To be an effective helper, the man must have some knowledge of the stresses on his wife and should try and reduce them by his compassion and his help. He can share the shopping and do the house-cleaning. He can reassure and cuddle his wife. He can take over the baby and cuddle it when its cry is not for food, but for body comfort.
A large number of women wrote to me in response to a request for information about the problems they had experienced when adjusting to parenthood. Those who had found the adjustment easy had had the help of an informed, co-operative husband or had had a female relative who was close to them. Those who had found the adjustment hardest and who, often, had had quite severe depression, had a husband who had refused to help and who had made selfish demands, expecting the woman to entertain, to be im
maculately coiffured and dressed, to have food ready when he wanted it, and to cope with the baby’s demands at all times.
There is a further point, which is important for the development of the child. If the child sees, from its earliest weeks, that its father and mother have a sharing relationship, it will in turn be able to form such a relationship with others, and the alienization of so many children will be avoided. Anti-social behaviour of children is often modelled on the anti-social behaviour of parents.