10 non-obvious signs a man will make an excellent father, according to psychology

“You’re going to be an amazing father someday.”

For any man aspiring to fatherhood, these words carry profound meaning, particularly when spoken sincerely. 

What leads someone to say this and mean it? What are the attributes of a man that mark him out to be a prime candidate for fatherhood?

Taking a look at the insights of psychology, we can gain sharper insight into the qualities and signs that indicate a man will be a great father. 

Let’s delve into these traits. 

1) He’s comfortable around kids

A pivotal indicator of a man’s dad potential lies in his demeanor around children. 

Do kids like him? And even more importantly, does he like kids?

While not every prospective father immediately exhibits a natural affinity for youngsters, a genuine fondness for and engagement with kids often manifest early on. 

A good dad strikes a balance between being a friend and an authoritative figure deserving of respect and obedience.

He is able to put himself in the shoes of youngsters and see things from their point-of-view.

As psychologist Dr. Carol Morgan observes

“Ever tried to get that cookie from the top shelf and just…couldn’t? That’s daily life for your pint-sized explorer. Putting yourself in their shoes, understanding their frustrations and joys, is a game-changer.”

2) He’s kind and caring to animals and other people

How people treat animals also says a lot about them. 

Men who have a rough attitude around critters often end up being over-aggressive and disciplinarian dads without much compassion or patience for their kids. 

A man’s treatment of pets can offer insight into his future role as a father. 

Does he demonstrate compassion and attentiveness to their needs? Such traits often translate into a nurturing attitude toward children.

As animal behavior expert Zazie Todd, PhD. notes:

“My late dogs knew who was kind to them. They were always excited to see the people who would give them a treat (having checked it was okay with me), or who knew just the right spot for scratches.”

3) He’s happy at home and adept at practical things

Good dads don’t have to be homebodies, but being oriented to domestic tasks and a domestic mindset or at least comfortable with it certainly doesn’t hurt. 

If he’s always wanting to go off on grand adventures with his friends or life-risking ventures, it doesn’t bode well for his ability to be a consistent and dependable dad. 

Fatherhood entails substantial time at home, involving myriad domestic responsibilities. 

A man poised to excel as a dad embraces this aspect, finding fulfillment in household tasks and actively participating in childcare duties.

This includes patience when things go wrong and being able to have a sense of humor about the inevitable frustrations that come with raising children.

“If a dad can chuckle when his pristine white walls are turned into a crayon masterpiece or when the family dog suddenly sports a blue hue, he’s got the golden touch,” observes Morgan.

4) He’s affectionate but also knows how to set boundaries

A good dad embodies warmth and compassion while upholding necessary boundaries and rules. 

This isn’t an easy balance to strike, and many men end up far too much on one side or the other:

They get set off and overly angry and reactive to people and situations or overly passive and “anything goes” in their mentality. 

Striking this balance ensures a loving yet structured upbringing, earning the genuine affection and respect of children, which is why it’s a key marker of who will be a positive dad or not. 

“Children need both nurturance and structure, but it’s easy for parents to wind up splitting the jobs rather than doing both,” notes psychologist Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W.

5) He’s self-motivated and self-disciplined 

habits of disciplined people for achieving success according to psychology 10 non-obvious signs a man will make an excellent father, according to psychology

Parenting is far from a walk in the park. It includes a lot of situations where doing nothing is the easiest option but where inaction will later add up into more and more inconvenience. 

Parenting demands initiative and diligence; hence, a proactive approach is indispensable. 

Laziness and a lack of drive undermine effective parenting, necessitating a focus on cultivating self-motivation and accountability.

When times get stressful, does a man shrink back and make excuses or does he stand up and do his best to face and resolve things as calmly as possible? 

As psychology writer Lewis Humphries puts it:

“Those with the potential to be great fathers are able to control these negative emotions and manage similar situations with genuine grace. They can also strike a compromise with others and communicate calmly, even during times of stress or duress.”

6) He comes from a strong family background

While not a rock-solid determinant, hailing from a stable family environment can provide valuable models for effective parenting. 

However, individuals from diverse family structures can also thrive as fathers, provided they’ve addressed past challenges and emerged stronger.

While a stable family background indicates that a man has the solid footing for having grown up with a positive example of fatherhood and paternal influence, it’s not a must. 

For the many of us men who don’t come from a stable family background, doing inner work and reflecting on our own fathers can be enormously helpful. 

As Taibbi advises:

“It’s helpful for you to move beyond the one-dimensional view of your father that you probably walked out of your childhood with.  Updating your view of him can help you change your view of yourself and reduce your fear of making his mistakes.”

7) He’s culturally attuned to being a father

Fundamentally, a genuine desire and commitment to fatherhood lay the foundation for effective parenting. 

While some may grow into the role, an intrinsic motivation to be a good dad significantly enhances one’s suitability for the task.

Much of this comes down to cultural conditioning and contending with what we grew up. For a man who grew up with ideas that raising kids is a “woman’s work,” he won’t make a very responsible or helpful dad.

“Very often, it’s all about common stereotypes: many men still believe that changing diapers, washing bottles, and reading bedtime stories are exclusively women’s prerogatives.

This results in quarrels, misunderstandings, fatigue, multiplied by resentments, and the rapid destruction of relationships,” explains psychology writer Miranda Davis.

8) He pays attention to detail and is a good listener

Being a parent entails being an attentive listener and remembering what’s been said. There’s minimal room for glossing over things or not truly listening. 

Attentiveness to nuances and empathy toward others’ needs are hallmarks of a good father

Whether it’s accommodating allergies or addressing fears, a father’s ability to notice and respond to intricate details fosters a nurturing environment.

If a guy is a great listener and remembers what’s said, he’s got definite high-potential in the father department. 

As Morgan points out:

“Being a good dad isn’t about reaching a final, polished state of perfection. It’s about the journey, the growth, and the heartfelt attempts. It’s about rising after every fall and learning with every twist and turn.”

9) He earns the respect of his friends and colleagues

Effective parenting hinges on maintaining discipline and earning respect. 

A father must uphold his principles while fostering a supportive and enjoyable atmosphere, embodying authority without sacrificing approachability.

A man who will make an excellent father naturally draws the respect of other people around him:

His work colleagues, his friends, his family and other people he comes across in life naturally respect him and appreciate him. 

His integrity, self-confidence and competence speaks for itself, and people respond accordingly. 

10) He’s financially responsible and has minimal bad habits

Sound financial management and a sense of responsibility toward obligations reflect a man’s readiness for fatherhood. 

Families are expensive in so many ways, both expected and unexpected. 

The way a man manages his money speaks volumes about his readiness to be a dad and handle those costs and demands on the financial side of things. 

Prioritizing family needs and navigating life’s demands with prudence and foresight are integral to successful parenting.

“Good fathers have a desire to financially support their family and reinforce good money management principles,” points out Humphries.

Dad potential

If a man displays many of the non-obvious signs above then he’s well attuned to being a high-quality and much-loved dad

Of course, every dad is different, but when these qualities and traits are present it’s a definite sign that a guy is on the path to being a dependable and trustworthy dad. 

As Taibbi notes:

“No two fathers are alike—their style is a blend of their unique personality and strengths—but good fathers do have certain traits in common.”

Picture of Paul Brian

Paul Brian

Paul R. Brian is a freelance journalist and writer who has reported from around the world, focusing on religion, culture and geopolitics. Follow him on www.twitter.com/paulrbrian and visit his website at www.paulrbrian.com

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