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to wonder what makes some men qualify as a good dad

(16 Posts)
clam Sun 21-Nov-10 18:26:32

So many posters on here relate tales of their DPs being complete and utter arses, but then modify it by saying "but he's a great dad."

So.... what makes a good dad? What do we mean by it? Someone who takes the kids down the park for an hour each Sunday? Or whose idea of interacting with the kids is to tell them to shift out the way of the TV when the footie's on? Or a SAH dad who spends all his time knitting macrame yoghurt pots with the kids when it's raining? One who does all the night-time get-ups?

I'm really interested to know...

MumNWLondon Sun 21-Nov-10 18:29:43

I'll answer.

I don't really get on with BIL (complete arse etc). He winds me up and is rude and unreasonable to SIL.

But he is very good with his 2 DSs.

eg will look after them all day on saturday so SIL can have rest. Will come home from work early to put them to bed (SIL works mad hours). Will really engage with them.

create Sun 21-Nov-10 18:36:11

Just before my wedding, I was given a book by the vicar on "marriage" I've no idea where it is now and don't remember anything from it apart from "the best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother"

That really stuck with me. My Dad was a lazy so and so at home, but I always knew absolutely that he would always be there, because it was so apparent that mum was (and is) incredibly important to him.

AFAIC it's not possible to be a good dad and be an arse to the children's mother. I get that things happen and you can't always stay together, but you can at least treat the mother of your children with respect.

Bumperlicious Sun 21-Nov-10 18:37:33

DH does night wakings, with dd1 anyway, dd2 is bfed. He worked part time so he could look after DD1, he take an interest in her, reads her stories, gives me a break when i need it.

That's a good dad, though it is no more than what I do, yet my mum and MIL insist on making a huge fuss about him being such a good dad, because 'not all men would do it' hmm

Dolittlest Sun 21-Nov-10 18:39:04

The two go hand in hand, for me. Good Dad has to be part of the overall 'Good Man' package. So, no - I don't understand posters who say 'my husband slappped me / called me a whore / shags prostitutes....but he's a great dad'. Really? How so?

stickersarecurrency Sun 21-Nov-10 18:41:03

I don't think a man who treats the mother of his children badly can be a good dad, because he's teaching his children that it's ok to do so.

ladyfirenze Sun 21-Nov-10 18:56:12

my ex and I have, in the past, had dreadful issues due to his aggressive behaviour towards me. I dealt with this in the best way that I could at the time, which meant there was a period of four months when he had no contact with dts (then age 4.10) I arranged some mediation sessions, which, to be perfectly honest, he behaved like a twat in. The mediator was amazing though, and refused point blank to discuss anything other than future arrangements for the kids.

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make, is, that throughout this entire thing, he has wanted to be a good father.

Even though he has gotten it soooo wrong at times, he eventually came to understand the point that being a shit to me affects his relationship with his kids (as I won't drop them off/have him at the house to collect them)

sometimes men have no idea of the knock on effect. This doesn't always mean they are inherently bad. My ex really really loves the boys, and WANTS to do his best. I think it is that which qualifies him as a good parent.

ladyfirenze Sun 21-Nov-10 18:57:19

and I do still regularly think he's a bit of a wanker. sigh.

yomellamoHelly Sun 21-Nov-10 18:58:54

To me 'a good dad' is a man who does things with his dc off his own back happily. A 'good man' is one who respects and supports their partner in what they do. I think you can separate the two, but being a good dad is more likely if they're a good man too.

Rocklover Sun 21-Nov-10 19:11:42

My exh thinks he's a great dad when in fact he's pretty shit. He sees DD about once every 4-6 weeks (tbf that's due to the fact I have recently moved further away from him).

BUT he is a teacher and so is able to have her in the school holidays which he does, but for the minimum time possible as he has to fit her in around his all important social life. He expects me to do all the travelling to get dd to him (200 miles or so) and doesn't offer to help out.

Although they have a great time when together he NEVER phones her (dd is 5 and loves speaking on the phone now). He very rarely texts/emails to see how she is and generally seems to forget she exists in between visits. However, by being all sweetness and light to me and super fun dad when they meet up he thinks he's the greatest father ever.

He once came to visit dd at our new house (admittedly a long train journey, but dp and I put him up). He decided he wanted to take her to the beach, which he did...for about 2 hours, but he "had" to get back to ours for an England World Cup game, before leaving straight after it. Dd features way down on his priority list.

Scuse the rant, but it annoys me that he thinks he's so fantastic. Grrrr.

violethill Sun 21-Nov-10 19:15:25

I agree that you cant be a good dad while simultaneously being a bad partner , as its a terrible role model for the children. I think being a good dad is totally wrapped up with being a good person. Some parents might be particulArly good at outdoor play, getting up in the night etc, but those are tasks really, whereas being a dad (or mum) is about the relationship

ladyfirenze Sun 21-Nov-10 19:23:56

so, can you be a shit parent and then become a better one?

BubbaAndBump Sun 21-Nov-10 19:47:28

My DH can be crap with me - forgetful and useless/illogical with things in the home etc but is a brilliant father - he does his fair share of getting up in the night if they wake, he happily (and voluntarily) takes them to the park/swings/library at the weekends, picks them up from nursery/pre-school, cooks for them, plays with them, bathes them, reads to them etc etc. He has so much time for them and rarely loses his temper with them. They know they are loved.

I think you can learn to be a good parent from being a shit one. We often talk things through if either of us feels we've been a bit shit at handling things with them, and although we may not like it at the time, it does help us the next time a similar situation arises.

MrsNonSmoker Sun 21-Nov-10 21:44:16

My DC literally broke my heart when she told me about the Roald Dahl book "Danny the Champion of the World" and how she longed to get an "eye smile" from her Daddy. In the book, Danny says he knows his Dad loves him because he gives him a smile with his eyes - "you can pretend to smile, but you can't fake an eye smile".

So to me (and her) that's what would make a good father.

MrsMoosickle Sun 21-Nov-10 21:48:59

MrsNonSmoker, I was a bit sad at your post. As a child I would have wished the same.

Mrs M

PartialToACupOfMilo Mon 22-Nov-10 00:08:21

My dh is a great dad (also a great dh). He does 50% of everything with regard to dd. We both work full time with 2 days off a week and have arranged for those to be different days to cut down on childcare. So dd has two full days with daddy and two full days with me each week. The rest of the week, as I start and finish work earlier than him, he gets her up, does all the morning dressing, breakfast etc with her gets her to the CM. Then I pick her up and do all the evening things with her.

I don't think there is anything (other than BFing!) that I have done for her that dh hasn't. I also know he's a great dad as at 11 months old dd's pretty much as happy to be with him as she is with me and I'm fairly sure the only advantage I have comes from the boobs!

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