Any fool can raise a child. That doesn’t make you a father. It’s the courage to raise a child that makes you a father — Barack Obama
Since my son was born back in 2014, I have received plenty of parenting advice over the years. From friends, family members, and a lot from online forums and sites.
Many do’s and don’ts and “recipes” for being the “perfect” father are flying around on the internet.
It’s hard to sift through the noise and look for the signal, especially if you are just getting started on your parenting journey.
So I decided to go through all the fluff on the internet and tease out the advice that really works, and verify it with my own experience.
The result is the definitive answer to the one question every father wonders all through his life — “How to Become a Great Father?”
Here’s what I learned, some actionable tips that actually work.
Read the 21 Simple Ways To Be a Great Father, just click on any of the links below to check out a particular point👇 , Or scroll down to read the complete post.
- Hug Your Child
- Play with Them
- Give then Space
- Give them your attention – Listen to their stories
- Don’t tell them what to think, teach them how to think
- Lead with your actions, not your words
- Have Fun!
- Love the Mom
- Give them choices (and the consequences!)
- Be Curious & Present
- Do The Household Chores
- Don’t Shy Away from Apologizing
- Teach them Empathy
- Communicate Openly
- Tame Your Expectations
- Have a healthy relationship with YOUR parents
- Your Kid is not YOU
- Be The Rock
- Show Respect
- Don’t make them Entitled
- Talk to them about Money
Here are the detailed 21 Simple Ways To Be a Great Father 👇
1. Hug Your Child
There’s scientific evidence to proves that physical touch reduces stress and improves the quality of life.
Physical touch releases a hormone called “Oxytocin” — the bonding hormone, sometimes called the Love hormone
It lifts up the mood and increases bonding between people.
As a father, this is the simplest thing you can do to tell your kid that you love him/her.
Mothers have a natural bond with the child because they are so intimately close with them in the early years.
But fathers can also leverage touch to form unbreakable bonds with their children. Especially when the child hasn’t learned to speak yet.
In the early years very important that you establish a connection with the child through touch. Because that is the most effective language they understand.
So hug them, kiss them, wrestle with them.
Shower your endless love for them through physical touch.
2. Play with them
Kids learn best by playing.
Actually, humans learn best by playing.
Gamification has been known to be used to learn new skills in many areas.
As a father, you can build a habit of playing with your child.
If they are really young, you can play silly toddler games with them. Helps improve their motor skills
If they are older you can play a sport with them.
Or work out with them, go running or do Yoga with them.
There are so many things that can be categorized as “play” and help them grow into well-rounded individuals.
Pick anything you enjoy doing, and teach them, or pick anything they enjoy doing, and learn from them.
Use the power of Play to strengthen the bond with your child and help them get better in the process.
3. Give them Space
Kids want to do their own thing.
This is true when they are older, but it’s true for younger children as well.
They have an elaborate world in their own imagination and love to spend time there. They don’t appreciate their parents being in their faces all the time.
Just like you like your “me” time, your kids like theirs too.
Giving them the space to spend some alone time also enables them to be comfortable in their own company.
This results in better mental health and wellbeing.
So whenever you get an opportunity to give them their own “me” time, just back off and let them do their own thing.
4. Give them Your Attention – Listen to their stories
Kids love to tell stories. Especially younger ones.
When they have recently learned to speak and are looking at the world with fresh new eyes. Their imagination is running wild at this time, and they just want to speak all the time.
Listen to them.
Don’t stare into your phone while they talk at you.
Actually, be genuinely interested in their silliest of stories. Have fun conversations with them. Join their fantasy worlds and go on adventures with them.
The bonds you create with such interactions will last a lifetime.
Your kids will thank you for these amazing times you will give them at a young age.
5. Don’t tell them what to think, teach them how to think
Children are naturally free thinkers.
They don’t have any inhibitions, fears or, social taboos.
That also enables their creative spirits.
But they are gullible, and highly impressionable, especially when it comes to their parents.
As a father, make sure to no enforce your opinions on them. Rather teach them the process of how you came about forming that opinion.
From a young age, teach them how to differentiate facts and opinions, and how to make up your own mind rationally.
This is going to be a very important skill going forward, as we enter the age of misinformation online.
6. Lead with your actions, not your words
Kids learn by action, not words.
Monkey See, Monkey Do.
You can preach all you want, but if you don’t follow through on your own words, they won’t as well.
They will learn a lot more from what you do in your own life than what you tell them to do.
As a father, your kids naturally look up to you as a role model in their life, especially when they are young.
You have a special power this way, you can greatly influence the kind of person your child becomes.
Make it count.
7. Have Fun!
Children are naturally fun-loving
They try to have fun in every activity that they do. It’s us adults who are the bores 😅
Amidst all the responsibility and demands of being a parent, don’t forget to have fun along the way.
Parenting is the most fulfilling experience you will have in your life, make sure to have fun in the process.
This will help your kids also see the value in parenting, and it will make them love you even more.
So get rid of the resentment, the anxiety and, stress.
And just have some fun🤗
8. Love the Mom
She’s the boss!
As far as your parenting journey is considered, the mom is the main driver. She has more skin in the game, literally! And her instincts around parenting are more on point.
Make sure to support her all the way.
She already has a lot on her plate being a mother.
The father’s role is to be the support system that the mother can always rely on.
Be that person.
Don’t be selfish, when you support and love the mother, you enrich the whole family.
9. Give them choices (and the consequences!)
Kids need to learn decision-making.
Making decisions is not something we humans are very good at naturally.
It’s a skill that is learned with time, practice, and many iterations.
Children need to start making decisions from early on in their life.
Give them plenty of opportunities to make choices, and make sure they live with consequences as well.
You can start small with something as simple as picking a toy for themselves out of 5 options. Or if they are a bit older, then ordering food for the family dinner.
If you give them an allowance or pocket money, be watchful of how they choose to spend that money.
10. Be Curious & Present
Be genuinely curious about what is going in their lives.
What they think about all day, who they talk to, who they spend time with.
Don’t be an absent dad.
Absenteeism will hurt you in the long run when the kids grow up and suddenly one day you find out that they are an entirely different person from who you thought they were.
Be interested and curious in their world. That is the simplest way to be a part of their world.
Also, father absenteeism can be detrimental to the overall well-being of the children. So make sure, you are there.
11. Do The Household Chores
Household chores are important.
It’s not the “mom’s job”
It’s the responsibility of the entire household to do the chores. Timely chores are the key to a well-functioning household.
By doing them, you set an example in front of your children, that this is important, and it needs to be done.
With time, as the kids grow older, they will also learn to pick up chores around the house and take responsibility.
As a father, that is the best outcome you can want for them.
But if you get lazy and don’t do any work around the house, then they will learn that from you.
The father’s involvement in household work directly impacts how his children look at gender roles at large in society when they grow up.
This also adds to the overall relationship quality and well being of the family(5)
12. Don’t Shy Away from Apologizing
Being able to apologize for one’s mistakes is the hallmark of a great man.
If you make a mistake, don’t boss your children over it. Don’t pretend as if your actions are alright.
You want your children to learn to own up to their mistakes when they grow up. It is an important criterion for becoming a well-rounded adult.
When you say sorry to your children you empower them in two ways:
- You give them confidence, that they can stand up to bullies growing up.
- You teach them how to gracefully accept their mistakes and own up to them.
So make sure to never shy away from apologizing to your children, there’s no shame in it, it’s your responsibility.
13. Teach them Empathy
Empathy is one of the most important skills needed to become a fully functional adult.
To teach them, first build empathy within yourself.
Explain to them the importance of looking at things from all perspectives. To understand where someone else is coming from.
As they grow up, empathy will help them do well in group dynamics, it will help them become team players.
It will make them the kind of person everyone wants to be around, everyone wants to work with and play with.
They will receive plenty of love and support from other people throughout their lives if they are empathetic.
And they will thank you for it.
So make sure to be empathetic yourself, and to teach it to them as they grow up.
14. Communicate Openly
Communication is key to a healthy family dynamic when kids are growing up.
Especially once they cross the 5-6 Year mark and start to understand relationships a bit more. They see a minor conflict between their parents and get confused as to what is the reason for the disturbance.
If not explained properly, then they may attribute a silly fight between their parents to themselves.
It’s difficult to perceive certain situations as a child. Situations that we as adults find common can be confusing to them.
So it’s best to explain to them in clear terms what is going on.
You may find it silly, but your kids will find it very helpful.
So talk to them openly in an age-appropriate manner about everything going on in the family.
Make them feel a part of the group, rather than distant spectators.
15. Tame Your Expectations
Your kid is not the next Elon Musk or the next Bill Gates.
He or She is the first version of themselves.
As a father, you will have certain expectations of how your kid should turn out. But don’t enforce those expectations on them.
The weight of your expectations can stifle the very things that make them unique.
Give them the freedom to express themselves, let their uniqueness shine through. And they will love you for life.
16. Have a healthy relationship with YOUR parents
Your relationship with your parents will be the seed for your children’s relationship with you when you are older.
They learn by observation, not preaching.
So they observe your relationship with your parents. And learn how to play their part in that relationship when they grow up.
Set a good example for them to follow through on.
Set aside your issues, and have a healthy relationship with your parents.
17. Your Kid is not YOU
You had aspirations, you had dreams, you had hopes that could not be fulfilled. Don’t thrust them on to your kids.
Many fathers plan their kid’s life as if they are planning their own.
They give them exactly the things that they lacked in their childhood.
That doesn’t help.
Your kid is growing in a new environment, under new circumstances. What his/her life lacks is much different from what your life lacked.
So their dreams and hopes and ambitions will be very different from you.
Don’t treat them as minor versions of you, treat them as the unique individuals that they are.
18. Be The Rock
As a father, you are solid ground that the family stands on.
Your role to your kids is of a rock that they can always count on to deliver.
Sure, you will make mistakes, and everyone understands honest mistakes, even your kids.
But there is a difference between making mistakes and being an absent father. Or being an irresponsible father.
If your kids can’t trust you, they won’t love you and will always be resentful of you.
It’s a terrible feeling being resented by your own kids.
Play the role you have taken up for yourself, do it with honesty and integrity.
Be the rock you were meant to be to your kids.
19. Show Respect
Because your kids are much younger than you, it is easy to get disrespectful towards them sometimes.
Always catch yourself doing that.
Sure, they will make mistakes. They will make mistakes that will look silly to you, but that doesn’t mean you get to insult them.
When they do something wrong, explain to them their mistakes, as you would to an adult.
Always talk to them the way you want to be talked to when you are 65.
Disrespect from fathers in their childhood can turn into self-confidence issues after growing up.
Always be mindful of how you are talking to them. Show your love and empathy even in the most difficult situations.
Most of all, show them some respect.
20. Don’t make them Entitled
Entitlement is the biggest problem in young adults these days.
It happens because all their childhood they get told that they are special and will do great things when they grow up.
But once they enter the workforce, they realize that they are after all, quite “ordinary” and it is really hard to do great things in a world full of cutthroat competition.
As a father, it’s your duty to help them understand the difference between “special” and “unique”.
They are unique.
They have unique tastes, preferences, and skills. And their uniqueness can add value to the world. Your job as a father is to coach them to find this uniqueness and help them leverage it.
Elon Musk is not special, he is unique in the way he thinks about human civilization. And it’s this uniqueness that pushes him to do the things he does.
Don’t make your kids entitled, don’t make them feel “special”, make them embrace their “uniqueness”
21. Talk to them about Money
Personal Finance is one of those things that young adults learn the hard way.
Nobody talks to them about money when they are young, once they enter adulthood, they end up taking a ton of debt, or not invest any money, have zero savings, or lose money in some get rich quick schemes.
As a father, you are your kid’s first finance coach as well.
You must talk to them openly about your finances, and teach them to manage their finances well also.
The lessons you can teach them as adolescents will come in handy until they are very old.
Basics of savings and investing. Importance of buying insurance.
These are some basic things that most adults get into after age 30.
If you can teach them to your kids, it will give them a jumpstart and they can have a healthy financial life even in their 20s.
As I said in the beginning, there is a ton of great advice on the internet about being a great father. But it’s buried inside a load of noise around this topic. It’s hard to find and make sense of.
This is a single, comprehensive resource I could make about being a great father. And will keep this updated regularly as I find new insights and ideas.
If this has helped you, share this post with a fellow dad and help them out as well.
Thank you for reading🙏
- Does Hugging Provide Stress-Buffering Social Support? A Study of Susceptibility to Upper Respiratory Infection and Illness
- The importance of touch in development
- The Emergence of Solitude as a Constructive Domain of Experience in Early Adolescence
- The Causal Effects of Father Absence
- Father Involvement, Father–Child Relationship Quality, and Satisfaction With Family Work: Actor and Partner Influences on Marital Quality