7 Dad Mistakes We All Make

parenting Jun 23, 2020
Dad University
7 Dad Mistakes We All Make

Look, we’re all human — and that means we mess up sometimes. However, as fathers, our mistakes can feel magnified due to the weight of responsibility we carry. Still, what’s important is that we learn from our mess-ups. That involves acknowledging our mistakes as a father and doing better next time.

The real struggle is when we don’t realize that we’ve made a mistake — or even if we do realize it, our stubbornness and pride get in the way of correcting our mistakes. 

Thankfully, you’ve got us here to show you the way! In this blog, we’ll walk you through the seven dad mistakes we all make at some point. Let’s dive right in!

1. We Do Too Much for Them

As dads, it’s natural for us to want to make our kids’ lives easier by doing things for them. Sometimes though, this can turn into a big mistake. 

If you constantly do everything for your children — from carrying their bags to cleaning up their room — they won’t learn important life skills. It’s alright to do everything for babies and toddlers, but once your kids are capable of doing things for themselves, you need to learn to let them do it.

Always remember, your kids won’t stay kids forever. They need to learn how to be independent, to take responsibility, and more. These life skills take time to build up and cultivate, so starting young is crucial.

Of course, you can help them out — especially if they ask for it — but treat it as something special, not something they should expect daily.

2. We Yell Too Much

We get it, being a dad is tough and sometimes our kids can be a handful. However, yelling constantly isn’t the best way to handle things. Not only does it create a tense environment at home, but it also teaches your children that yelling is an acceptable way to communicate.

Yelling isn’t even that effective of a parenting technique! Eventually, the people you constantly yell at will learn to tune you out. Yelling even louder will only work to a certain extent.

Instead of raising your voice, take a moment to calm down and communicate with your kids calmly. Listen to your kids rather than yelling over their explanations. This will be more helpful in resolving any situation. It might take more effort, but it will create a healthier and more positive dynamic at home.

3. We Don’t Apologize to Our Kids

Apologizing is never easy, especially when it’s to our kids. As dads, it might feel like admitting fault could undermine our authority, but it’s actually the opposite.

When we apologize, we’re modeling important behavior for our children. We’re showing them that it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as we acknowledge them and learn from them. It demonstrates humility and the ability to let go of pride, teaching our kids the value of personal growth.

More importantly, apologizing can also help repair any emotional damage caused by our mistakes. It shows our kids that we care about their feelings and value their well-being.

4. We Don’t Use Enough Positive Reinforcement

As dads, we can be quick to criticize and point out our kids’ mistakes. Focusing on the negative often comes at the expense of overlooking the positive they do. This can lead our kids to feel constantly judged and discouraged.

How many times have you heard someone say, even as adults, that they’ve never felt good enough for their dad? It’s a common sentiment — and one that we should strive to avoid.

Positive reinforcement goes a long way in building their confidence and self-worth. It doesn’t have to be something big or grand. Thank them for picking up their toys, praise them for doing their homework without you nagging them, or thank them for playing nice with their siblings or neighbors.

5. We Don’t Give or Show Enough Affection

Affection isn’t just for moms — it’s something for dads, too! Unfortunately, after many years of stigma, many dads still struggle with showing affection, some seeing it as a sign of weakness.

Showing love and affection towards our children is key to a strong father-child relationship. It also makes our kids more well-adjusted and emotionally stable. It helps them feel loved, secure, and connected to their parents.

Moreover, as your kid grows into a teen, the affection you showered while they were young can help you connect with them, helping them feel closer to you and trust you more.

6. We Lack Empathy

One of the most common father mistakes we make is not putting ourselves in our kids’ shoes — in other words, not showing empathy for what they may be feeling or going through. This mistake often comes together with the lack of affection.

Sometimes, our kids just need us to listen and empathize with them. This might mean sitting through a tantrum or listening to their rants about school drama. Let your kids know that their feelings are valid. Offer support and reassurance that you are there for them, no matter what.

This helps them develop their emotional intelligence and teaches them how to handle their own emotions in a healthy way. Empathy can help you minimize arguments, too — especially when you have teens.

7. We’re Not Present When We Should Be

With busy work schedules and other responsibilities, it’s common to not spend as much time with our children. The saying “quality, not quantity” applies in these situations.

If you can’t be physically present as often as you want, then make a concentrated effort to be fully present for the times you are there. If you promise to be there for a school event, then make sure to keep that promise. If you agree to play a board game, then don’t play half-heartedly while checking your emails.

Don’t let your attention be on your gadgets when you should be spending time with your child. No one wants to feel ignored, especially when they’re meant to be spending quality time with someone. 

Lessons Learned: Growing From Our Mistakes as a Dad

We bet you recognize a few of these dad mistakes as ones you’ve already committed at some point. There’s no shame in that though! Like we said, what’s important is learning from them and doing better. 

Just keep trying to improve, and don’t give up easily. Remember — our mistakes as a dad are our stepping stones to evolving into a better person and a better father. If you need any advice on how to change and do better, Dad University is always here for you!

Listen to the podcast episode here:

Watch the "7 Dad Mistakes We All Make" video here:

Enjoy this article?
Get unlimited access to Dad University

The #1 educational platform for dads. Join our growing community of fathers from around the world!

Become a Member