Mother’s Day has passed and Father’s Day is on the horizon. This is a dad centric blog and thus the examination is relevant: what makes a good dad?
I meet some couples on the fence about having kids at times and they are overwhelmed by the expectations of motherhood and fatherhood.
Parents are portrayed in movies and commercials. We all catch our best moments and post them in full smiles on social media outlets. I’m guilty. You’re guilty. We’re all guilty.
Moms have to do crafts with their kids. Dads have to play catch. Mothers cook. Dads work late. Mothers pack lunches and write cute notes with smiley faces. Dads take their kids on their first tractor rides. Right? Perhaps. But these are not requirements. These are not prerequisites.
The problem is some moms can’t cook. Some moms make more money than dads. Some dads are better caretakers than moms. Some dads can’t catch a curveball and would rather watch paint dry than play baseball.
The good thing is that perhaps what couples perceive as common, required stereotypes that are set in stone, are actually very, very archaic and antiquated misnomers. This is especially the case outside the bubble of the Midwest and Plains states.
So what actually makes a good dad?
Do you have to be able to tie a Boy Scout knot, be handy with a crescent wrench and be able to fix a leaky faucet? Can you show emotion? Can divorced or single dads that see their kids once a month provide enough guidance to be considered good and relevant.
The expectations of what makes a good dad should be fairly low. Many of us, many of you, and many future guys out their will be “good fathers”. When you wish guys Happy Father’s Day in the coming weeks, I encourage you do so with zeal and fervor.
Many guys out there do not get enough credit. Showing up, is indeed half the battle.
Below is a list of characteristics of “good fathers”. Maybe some of the characteristics will hit home to you and yours. Maybe some of them will give you thought for the future and help you concentrate on a weaknesses in your life. Perhaps the list will allow you to relax and pat yourself on the back.
Here’s my specific list of Seven Characteristics of a Good Father. By no means is this list all-encompassing.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads trying to make a positive impact on our future generation.
1. Good dads are present.
US Census statistics show that one out of every three children grow up in a home without their biological father present. Children growing up in homes without their fathers are 77% more likely to be abused. They are far more likely to drop out of school. They are far more likely to eventually become incarcerated. Whether in a relationship, married, divorced or separated… be present and available for your kids. This is the truest measure of a good father. Good fathers are the the rock of the family and are perpetually available and present.
2. Good dads treat women with respect.
Children are sponges. If you hit women, if you yell at women, if you talk down to women, your children will replicate these actions either now or quickly down the road. Whether it’s a mother, a sister, a librarian or a waitress, good dads set an example by treating women with respect.
3. Good dads set an example.
This trait is closely related to characteristic number two in that kids are watching at all times. One thing dads will learn quickly is that even though kids can’t understand immediately… they are always observing. Kids mimic adults and by setting examples of consistency, respect, honesty, trustworthiness and happiness, you can turn your kids into humble and thoughtful human beings without even giving direct instruction.
4. Good dads love unconditionally and aren’t afraid to express it.
The days of men withholding their feelings and being “tough guys” are over. There are times to be tough, strong-willed and moralistic, and there are times to show emotion. Some guys aren’t into hugging. Some guys aren’t big on kissing. Some guys have a tough time saying the exact words, “I love you.” All of these struggles are okay. Every person has their own way of showing love and gratitude. These struggles do not mean you’re not a good dad. Kids know when you love and care for them and it often times has nothing to do with spoken words.
5. Good dads allow their children to make mistakes.
When kids start to walk, there is a physicality to worrying about them making mistakes. I remember being stressed out about them falling. One sour move created a goose egg on their forehead that lasted weeks. Do other parents think I am a crappy parent for letting my kid fall and get a goose egg on their head? No.
It’s as impossible to fully protect your children at 18 months as it is to fully protect their children at 18 years. Letting children make mistakes and establish boundaries can teach them limits and allow them to be good decision makers as teenagers and adults.
6. Good dads can adapt and grow.
It would be shortsighted to only examine fatherhood from ages birth to age 18. This is when we perceive fatherhood to be most relevant. However fatherhood is not only something that is only impressionable upon our youth. Fathers have to adapt and relationships develop over time. Good dads can figure out what guidance is needed at what particular age and not force kids to grow up too slowly or too quickly. Good dads are always adapting and figuring out the best way to provide guidance and love to their children.
7. Good dads don’t treat fatherhood as a job.
Fatherhood is at its core, a choice. Having, raising and teaching children is not something we are forced to do. A job is something we are forced to do to make money and allow for a comfortable life. You can have a comfortable life without raising children. Good dads don’t act like spending time with their children is a burden. Good dads relish the moments and memories made with their children… both good and challenging.
What are other characteristics that you prioritize for being a good father?