We can never fully anticipate the kind of parent we will become until we actually have children.
However, for men, there are specific traits and habits that can provide a good indication of the type of father they are likely to be.
Things like taking responsibility for themselves, being a positive role model, and much more are essential to raising children.
So, in this article, we’ll be covering 10 signs a man will be a great father, according to psychology.
Let’s dive in!
1) Emotional stability
For a man to be a great father, he needs to be in control of his emotions. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise, after all, we all know children need stability in their lives.
We also know that children learn how to handle their emotions from their parents.
So a father who can control his temper, manage his stress levels, and communicate his feelings healthily will naturally lead to emotionally stable and resilient children.
My friend became a father a couple of years ago. I still remember him helping his toddler navigate those “big emotions” that most two-year-olds go through.
It was clear that his deep understanding of his own emotions helped him to create a safe and supportive environment for his son.
2) Empathy and understanding
Children are challenging. There’s no two ways about it, even the most angelic child can and will push your buttons one day.
But a man who has empathy and understanding won’t see this as something to resent, but rather as an opportunity to connect with their child and find out what’s going on under the surface.
I wouldn’t say I had a bad dad growing up, but he was quite distant and that could appear apathetic to a hormonal teen who was lashing out.
In contrast, I saw friends whose dads would take the time to sit and listen to them, offering advice or simply just comfort.
And every child needs that.
So the bottom line is, if a man is already an empathetic friend, son, colleague, or neighbor, there’s a good chance he’ll be an empathetic father.
When I mentioned earlier that kids will push buttons, I wasn’t joking!
Even something as simple as getting out of the front door in the morning can turn into a whole fiasco – one lost sock and everything turns to chaos.
So of course, a lot of patience is required.
Because let’s be honest – kids don’t mean to be annoying. When they ask “Are we there yet?” 25,000 times in a one-hour car journey, they’re not intentionally trying to give their parents a migraine.
But a patient man, albeit with a migraine regardless, will be able to take a deep breath, and continue answering his children’s questions, guiding them through the journey just as he’ll guide them through life.
And as Lela Moore writes for Psych Central:
“Although losing our cool every once in a while is almost inevitable, practicing patience with our children is one of the best ways to teach them how to manage their emotions and responses to different situations.”
4) Strong communication skills
Kids learn how to communicate from their parents.
If you scream and shout, they’ll do the same. If you bottle up your emotions, so will they.
That’s why a man with strong communication skills would make an excellent father.
And I’m not just talking about someone who has the gift of the gab – I mean a man who can speak honestly and openly, and who doesn’t give the cold shoulder, or worse, shout and scream whenever he doesn’t get his way.
Not to mention, a man who can effectively set boundaries and explain things to his kids.
The truth is, communication is a crucial part of all our relationships, so his kids will be set up for life if they have a father like this.
5) Responsibility and reliability
Another sign a man will be a great father according to psychology is if he can take responsibility for himself and others.
From the basics, such as making sure his kids are fed and cared for, to later down the line when he needs to deal with the teenage years, it’s crucial he can step up.
So, if a man already shows this capability through his commitment to work, or how he treats his friends and family, there’s a good chance he’ll make a wonderful parent.
And by default, if he’s a responsible person, he should also be pretty reliable.
This is so very important – his kids will know they can turn to him whenever they need him and feel secure knowing he’ll show up for them.
6) Flexibility and adaptability
When it comes to having kids, you might as well throw plans out of the window.
Because all it takes is one tummy bug, one tantrum, or one bad night’s sleep to change everything you had organized.
That’s why a flexible man would make an ideal father.
If, as a childfree person, he doesn’t sweat the small stuff, rolls with the punches, and makes the most out of every situation, he’ll be able to handle the turbulent rollercoaster of being a parent.
7) Positive role modeling
One thing my dad did well with us kids was to model how to stay positive. He never took anything too seriously and taught us to find the good in everything.
And as an adult, I can see how he applies this mindset to everything he does – at work, with friends, even when he’s at the gym, people come to him for advice because he always makes them feel upbeat and positive.
So, if this is a man’s approach to tackling the tough times in life, there’s a good chance he’ll make an excellent role model to any children he might have in the future.
8) Active involvement in childcare and household responsibilities
In other words, a man who is present and engaged.
And one way to spot that is to see how he partakes in everyday life before kids…
Does he spend quality time with those he loves?
Does he see the value in contributing to the household responsibilities and sharing the load?
If so, there’s no reason he won’t continue this into parenthood.
As psychologist Christopher Peterson Ph.D. writes:
“In general, actively involved fathers provide their daughters and sons with a life-long example of what it means to be a good man, a good husband, a good parent, and a good person, and their children make wiser choices in their own lives as a result of the lessons learned while growing up.”
9) Good problem-solving skills
When my cousin told me he was about to become a dad, I knew he’d be awesome at it. He has most of what I’ve listed above, but one of his specialties is problem-solving.
Whenever someone has an issue, he’s our go-to person.
Nothing is impossible in his eyes, and he’s rarely phased by a challenge.
So it’s only natural that when his little one came along early, the birth plan went to sh*t, the crib wasn’t ready and his wife was losing her mind, he stayed calm.
And now, as a parent to a gorgeous 6-year-old, he’s still there, helping her find ways to mend her doll when it breaks or looking for solutions when dance class falls on the same day as piano recitals.
Behind the scenes, he’s always looking out for his family and ensuring his child has the best possible life, no matter what hurdles are thrown their way.
10) Commitment to personal growth and learning
And finally, if a man shows commitment to bettering himself, no matter his age, he’ll be a good dad.
This shows he sees the value in personal development, but it also highlights that he strives to improve himself.
In other words, he’s not stuck in his ways, refusing to work on his flaws.
And what more can you ask of a person?
As a parent, a man like this will reflect on his behavior and change his ways for the sake of his children.
He’ll also encourage them to become well-rounded individuals who also see the benefit of personal growth.
Because ultimately, that’s what parenting is all about. Being the best example we can be to our children, and guiding them to be the best they can be in life.