5 Ways To Stop Feeling Dad Guilt

lifestyle Nov 22, 2021

Parenting is one of the toughest jobs in the world, but feeling dad guilt can make it even tougher. Sometimes you feel like you are failing as a parent.

If you are experiencing dad guilt, the important thing to remember is that you’re not alone in this feeling. Many fathers share similar thoughts, and dad guilt doesn't make you a bad father. Remember that your kids need and want both of their parents.

The goal of this article is to shine a light on the reality of the situation and eventually help you cope up with what you feel.

Why Is There Dad Guilt?

Dad guilt presents itself in many ways. Whether you are an expectant father or a new dad, you will face situations and experiences that will cause your feelings of guilt to arise.


Expectant Dad

Everyone knows that the mother is the one who carries the child – but while the baby is still in her womb, there are things expectant dad needs to do, too. For example, accompanying his wife to OB visits or supporting her through physical changes and emotions.

However, not all dads can do all these things. They may need to go to work or attend meetings. And, because of this, expectant dads often feel guilty.

New Dads

New dads can feel guilty of quite a few things. The guilt of not being able to do everything possible for their newborn. Guilt from the fact that they’re not spending enough time with their partner or baby. Guilt when they feel like they’re not earning enough money for their family. And the list goes on.

Being a first-time father carries a sense of responsibility that results in guilt when you are unable to fulfill expectations.

Dad of Young Kids

Dads vary in their parenting styles towards young children, but the one thing that remains consistent among many dads is guilt. Sometimes it's because you feel like a bad parent. Other times it’s because you're not spending enough time with your kid. As your child grows up, you can't be with them in all capacities and you start to feel bad about missing out on time with them.

You might ask yourself, "How could I miss my child's first day of school?" or “How could I miss my kid’s performance?” Or, you might lose your patience and yell at your child.

Divorced Dads

Dads who are divorced often face guilt, as well. They might feel bad for their children and that they’re from a broken family. Or, they might feel guilty about the relationship they had with their ex-partner.

Along with this, there’s a term called “guilty father syndrome” that applies in this case. It often refers to dads who feel guilty of breaking up the family. Perhaps they feel personally responsible for the divorce and what’s happened to their family because of it.

Tips to Stop Feeling Guilty

If you are a father, there is no doubt that the experienced feeling of dad guilt is common. It should not be condoned or ignored because it can lead to feelings of isolation, frustration, and even depression.

Know That You Can’t Be Great at Everything

You should understand that you can’t be great at everything all the time. Sometimes you are good at certain aspects of being a father but fall short in other important areas. You can be a great dad today and fall behind on work responsibilities, for example. The key is just choosing and balancing what you want to be great at.

However, remind yourself that at the end of the day, you are limited by human nature. There is no one, whether they’re a dad or not, who can give their all to everything.

Communicate with Your Child

If your child is old enough, sit down and talk to them about their expectations and what they want. Communicating allows you to know what’s important for them and at the same time, it will ease your guilt. If you can’t attend all their school events, for example, ask them which ones are most important to them.

Admit It and Own It

Everyone feels guilty about something at some point. You shouldn’t feel bad about admitting it – instead accept it and work to move on from it.

Oftentimes, guilt emerges for a reason. If there’s something you’re lacking in that’s causing the guilt, own up to it rather than denying it.

Do Something About It

Building off the last point, if you know why you’re feeling guilt, then do something to address it. For example, if you were working the entire day and weren’t able to spend time with your child, make it a priority to spend time with them.

Stop Comparing Yourself

There’s no need to compare yourself to others. Just remember to be the best father you can be, and you’ll be a good one. Comparing yourself to other people is something that can tear you down because there will always be someone who has it better than you.

Remember that your kids love you and think you’re awesome.

Don't compare yourself with others, especially online. No one really knows what is going on behind the computer screen and everyone's situation is different. Simply focus on what you do and the impact that you have on your children.


Being a dad is difficult but it’s one of the most rewarding endeavors you can take on. If sometimes you’re like a guilty father, try following our tips above.

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