3 Ways Dads Make Their Kids Feel Like a Burden

As the kids splashed in the cool water and waves, their dad laughed right along with them as he joined in the fun. You could tell they were having a blast together and creating lasting memories. But not too far down the beach’s shore was another family. As the kids tried to have fun playing in the water, the parents, far too concerned with getting their nap and their tan, were frustrated by their own children’s presence. Children are not a burden and should never feel that way.

We’ve all seen annoyed and irritated parents who looked like they didn’t want to be parents at that moment. We’ve probably been that parent ourselves a time or two. But it’s important to remember that children are not a burden—they’re a blessing. We need to communicate that to them, but unfortunately, there are times we unintentionally communicate the opposite. Here are 3 ways dads sometimes make their kids feel like a burden.

1. Ignoring Your Kids When They Speak

Have you ever noticed a child trying to talk to a parent and the parent is obviously ignoring the kid, hoping she’ll get the hint? And what inevitably happens? The parent finally loses their cool and yells at the child for not being quiet. I’ve been guilty of being a distracted dad. When this has happened, my youngest son would often grab my chin and turn my face to look him in the eyes. Kids need to be heard and seen, especially by their dads. Regularly ignoring a child’s thoughts and feelings makes the child feel like a burden.

Pro-tip: Choose to look and listen when your child speaks. In a world where kids are often overlooked or treated as an inconvenience, giving kids your undivided attention makes them feel valued. When your child is speaking, put your phone away, and engage. Maybe even get down on one knee and look your kids right in the eyes when they’re speaking. Making their thoughts and feelings matter to you makes them feel like they matter to you.

When your child is speaking, put your phone away, and engage.

2. Getting Frustrated by Your Child’s Presence

Like what I saw at the beach, it happens often—parents who always seem sharp and on edge with their kids. This might look like a dad yelling at his kids to leave him alone or go to anther room when he’s watching TV. Or maybe a dad not having time for little things that matter to his child that he makes clear don’t matter to him. Again, children are not a burden. One of our primary roles is to nurture the heart of the child with patience. When we do this, kids won’t feel like a burden to us.

Pro-tip: Actively enjoy your child’s presence. When kids know you are spending time with them, it’s important that you be fully present and express your enjoyment of being with them. Play, talk, laugh. In a world full of family chaos, families that enjoy being together aren’t only rare, but they’re peaceful and refreshing. Be one of those families.

3. Complaining About Your Child to Others

This might be a sarcastic comment at a restaurant like, “Man, I could be ordering an expensive steak if I didn’t have all these little mouths to feed.” Or maybe it’s in a dad saying to another dad, “Now that I have kids and a family, I just don’t have any time to do the stuff I want to do anymore.” Kids are negatively affected when they hear comments like these because these comments imply that kids are a burden rather than a blessing.

Pro-tip: Intentionally speak life into your child daily. Rather than complaining about your kids, find ways to engage with them through compliments and conversations. I recently heard about “the 5-minute rule.” Statistics show that dads who spend just five minutes a day in purposeful conversation with their kids have a much greater chance at long-term success. This is the value of having small and slow conversations with our kids that fill up their love tanks rather than deplete them.

Sound off: How can you go out of your way today to show your kids they are loved?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is one thing you wish I did more?”