Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD

Dr. Crutchfield is a dad of 11- and 5-year-old daughters and an 8-year-old son,  a board-certified dermatologist, a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, and the medical director of Crutchfield Dermatology.

What was the biggest challenge you faced while your wife was pregnant, and how did you overcome it? The biggest challenge that I faced was being exquisitely in tune with my wife’s needs. I can’t imagine being pregnant. I had to check to make sure that her needs were being met by doing this on a daily basis. As with most things for me, this became a habit after about 21 days!

What’s the most surprising thing being a dad has taught you? That you can absolutely love another human being so much that the depth of the love defies the ability to put it into words.

What’s the one bit of advice about fatherhood you wish someone had given you much earlier? Spend time with your kids. Those are moments that you will never get back. Also, when you say you will do something, do it. Remember, the parents are in charge, not the kids. I see too many people begging their kids to behave. I can’t count how many times people have come up to us in restaurants or on airplanes and commented on how well-behaved our children are. It’s for a reason. I rarely have to discipline them. (Although I am the enforcer: I often hear my wife ask, ”Do you want me to get your father in here?”) I simply sit them down and tell them that if they continue their behavior, they’ll be in trouble and get punished. If they stop and apologize and refrain from doing it anymore, we can move on. It’s completely their choice! They almost always choose to behave, and we move on. If they don’t behave, then I will punish them to make sure they understand I will honor my word.

What’s the one thing about being a new dad that shouldn’t be missed? Being there at the delivery!

What’s the most overrated thing about fatherhood? Nothing.

What’s the most underrated thing about fatherhood? How important being a father is. Your job is not necessarily to be the child’s best friend, but being friends is desirable and great. Your job is to teach the child right from wrong, good from bad, so someday when you’re not there, they’ll make the right decisions.

Why are fathers important? They provide stability, a role model, and a support system for the child.

Career, marriage, kids … how does a guy stay sane? Easy: Have a great wife!

Dr. Crutchfield’s Q&A

What do you do to protect your children’s skin?