10 signs a man will be a good father, according to psychology

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There’s a world of difference between a man and a good father.

The difference lies in certain key characteristics. A good father is not just someone who provides for their family, but someone who nurtures, guides, and supports their children unconditionally.

According to psychology, there are specific signs that indicate whether a man will be a good father. And it’s crucial to recognize these signs early on, especially if you’re planning a future with this person.

Here, I’m going to list down 10 signs that indicate a man’s potential for being an excellent father.

Let’s dive in. 

1) Emotional Intelligence

Psychology points to emotional intelligence as a key sign of a good father.

Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is the ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. It’s a quality that plays a significant role in parenting.

A man with high EQ isn’t just aware of his feelings but can also empathize with others, including his children. He can understand their emotional needs and respond appropriately, which is crucial in building strong, healthy relationships.

Consider the words of the renowned psychologist Daniel Goleman, “Emotional intelligence begins to develop in the earliest years… the small exchanges children have with their parents, teachers, and with each other carry emotional messages”.

As Goleman suggests, it’s these early interactions with emotionally intelligent parents that shape a child’s own emotional understanding. 

If you see a man who can navigate his emotions and those of others well, it’s a promising sign that he’ll be a good father.

2) Patience

Patience is another important trait of a good father. And I’ve had personal experience with this one.

I remember when my son was learning to ride a bike. He fell over and over again, scraped his knees, cried out in frustration. But my husband, well, he never lost his cool. He just smiled, encouraged our son to get back up and try again, and provided gentle guidance until our boy finally got the hang of it.

In those moments, I saw the power of patience. It allowed my husband to support our son during a tough learning process without adding additional pressure or stress.

A man who displays patience in everyday life is likely to carry that virtue into fatherhood—making challenges seem less daunting and creating a nurturing environment for his children.

3) Willingness to Grow

Let’s be honest. No one is born a perfect father. It’s a role that requires continuous growth and learning.

Fatherhood can be messy, complicated and downright challenging. It will test you in ways you never imagined. But that’s part of the beauty of it.

A good father is someone who embraces this journey, who isn’t afraid to admit when he’s wrong, learn from his mistakes and grow along the way.

Psychoanalyst Carl Rogers once said, “The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn…and change.”

These wise words ring especially true for fathers.

A man who shows a willingness to adapt, evolve and improve? That’s a man who will likely be a good father.

Because he understands that true growth comes from embracing change, not fearing it.

4) Responsibility

Responsibility is a cornerstone of good parenting. And I’ve seen this in action.

I recall a time when my friend’s husband woke up in the middle of the night to change their baby’s diaper, even though he had to be up early for work. He didn’t do it grudgingly but willingly took on the responsibility because he knew it was part of being a father.

Taking responsibility means doing what needs to be done, whether it’s fun or not so much, whether you’re tired or energized. It’s about putting the needs of your children before your own.

Erik Erikson, a pioneering psychologist in the field of child development, once said, “Children cannot be fooled by empty praise and condescending encouragement… They may have to accept artificial bolstering of their self-esteem in lieu of something better, but what I call their accruing ego identity gains real strength only from wholehearted and consistent recognition of real accomplishment.”

In other words, children learn from observing genuine responsibility and commitment.

A man who consistently demonstrates these qualities in his everyday life is likely to bring that same level of dedication to fatherhood.

5) Vulnerability

Vulnerability might not be the first trait that comes to mind when you think of a good father, but hear me out.

Showing vulnerability doesn’t mean being weak. It means being open, honest, and authentic. It’s about expressing emotions, even the uncomfortable ones, and acknowledging mistakes. This honest display of emotions can help children understand that it’s okay to have feelings and not be perfect all the time.

Brené Brown, a research professor and renowned psychologist, has spent years studying vulnerability. She says, “Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.”

A man who isn’t afraid to show vulnerability, to admit when he’s wrong or scared or unsure— that’s a man with the potential to be a great father.

He’s teaching his children an invaluable lesson about bravery, authenticity, and emotional health.

6) Respect

Respecting others, especially children, is a key sign of a good father.

Respect isn’t just about treating others with kindness and decency, although that’s part of it. It’s also about acknowledging children as individuals with their own thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

Respectful fathers don’t dismiss their children’s emotions or belittle their ideas. They listen, validate, and engage in meaningful conversations, teaching their children the value of respect in all relationships.

Child psychologist Haim Ginott highlights the importance of this trait by saying, “Treat a child as though he already is the person he’s capable of becoming.”

A man who respects not just adults but also children, who treats them with dignity and acknowledges their potential, is likely to be a good father.

7) Consistency

Consistency is key in parenting. I’ve found this to be true in my own journey as a mother.

My husband always made it a point to keep his promises to our kids, no matter how small. Whether it was reading a bedtime story or attending their school performances, he was always there. This consistency built trust and security in our children.

Consistency means following through with your words and actions. It’s about setting boundaries and sticking to them, maintaining routines, and fulfilling promises.

As psychologist Albert Bandura said, “In order to succeed, people need a sense of self-efficacy, strung together with resilience to meet the inevitable obstacles and inequities of life.”

And I believe consistency plays a huge role in fostering this sense of self-efficacy in children. A man who demonstrates consistency is one who’ll likely be a good father.

8) Understanding

Let’s get real. Parenting isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of job. Each child is unique, with their own needs, interests, and quirks.

Understanding is about recognizing these differences and adapting to them. It’s about taking the time to really get to know your child, their strengths and weaknesses, their passions and fears.

A good father doesn’t try to mold his child into what he wants them to be. Instead, he seeks to understand who they truly are and supports them on their individual journey.

Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, once said, “Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”

A man who strives to understand his children, who pays attention to their unexpressed emotions and helps them navigate through them—that’s a man who’ll likely be a good father.

9) Playfulness

Playfulness might seem like a surprising trait in this list, but it’s crucial for being a good father.

Play is not just about having fun – it’s a vital part of a child’s development. Through play, children learn essential life skills like problem-solving, creativity, empathy, and resilience.

A good father isn’t afraid to be silly, to engage in imaginative play, or to lose a game to his child. He understands that these playful moments are about much more than just entertainment.

In fact, a study by Cambridge University found that children whose fathers engaged with them in a positive manner – such as through play – had better social and emotional development.

So, a man who can embrace his inner child and engage in meaningful play? That’s a man with the potential to be a great father.

10) Love

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, love. It sounds simple but it’s profound.

I’ve witnessed it in the way my husband looks at our children, in the way he comforts them when they’re upset, in the way he cheers them on in their successes. That’s love. It’s a deep, unconditional affection that’s not dependent on their behavior or achievements.

A good father loves his children for who they are. He expresses this love not just through words but also through his actions – by being there for them, by supporting them, by showing them respect and understanding.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow said, “What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.” And love – genuine, unconditional love – can bring about this transformation.

A man who loves unconditionally? He’s not just likely to be a good father; he’s bound to be a great one.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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