A close up of a baby's hand grasping the hand of its father.

5 Tips for Being a Good Dad

Whether biological, adoptive, or by marriage, fatherhood is no easy task. No matter when and how you really became “dad,” you’ve got a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. Supporting your partner is part of it, but there are also some unique things about the father-child relationship. Here are a few tips to be the best dad you can be. 

1. Work with your partner. 

A big part of being a good dad is being a good partner. Initially, parenting tends to be more strenuous for moms -- they not only have to figure out what to do, but they also have to breastfeed for months and months. Providing the support moms needs during the prenatal period is how you start being a good dad. But, once the baby is born, it’s important to be on the same parenting page as your partner. Don’t undermine discipline -- don’t say “yes” when mom says “no” -- and treat your partner the way you expect your child to treat their partner. 

2. Spend time with your little one. 

One major thing that kids require is attention. At first, they’re mainly interested in milk and clean diapers but, over the course of the first two-years, your newborn will develop from someone you have to lavish with attention to someone who just wants you to play with them. Mom and dad relationships tend to be different -- moms are more nurturing, while dads tend to be more fun. It doesn’t have to be that way, but it tends to. Set aside some time each day to spend one-on-one with your child -- read a book, go for a walk, make a block tower, whatever. It doesn’t have to be fancy, you just have to be there. 

3. Do the not-so-fun stuff, too. 

Unfortunately, being a dad isn’t just playtime. You can’t just stick mom with the dirty diapers and mealtime, baths and laundry. Step up and do the things that have to be done, not just the things you want to do. You’ll also have to be prepared to do your own share of disciplining. Don’t make your significant other be the “mean one” all the time. It’s not only unfair to your partner, it makes you a much easier target when the teenage years arrive. 

4. Take on the role you’re best suited for.

Traditionally, men have worked and women have taken care of the kids. That doesn’t mean every family has to work that way. If you and your partner agree you’re the best source of income, and their best role is more child-centric, that’s great. But, if your partner is miserable at home, and you want to spend all day with your little one, it’s okay to switch things up. Doing what makes all of you happiest is the best way to show your child how to be happy, too. 

5. Make time for yourself. 

Whether you’re starting your own “daddy day care” or working 80 hours a week outside the home, scheduling some you-time can be a lifesaver. It’s important to make sure you’re doing your own thing --that might mean going to the golf course, starting a garage band, or just going out for a burger with a buddy once a week. It's just as important for your partner to have that time, and for the two of you to have time together without your child. When your entire family is completely focused on the baby, it’s just as easy for dad to get lost in the shuffle as it is for mom. 

Last Updated: November 03, 2017