Wondering about the qualities of a good father?
Written with the assitance of writer, public speaker and parent, Fabian Pasion
If you’re new to being a dad, it can be mind-boggling.
We go from caring mostly about ourselves and then our spouse. But now we have someone who is completely dependent on us!
What are the qualities of a good father and will we measure up?
The qualities of a good father include spending time being actively involved with your kids, modeling the behavior you expect in them, taking ownership and apologizing when we make mistakes, balancing their safety but allowing them the freedom to explore, limiting their time on technology, treating your wife and/or their mother with dignity, and so much more.
Being a dad is not an easy job. In fact, learning the qualities of a good father is a very challenging task.
Luckily, you aren’t the first dad on the block. There are a lot of great fathers out there and we can learn the description of a good father from all of them.
The trick isn’t to be perfect. But the trick is to learn from others as well as from our mistakes.
In this post, we’re diving deep into fatherhood, and specifically what the qualities of a good father are. More importantly, we’re looking at some simple ways you can implement these in your life today to be a better parent tomorrow.
One thing most parents of young kids are challenged by is helping their kids learn to read.
Let’s face it. These days, kids need to already be well on their way to reading by the time they start kindergarten. It’s not just eating paste and cutting shapes in construction paper like when I was in kinder.
Reading is one of the most important skills one must master to succeed in life. It helps your child succeed in school, helps them build self-confidence, and helps to motivate your child.
Luckily, there is a super simple and extremely effective system that will even teach 2 and 3 year old children to read. If you aren’t sure where to start with teaching your child to read, take a moment and check out the amazing and award-winning system over at Children Learning Reading.
What defines a good father?
The old-school model of a great dad was that to be a great dad meant working a 9-5. The dad provided most, if not all of the financial support for the family.
The qualities of a good father in the 1950’s were often limited to tucking the kids in at bedtime and playing ball with them on the weekends.
As much as that 50’s Dad scenario might sound appealing, that’s no longer the world most of us live in.
No; for many of us, it takes a 2 parent income to survive.
It takes 2 parents working in collaboration with each other on after-school activities, homework, morning routines and especially keeping up with the household chores.
It’s not just enough to put food on the table, kiss them goodnight and play with them an hour or 2 on the weekends. The qualities of a good father in this day and age go much further than in past decades.
Plus in the world we live in today, many dads work nights and weekends anyway.
I wrote a recent piece about the changing face of the Nuclear Family, so take a moment and check that out.
How the qualities of a good father have changed
I still remember becoming a father for the 1st time.
— BabyCentre UK (@babycentreuk) April 19, 2017
It was an overwhelming feeling. It was a mixture of emotions: nervousness and excitement and I thought about all my new responsibilities.
I asked myself what are the qualities of a good father?
Would I make a great father? I want to be the best father for my kids. But at the same time, I worry about measuring up.
Would I be able to do it? What if I fail?
I discovered that the qualities of a good father aren’t complicated.
You simply have to prioritize your family’s needs ahead of your own, to try your best and the really be there for them.
I gathered all the tips and advice on the qualities of a good father and picked out the very best ones.
What makes an effective father?
All of us have doubts about how to be a good father (or husband for that matter); we do and that’s totally normal.
And unless you go out of your way to read up on fatherhood, becoming a dad doesn’t come with an instruction manual. But of course many of us dads don’t read manuals anyway, right?
The questions that came to my mind when I first became a Dad were:
- What is the description of a good father?
- How do we learn these skills?
- What do we do when we fall short of that goal?
- How do we pick up the pieces when we fail?
We lead busy lives so its crucial that we stay in communication.
We check egos at the door and ask for what we need in a clear, specific and loving way. And we work together in driving our household. I won’t lie; sometimes we fall short of that!
In short, you can’t be the best parent you can be if your relationship is suffering.
While I (Jeff) have a number of posts on relationships, if your relationship isn’t all it could be, I highly recommend you take a moment and check out a post I have about Empathetic Listening Skills.
Most of us weren’t taught how to empathize with others or how to be a good listener. Those skills are crucial in life, but they especially important for the qualities of a good father.
Why dads are important to daughters?
Make no mistake, kids need two active, involved, and loving parents.
But life happens, and sometimes people get divorced. We also have gay and lesbian couples with kids, so while I do want to talk about why I think fathers are super important in raising daughters, I don’t want that to come across as derogatory towards other family models.
Ultimately if you and your spouse or ex put the needs of the kids first, take ownership of your behavior and strive to do the right thing, that makes you a great parent.
That being said, there’s just something special about the relationship between a father and daughter.
After all, I (to my daughters) am the first man they knew and loved and all their future relationships and friendships with men will be, in part, based on how they see and interact with me.
The terrible impact being a bad dad has on a daughter
Ultimately if I am a terrible dad who isn’t involved, is lazy, treats their mother poorly, or is overly critical or abusive, I am literally setting them up for a series of failed relationships with horrible men. It can also destroy their feelings of self-worth and self-esteem.
They will also, according to a study published by OrgScience, stand a much higher chance of developing a dependancy on drugs or alcohol.
That study goes on to say that women with the “worst relationships with their fathers” “are at higher risk for a wide range of behavioral and physical health problems, including sleep disturbances, obesity, high blood pressure, asthma, alcoholism, smoking, heart disease, chronic pain disorders, somatic symptoms, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and autoimmune diseases”.
On the other hand, if I am present, involved, loving while setting clear boundaries and expectations, taking ownership of my mistakes and doing my best to treat them and others with love and kindness, I set them up for success.
With sons, but especially daughters, fathers are critically important and the ultimate role model.
So let’s review the . . .
23 Qualities of a Good Father You Probably Didn’t Know
1. Be present and involved
Just because we may be the ones providing for our family doesn’t mean that we should leave this duty exclusively to the moms. I get involved by communicating with my children.
I talk to my kids and know who their friends are, what troubles them, what are they afraid of, what they like to do, so on and so forth.
- Connect with them, talk to them and listen to them
- Have clear work/life boundaries – If you work from home, need time to yourself or have other projects needing to be done, just communicate your needs, set times for those that everyone is clear on and reconnect when you’re done
- Put the technology down and just talk with them
2. Say you’re sorry
When we take ownership of our mistakes, we’re teaching our kids to take responsibility for theirs.
Whether with our kids, or maybe with a subordinate at work there is nothing quite so powerful as apologizing for our mistakes. We all make mistakes and they know that.
But when we try and pretend we didn’t, or act like it never happened, that actually makes us look weaker in their eyes
3. Spend quality time with your family
You may be busy at work, but it’s important that you make time for your family.
When they’re older your wife and kids won’t remember you worked hard to provide for them; they’ll remember you weren’t there.
In the description of a good father, prioritizing your family and work/life balance are crucial.
Make them a priority. Create memories with your wife and children. Book a cruise, a beach holiday or simply watch a movie together at the theatre.
On a budget? Board games, sports, hiking or other simple family activities work great. Your kids just want to be with you. What you do almost doesn’t matter.
4. Take an active interest in their interests
Guess what? I’m not a huge Katie Perry fan. But you know how many times I’ve heard her music? It’s well into the hundreds.
I also took my oldest daughter to see Panic! at the Disco in concert with one of her BFFs. Not exactly my scene (but I actually was impressed).
When you take an interest in your kid’s interests, you’re taking an interest in them. You’re telling them you care about them as a person.
Nothing feels better to a kid than that!
5. Let kids develop their own interests
When I was 10 guess what? I liked a lot of different stuff than what my Mom liked. And that’s OK.
It’s OK to influence our kid’s taste (that’s why I kept playing Star Wars movies until they clicked).
But we have to accept that our kids are going to not like everything we like.
They will like some stuff we don’t and that’s OK (as long as what they like is age appropriate)
6. Don’t have a different set of rules for your kids than you do for yourself
No one likes a hypocrite, so why should our kids be any different?
Mean what you say and say what you mean.
Example: In our house, Sunday is “technology free day”, so my wife and I do our best to avoid technology for personal use as well.
7. Model the behavior you expect from them
Don’t want them swearing at school? Guess what you shouldn’t do in front of them?
Want to teach your sons to be respectful to women? They will model how you treat their mother.
Lose your cool every time someone cuts you off in traffic? You’re teaching them to be impatient and hot-headed.
The qualities of a good father have to include you leading by example.
8. Explain to them the “why” behind the rule
How many times have parents said “because I said so” or “because I’m your father”.
Guess what? Those aren’t reasons (at least not good ones).
It’s crucial that kids understand why they are being grounded. Why a privilege is being taken away or even why they can’t watch Saw III.
As Dave Ramsey is fond of saying, “to be clear is to be kind”.
When they understand, they will be more apt to accept it. They’ll be less apt to do it again (if they were doing something wrong). And (perhaps most importantly) they will respect you more for taking the time to explain yourself and not just pull rank.
9. Give yourself a timeout when needed
When we talk to our kids in the heat of the moment we aren’t always in the best frame of mind to deal with them.
There’s NOTHING wrong with waiting to have a conversation until you are in the frame of mind to communicate effectively.
Talking to them when we are angry at best makes them yell back.
Then it escalates the whole thing.
Neither is actually listening to the other and instead just waiting their turn to talk (or yell). At worst, it teaches our kids to be scared of us and being scared of our parents is one of the worst feelings we can have.
Being a “do as I say, not as I do” parent has no place in your description of a good father.
Want to know the 2 Best Selling Parenting Books available on Amazon Prime?
There is How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough. This book has almost 5 stars and 900 reviews.
This book covers “Drawing on groundbreaking research in neuroscience, economics, and psychology, Tough shows that the qualities that matter most have less to do with IQ and more to do with character: skills like grit, curiosity, conscientiousness, and optimism.”
Then there is also The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson.
“In this pioneering, practical book, Daniel J. Siegel, neuropsychiatrist and author of the best-selling Mindsight, and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson demystify the meltdowns and aggravation, explaining the new science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures.”
This book also features upwards of 5 stars and over 800 reviews so you know both of these are excellent books.
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