8 signs a man is ready to be a dad, according to psychology

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When I think back to my younger years, I can clearly see I wasn’t ready to be a dad.

I didn’t need a therapist to tell me why (the irresponsibleness and somewhat selfish behavior were clues enough!).

Over the years, things started to change in me. I started to change. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was becoming ready to be a dad.

As it turns out, it isn’t just me who experiences these things. According to psychology, lots of men display the same behaviors I did when they step closer to fatherhood.

Think that might be the case with your boyfriend or husband? Keep reading to learn the 8 major signs he’s ready to be a dad!

1) He talks about having a family

The first sign your man is ready to have kids is if he actually talks about it!

A man who doesn’t want kids isn’t going to bring it up at all – you can trust me on that, because I’m the proof!

In past relationships, I avoided the subject like the plague. When kids were mentioned, I stayed quiet or changed topics. I wasn’t ready, I can see that now. And I didn’t want to give anyone the wrong idea.

When my feelings started to change, so did my conversations.

I didn’t just go along to kids’ parties and get drunk. Or visit a waterpark on vacation and think about how much fun I was having.

I started saying things to my (now) wife like, “We’ll do that when we have kids” and “We’ll take our kids to places like this”.

When I met with friends or extended family who had kids, I started asking questions about how much nurseries cost and where they sent their kids to school.

I didn’t realize it, but these conversations I was starting to initiate were all signs that I was becoming mentally ready for the next chapter.

2) He makes family plans

Talking about wanting a family is one thing (and an important thing, no doubt!). But actually making plans is another!

There’s a lot you have to plan and prepare for before you have kids. There’s your finances, of course. Plus your living situation, local area, nearby schools, and your own education on how to raise a child.

You’re never fully ready to have kids, that’s for sure. Countless people put it off until a “better time” (me included), but that better time never comes!

In my experience, people who say this either aren’t sure about the future with their current partner or simply need to take the leap!

Because once you start making plans to sell your car to get a family wagon or move house so it’s renovated and ready for kids, you’re ready for them – whether you realize it or not.

3) He understands the reality of it all

When we’re younger, we tend to think starting a family is all fun and games. Of course, I’m not saying there ISN’T fun and games involved. There’s just a lot of other, not-so-nice stuff, too!

Becoming a parent completely changes your life. Experts often talk about how becoming a parent causes the biggest identity change you’ll ever experience. It alters how you feel about yourself, your relationship, and your life, in general.

There’s a lot of hardship, sleepless nights, money worries, and personal sacrifice that comes with starting a family. When a guy is truly ready to be a dad, he understands the reality of this.

He looks forward to the good stuff, for sure. But he knows it isn’t all about taking your kids to Disneyworld and kicking a ball around in the yard.

He’s fully aware that having kids will change your life forever – and sometimes not in a good way. He’ll have to give things up, work hard, and change some parts of his life entirely. And generally, he’s OK with that.

4) He’s prepared to make sacrifices

Like I said earlier, when you become a parent, you have to make sacrifices. From my experience, I know that most guys don’t really think about this when they say they want kids.

Even I used to be a bit blasé about it! Like my friends, I thought I could still go to the pub with my mates and pursue all my career goals while raising a family at the same time.

But this kind of attitude isn’t fair to your partner. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. Just like motherhood, fatherhood requires personal sacrifice, too.

When he’s truly ready to be a dad, he gets that and he’s ready for it. He knows that things will change and he might not be able to do all the things he currently does.

But he’ll WANT things to change and he’ll be prepared to arrange it.

5) He becomes selfless

When you’re young, you tend to only look out for yourself. It’s why most teenagers and even folks in their twenties don’t even consider having kids!

They’re looking after themselves, first and foremost. And of course, there’s nothing wrong with that! It’s what being young and/or childless is all about.

But when you reach the point of wanting to be a dad, all this “selfish” behavior stops. You become way more selfless than you used to be.

So when your man is ready to have kids, you’ll see these kinds of changes in him. He might start looking after you more than himself. He might volunteer to help friends and family over pursuing his own plans.

Basically, he starts behaving like he’s ready to look after someone else (i.e., a kid). And it’ll show in the way he behaves with everyone in his life.

6) He’s responsible for himself and others

Some people say you can’t love someone when you don’t love yourself. But many experts have disputed this, saying it’s actually BETTER to love someone when you’re insecure because it can help heal you.

What’s truer is the saying that you can’t look after someone else when you don’t know how to look after yourself.

If you’re not responsible for yourself, you can’t possibly be responsible for a kid. You need to know how to do things when you enter fatherhood, like cook meals, do laundry, and clean up after yourself.

You also need to know how to manage your money and your time, to an extent. When you don’t know how to organize a piss-up in a brewery (as the saying goes), you’re not ready for kids yet.

7) He’s scared to have kids

Believe it or not, being afraid of having kids is normally a sign that you’re actually ready! Of course, there are some exceptions.

If the idea terrifies him so much, he doesn’t want to talk about it and the mere IDEA of it makes him want to break up with you (like past me), he isn’t ready at all.

But a bit of fear is actually a good thing. It means he truly understands the reality and responsibility of it all. He knows how big of a deal it is to have kids and he’s afraid of getting it wrong.

It’s like when we’re nervous about an upcoming interview. That normally means we want the job and care about getting it! If we didn’t worry, we probably don’t want it.

So if he’s afraid of messing things up, not having enough money, or about being a good dad, he’s probably more ready than you (and he!) thinks.

8) He takes care of you

I’ve heard all sorts of horror stories about what some guys do when their wife or girlfriend is pregnant.

My best friend’s wife is a midwife and she often tells us how many guys don’t come with their partners to their scans, check-ups, or even emergency hospital visits.

I’ve even heard of guys intentionally skipping the birth of their child to watch a football game – or just sitting on their phone scrolling Instagram the entire time!

It’s shocking and it’s poor, but there are usually advance warnings that a guy is still in this kind of headspace.

Like if he doesn’t take care of you when you’re sick now, he isn’t going to do it when you’re pregnant and having a bad time.

And if he doesn’t want to listen to how bad your day at work was now, he isn’t going to when you’ve had a hard day with the kids, either!

I’m not saying you have to break up with him if he’s “never been like that” when it comes to looking out for you. But if he doesn’t take care of you, he probably isn’t ready to be a dad. He definitely isn’t ready to be the co-parent you need…

Final thoughts

Some guys just aren’t ready to be a dad yet. They aren’t “bad guys” because of it, they’re just not there yet – and maybe never will be.

When a guy is truly on board with taking this next step, it won’t just be a sudden moment of, “I want kids and I want them now”.

In the months leading up to it, he’ll be slowly changing, slowly talking about things more, slowly stepping up, and slowly showing you just how ready he is.

So if you feel like the subject has come out of the blue, but recognize these signs, maybe it hasn’t. Maybe he’s been getting there all along, and you just haven’t seen it yet!

Farley Ledgerwood

Farley Ledgerwood, a Toronto-based writer, specializes in the fields of personal development, psychology, and relationships, offering readers practical and actionable advice. His expertise and thoughtful approach highlight the complex nature of human behavior, empowering his readers to navigate their personal and interpersonal challenges more effectively. When Farley isn’t tapping away at his laptop, he’s often found meandering around his local park, accompanied by his grandchildren and his beloved dog, Lottie.

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