What makes a man a good dad?

Jun 3 • Uncategorized • 655 Views • 15 Comments on What makes a man a good dad?

Man of the House probably thinks he chose me to be the mother of his offspring. I don't mind him thinking that, but the truth is I chose him. It wasn't just that he was attractive and looked good in a pair of jeans (although that definitely helped). But it was also because I knew we shared the same values and that he would be an excellent dad. Fortunately I was right.

But I know a few men who, on paper at least you would think would make good dads, but have actually fallen woefully short of their partner's expectations in every respect – financial, domestic, nurturing. Of course their children idolise them, which suggests a worrying pattern will be formed, particularly with their sons.

Anyway, with Father's Day a few weeks away, I've been thinking about what makes a man a good dad. Here are my top two non-negotiables – I'd love to hear what you think, too:

*to be a provider for his family – emotionally and preferably financially as well (although of course if he's a Stay At Home Dad that's fine too)

*respect for the mother (this is absolutely paramount, even if the couple have separated)

written by Liz Jarvis

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15 Responses to What makes a man a good dad?

  1. The Mommyologist says:

    I think that in order to be a good dad, a man needs to play an active parenting role in his child’s life. He shouldn’t leave all of the duties to the mom, and when he has the kids, he shouldn’t treat it as "babysitting." He should know all of their routines, etc, and he shouldn’t have to ask his wife what time to put the kids to bed, what to do with them, etc.

  2. Karin @ Cafe Bebe says:

    I knew that my husband would be a great father when I saw him with his niece and nephews. He was great fun with them BUT he also laid down the law. He wouldn’t tolerate rudeness or cheekiness and always insisted upon manners and doing the RIGHT thing. Our situation is not perfect as in order to provide for us (thankfully hubby’s salary has allowed me to stay home with Little Miss) he does work long hours but we still have dinners as a family and he does participate in the bath & bed time routine. He will probably always defer to me on matters of parenting as I’m the one who’s ALWAYS here but we agree on how we want to raise our daughter and support each other at every turn. He loves his Little Miss more than he ever thought possible…that makes parenting much easier!

  3. 21st Century Mummy says:

    To be a good father, it’s important for them to play a hands on role, ie feed, bath, take them out put them to bed etc – without help! My husband is an amazing father to our 2 year old, he’s very hands on with her and does a lot of stuff on his own with her, e.g. takes her to the park or playcentre so I can have a lie in! He’s definitely a bit soft with her, leaving me to the discipline. Because he works all day he finds it hard to be anything other than nice to her when he gets home!

  4. Tim @ frontlineoffatherhood says:

    As a dad of a 2-year old and a 4-month old, I would add a willingness to be flexible – when things go slightly awry, not ducking responsibility just because "it’s not my turn".. Our boys have a habit of turning our best-laid plans and routines upside down. So there are unplanned times when I end up doing Toby’s late night feed, or getting up with Zac because he’s wide awake at 4.30am, or abandoning the football on the telly, or a million and one other little things that end up disrupting my own plans. But that’s just the way it goes with kids, right?

  5. Claudia Vella says:

    Both your points are important. In my opinion, the second is particularly important as it emcompasses all the rest. I feel respected by my husband and this includes that he trust me to plan our budget of the money he earns! All the rest – bath time, bedtime routine, night waking, play time, even whole days if necessary and more if I have to travel away from home, simply follow. I feel I have been lucky as this man is proving to be the best dad my princesses could have.

  6. New Mummy says:

    I knew OH would be a great dad, he is supportive, patient, kind and caring and that’s just some of his great trait’s. He takes an active role with BG, we share bedtime routines etc He gets up with her most mornings and gives her breakfast before getting me up. BG is truly a daddy’s girl and that’s fine by me. I’m really close to my dad, it took me along time to realise how amazing he is, not because he took us on foreign holidays or buys us loads of gifts at xmas etc but because he has always been there for me, supporting me, encouraging and giving me advice when I ask.

  7. Karen @ If I Could Escape says:

    Great post and some very good points. I think to be a good dad they also need to have the ability to leave work aside and commit wholly to family life once home from the office. This doesn’t always come naturally to my hubby — sometimes, he has to … erm be pushed to do so. Also, I think you have to let them parent and share life experiences in their own unique way too rather than in the way you think they should. For example, my hubby loves nothing more than to be outdoors with our boys and takes them hiking, etc as much as he can in any kind of weather. I would only do this with them in oour much cooler months.

  8. Nick MyDaddyCooks says:

    Surely what makes a man a good dad is exactly what makes a mum a good mum: someone who simply tries their best to make a good fist of a job which they will never fully master and who doesn’t beat themselves up when things seemingly don’t go to plan…

  9. Nat says:

    No expectations of him ever. Only to be as loving to them as he is to me & as committed and he is.

  10. Linda says:

    I’m not sure I’m with you on the financial thing, while of course money coming into the home is important, I’m not sure that I would flag this up as top of the Pops’ things to do (see whaI did there) The only reason I say this is because we all either know or know of families where one or other or both the parents don’t see as much of their kids as they could as they work so hard. For me, the ability to love their children unconditionally, to make them feel happy, secure and loved is enough. And you don’t need much money in your pocket to do that!

  11. Linda says:

    Can I just add that I find it amazing in this day and age that some dads don’t play a "hands-on role" with their kids – perhaps the small matter of having more than one at once – and no choice — may have had an impact for our family, but my partner is just a decent bloke who wants to do the best for his family – and that includes helping his children’s mum. But out of all my friends from baby groups etc, I was honestly the only one whose partner knew their way round a washing machine, iron, etc – which is a pretty good job as I’m clueless. I’ll never forget one mum telling me she wouldn’t "let" her husband lift a finger – I told her to keep her son away from my daughters as they got older thank you very much – as I suppose I also believe part of being a good dad is being a good role model to your children – and again if you love them the best you can, that should do it.

  12. Liz says:

    @Linda – yes, that’s why I said it’s fine if they’re Stay at Home Dads too, and I agree with you it’s very difficult when work takes one parent away from the home. My point really is that I know families where the woman is the one who always worries about how food is going to get on the table, and the man is oblivious. I’m not saying a man should necessarily bring home the bacon, but I do believe that to be a good father they have to consider their child’s needs. Emotionally as well as financially.

  13. Erica says:

    A good dad (and husband!) is one that can put the needs of the rest of the family before themselves and that extends to recognising when they are required to ‘bring home the bacon’ but also when they’d be best serving the family by becoming a stay at home dad, there’s huge sacrifice in becoming a stay at home father and it should be applauded in the same manner as financially supporting the family.

  14. amy says:

    All i need from my hubby is to love the children, love me and love our family. Thats what makes him a good dad xxxx

  15. Crystal Jigsaw says:

    A man who’s calm and knows how to handle a tricky situation, keeping his family content and protected. I don’t think my OH is the perfect partner or the perfect dad, but Amy loves him, I love him and he loves us. And between us we make the perfect family. CJ xx

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