T Nation

The Fatherhood Thread

This is a topic I’ve wanted to start for a while, but always felt apprehensive about doing so for some reason.

I’m sure I could come up with a better title, but I prefer simplicity, and the chosen name ‘bout sums it up.

I want this to be a place where all things fatherhood can be discussed, and everyone is welcome. It can be where existing fathers can bring up issues they’re having, prospective fathers search for preemptive advice, sons or daughters learn what makes other dads “tick” to better understand their own, wives and mothers offer their own perspective so we dads can learn, or anything and everything in between.

I love my own dad, but we had serious issues when I was growing up, because he silently struggled with his own demons and stubbornly refused to let anyone one in and help. As I grew and became a father myself, I saw a lot of the same issues arise. He and I have had dialogue, and worked on a lot of healing, but I still have a long way to go.

So let’s support one another – fathers, husbands, sons, daughters, wives and mothers – and try to be the best dads we can, passing that on to the next generation.


Good one! I’m a dad too. In fact, in a few hours we’re going to have my sons 9th birthday.


We’re having my son’s 2nd birthday later today also! What a coincidence.

Part of my reason for finally starting this thread was due to that fact; I’ve been reflecting on the last two years, and the main conclusion I came to was that I wish I had a “support” group of dads. A brotherhood of fatherhood, if you will. What better place than a community I already respect and care about?


That’s interesting. I’ve kind of always wanted something like this. Like 11 or so years ago when we were planning to have a child ALL of my buddies were on board and “Yeah, dude, do it!” which was cool. What was not cool was that as life piled up on each of them one takes a job out of town, the other is “taking a break” (wtf?), and their marriages all dissolved in quick succession.

Now the only conversations I’ve had with any of the old gang have been, “Hey! You want to…”

Them “Nah. She has the kids this weekend and I’m mumblemumble…something on the other side of town…”.

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I’ll likely be commenting later. I actually joined a monthly homeschooling fathers’ meetup. Though i dont know if I will be definitely be homeschooling, I am glad there are other fathers who are interested in sharing their experiences, goals and concerns.

Thanks for starting this.


I guess it’s time to make an anonymous account so that I can participate in this thread. I guess a good username would be gnahw


OMG , I was actually tempted to ask for a thread like this.

One of my favourite things to read on this forums is all the cool dad stories/moments

I do have a question of sorts:
My mum has been on a roll blaming my dad for everything. One consistent theme is that my dad has/had been negligent with my little brother.
My dad is very confused and thinks he’s put in a lot of effort- taking little brother to practices and games, financial support. Mum expected more emotional bonding, something akin to playing catch in the yard. I honestly believe that my dad doesn’t see it as his role to do those things that mum asked for (its not how his parents operated).
From the stuff you guys have shared on here, it seems like mum was right. Dad didn’t do enough for little bro. My question is: where did you guys learn this? At what point did you guys figure out that being a good dad is more than being a chauffeur and bank account?
Also, what could be some reasons that he “was a good dad” for me but not for my brother?

I never planned to be a father. I come from generations of abusive craziness on my dad’s side, and I planned on ending the cycle with me. God laughs at our plans. My first wife had a 4 year old daughter when we met, and my wife was pregnant with my son soon after. So I ended up raising the daughter until she left for the Air Force. We divorced when my son was in 6th grade, and I got custody. After 3 years of being single, I met and married a wonderful woman who was raising 4 boys ages 3, 5, 5, and 13 (the youngest three being on the spectrum). So I’ve had a hand in raising 6 kids now. Honestly, I’m not very good at it. I never thought about what kind of father I wanted to be because I never planned on being a father. My first wife was not very maternal at all, but my wife now is an amazing mother. I still feel like I’m winging it.


Guys tend to be so bad at this. The only role model for fatherhood I have is my own, for good or bad.

More to add later.


This is something I’ve noticed. I’ve seen countless mum’s groups but rarely ever a dad’s group.

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Just remember to factor in context such as cultural background. The question then becomes a little trickier to answer


Well, mum is also Chinese through and through.

I think the bigger factor is how they were raised. Mum’s dad was very active in raising her. My dad’s dad (and mum for that matter) were very hands off.

I was more wondering how the ppl here figured it out given that ,from what I understand, quite a few of them didn’t exactly grow up with good examples

I was trying to point out that you’ll get a wide array of answers here for that, some of the answers coming from people of western culture, so they may or may not necessarily apply

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That’s what I was hoping for

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I want to properly engage with what everyone’s said. Your messages have been seen, replies forthcoming!


Being a dad is some hard shit

I’ve learned more about myself in the last 3 years of fatherhood than the 39 years that came before it.

And a lot of it is some hard brutal shit.

All tempered however by those moments when your wee girl comes in for a cuddle or sings a daft wee song.


Best job I ever had!


I think you’ve pretty much summed up the entire situation there. Sounds like (from a very distant vantage point) your dad tried his best to show love and be a good dad in the way he knew. That should be recognised and appreciated.

The way I parent is very much a direct response to how I was brought up. My parents were very good at providing. In my mums case, she was a fantastic “housewife” for want of a better word. In my dad’s case, he was great at providing financially. Emotionally, they have always been fairly distant and have always found it difficult or uncomfortable to express feelings in the way that most people would. I had to learn how to do these things from friends later in life. It’s been important for me to realise though that the care they provided me (and still do, given the opportunity), is their way of showing love and is just as valid as other people’s methods.

With my own kids, I try to balance all of the above. I will likely never be able to do as much for my kids as my mum did for me, or provide financially as well as my dad, but I aim to bring other things to the table that they weren’t able to. I think that is the only thing you can ask for: that you do your best in the environment you’re in and with the skillsets you have. I’m sure both of my parents did that, and I’m fairly sure your dad did too.


Thank you.

This is much appreciated


Different people have different needs. I don’t want to go into the whole “Love Languages” thing because it seems like such an overwrote theory, but different people have different needs.

Also, father-daughter relationships are often very different to father-son relationships.