How to Become a Better Father: 8 Tips & Advice

BookSummaryClub Blog How to Become a Better Father: 8 Tips & Advice

What does it mean to become a better father?

As the traditional family setup changes, the art of fatherhood also evolves. Today, family units are increasingly more varied. We now have single parent families, same gender parents, unmarried parents, divorced parents, blended families and multi-generational families.

Talk to a father today and there’s a good chance he will tell you that his relationship with his children today differs greatly from the relationship he has/had with his own father. Today, fathers don’t draw on their own childhood experiences as inspiration to train their own children.

Thirty years ago, the roles of fathers in the children’s lives were paid less attention to. Nowadays, the parenting systems that worked well for a father decades ago might not work at all because of the complex challenges fathers face.

Oftentimes, fathers want to treat their children better than how they were treated by their own fathers. In other words, a modern dad wants to become a better father to his child(ren).

It is for this purpose that I have compiles these positive fathering tips, which will help dads become supporting, engaged and loving to their children.

Let’s dive in!

Respect the mother of your children

Respecting the woman who gave birth to your kids is one of the best things you, as a father, can do for your children. If you’re married to your kids’ mother, then you already know this: keep your marriage healthy. Work on the relationship you have with your wife and keep it strong. Even if you’re not married to the mother of your kids, it’s still vital to respect her at all times.

Don’t contradict or fight your kids’ mother in front of them; don’t even try to abuse her verbally or physically. The way you treat the mother affects your kids’ self-esteem greatly, and it impacts how they will treat themselves and other people when they become adults. Children are intuitive and can sense energies in relationships. If they sense that their mother and father respect each other, they will feel accepted and respected too.

Be kind and loving to their mother. Work at parenting the children as a team. Even when their mother is not around, you should be good to her. There are activities you can do to show the kids that there is love between you and their mother. These activities include:

  • Taking her to dinner
  • Giving her a massage
  • Dividing the house chores with her
  • Taking care of the kids while she’s out
  • Giving her little surprises
  • Exhibiting subtle display of affection

To become a better father, you have to understand that being at peace with the mother of your kids impacts the whole family. When the mother is happy, the children will the happy—and you will be happy, too!

Spend time with your children

This one is actually really complicated because you, as a father, have a life too. You have to have your ‘me time’, go to work, attend meetings, attend religious services (if you’re religious), and 24 hours seem like too little time to get these things done. However, it is very important that, within your very busy schedule, you have some time allocated to spending time with your kids.

In truth, kids gauge the love you have for them by noticing if you spend time with them or not. When you’re too busy to be with your children, they will definitely feel neglected no matter how many ‘I love you’s you say to them.

To become a better father, you have to try to spend your spare time with your kids. I know that when you get home from work, you are often tired and all you want to do is rest. But this is the only time you get with your kids during weekdays and you shouldn’t waste it. Soon, they’ll grow up, move out of the house, and they won’t want to spend much time with you anymore.

Use your time after work to inquire about their day and actively participate in their lives. On weekends, spend as much time with them as possible. Hang out in the garage with them. Take them fishing or skiing or whatever it is they love to do. Do they want to go to the park? Take them. Do they have a debate or football competition coming up at their school? Attend it and cheer them on. Dance with your kids (even if you don’t know how to dance), and help them with homework. If they’re finding a project difficult, stay with them and help them find solutions.

The time you spend with your kids is what will shape their positive memories of you in the future.

Listen to your children

Countless times, I’ve seen fathers speak to their children only when the kids get into trouble. It’s not unusual to see a child tense up immediately someone tells them, ‘Your father wants to talk to you.’ It is not a good thing for a child to fear their father.  

The best way to dissolve that fear is to listen to your child. To become a better father, take time to listen to your children’s problems and ideas. Start this when they are very young. Not only does this make them feel understood and respected, it also helps them know how to handle difficult situations as they grow.

If you don’t know where to start to get your kids to tell you stuff, you can use some of these conversation starters:

  • Tell me the best and worst parts of your day
  • If you could make only three wishes, what would they be?
  • Tell me about your favorite movie, TV show or cartoon
  • What’s your favorite game to play?
  • Have you ever had an imaginary friend? Tell me about them.
  • If you had a million dollars now, what would you do with it?
  • Who do you love? Why?
  • What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done?
  • Tell me your favorite story

These conversation starters help children feel relaxed and encourage them to open up about something they are genuinely interested in.

As a father, it is your natural instinct to want to solve every problem your child is facing. But don’t let that be your first instinct. Your first instinct should be to listen to what your child is saying. If you have to, gently move them in the direction of a solution. Most times, when kids talk, they really just want you to listen.

Listening to your kids demonstrates that you value them. When your children know that you will listen before correcting, they’ll be more willing to talk to you. After all, good communication strengthens relationships.

Show affection to your children

I don’t know where the idea that mothers are supposed to be the affectionate parent, and fathers are supposed to be strict and unwavering came from. This notion just plays into the stereotype that men are supposed to be strong and hide their feelings, that it’s not okay for men to show love and affection openly and unabashedly. This is not right.

As a father, your children need to know that you care for them. Children need the feeling of security that comes from knowing that their father wants, accepts and loves them. Showing your children affection is the best way to give this to them.

Fathers, hug your children, snuggle with them and play with them. Children need physical contact; it is necessary for their growth, and it should be given by both their father and mother.

Watching TV with your kids is great, but it is not enough. Play with them. Do a treasure hunt. Have a pillow fight. Go outside and play sports. Play Mortal Kombat or Pokemon with your kids. Show them how to have fun and be happy.

Your ability, as a father, to make your young children laugh can benefit their emotional development.

Be a good role model to your children

It is one thing to tell your children what they should do, and it is quite another to do the things you want your children to emulate. It is completely shitty to tell your children one thing and do something different.

Most times, children emulate the things their parents do, not what they say. Children watch the behaviors of their parents closely and internalize their actions. Drug abuse or excessive drinking/smoking by parents will become ingrained in the children’s heads. Behaviors can bad manners, anger, negative thinking, unkindness, greed and laziness can rub off on children.

This is why fathers should be role models to their children. A little girl who has a loving father will grow up to know that she deserves to be treated respectfully by boys. She’ll also know what to look for in a husband if she does decide to get married. Fathers can teach their sons how to be good people in the society by showing them how to be responsible, honest and humble.

Charity, they say, beings at home. To become a better father, you have to realize that the home is the first school in which your children learn about life. Your children watch how you have fun, how you treat others, what you say, how you deal with conflict, and how you relax.

What subliminal messages are you sending your children through the way you live?

Teach your children

Education transcends school buildings and spectacle-wearing pedagogues. Learning about life starts when parents teach their children how to differentiate between right and wrong, and make good choices. To become a good father, you must be involves in your children’s lives and each them, using every day happenings, the basic lessons of life.

Some of the important concepts fathers should teach their children include, but are not limited to:

  1. Love
  2. Humility
  3. Kindness
  4. Responsibility
  5. Discipline  
  6. Self-esteem

Of all the concepts mentioned, the one that many fathers, and parents in general, pay the least attention to self-esteem. High self-esteem is something to be taught to children from a very young age.

It can be difficult to figure out how to teach your child to overcome insecurity and build confidence. However, you can do this by showing—not telling—them how much you love and value them. Spending time with them, listening and talking with them also plays a pivotal role in building confidence in children.

A healthy father-child relationship encourages the development of children’s accomplishments and belief in themselves. Competence in children is promoted by loving fathers who provide firm, but reasonable, guide.

To become a good father, don’t withhold praise whenever your children do the right things. Don’t reprimand and discourage your children all the time. It has been proven, after all, that most children with high self-esteem have loving, affectionate fathers.

Yes, it is much easier to be an authoritarian father, but this will mean that you’re teaching your child to submit to your will (and the wills of others) even if it means forfeiting their own happiness. Instead of this, teach your child how to make reasonable and fair decisions. Kids like having freedom to make their own decisions. Allow them to do this within the limits you have set for them. This way, they’ll grow up to become more capable.

Don’t lose your temper or patience with your children. Anger and frustration never bodes well for kids and you must remember that if you really want to become a better father to your children. When you start to get flustered or angry, take a deep breath and remove yourself from that area.

Practicing patience with your children can help the familial relationship blossom.

Read to your children

This is one of the most important things you can do for your children, especially in their formative years. Reading to your children is not just a way to entertain them or make them sleep; the process is actually very educative for both you and your kids.

In fact, medical experts recommend that parents read to their children before they’re even born. In their formative years, reading to your children creates a bond between you and them. You are, by reading to them, telling them cool stories that they can learn some morals from. You also showing them the benefits of reading, which is one of the most crucial skills anyone can have.

The time you spend reading to your children is time that you and them will cherish for a very long time. Through this time spent, you can get to know your children and they can get to know you as a father.

Share the responsibilities

There is no such thing as ‘mom duties’. Things like bathing, changing diapers, feeding and rocking your children to sleep in the middle of the night aren’t duties that only mothers should do. To become a better father, you must engage in these activities as well. Share them equally with your children’s mother, if possible. These tiny moments present opportunity for you to bond with your child.

Instead of feeling begrudged when presented with duties like these, leap at them. This is how you begin to forge a life-long close relationship with your kids. Don’t be one of those fathers who leave their wives to do all these things on their own.

Get involved in your children’s lives from the very day they were conceived. You’ll never regret it.


The journey to become a better father takes a lot of patience and unlearning of stereotypes, but it is not impossible. The best way to be a great father to your children is to work on yourself and make yourself better as a man first. Then you can implement these eight tips to help you get to your destination faster.

  1. Respect the mother of your children
  2. Spend time with your children
  3. Listen to your children
  4. Show affection to your children
  5. Be a good role model to your children
  6. Teach your children
  7. Read to your children
  8. Share the responsibilities

Hey, I’m Erik… a Swedish university student, marketing professional, and life-long learner. Here at BookSummaryClub I summarize my favorite non-fiction books into easily digested posts. Hope you like what you’re reading!

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