance career and family.

Week 9 - It takes a village: Nannies, Daycare, Grandparents, or the Father as the primary caretaker.

Just as you start to establish a routine with your new baby, either or both parents need to return to work. Couples solve these problems by getting nannies, sharing nannies, signing up for daycare, having grandparents involved, or with either or both parents caretaking for some of the week. We'll spend this session talking about the best ways to manage this step with your partner. Group members will have the chance to share their own perspectives on solving these challenges.

Week 10 - Being a father

This is our last session. We will reflect together on the topics covered during the previous 9 weeks and what remains to be explored.