what makes a good dad

5 Ways Dads Need to Be Reliable

A team that’s down and needs to make plays goes to its best players. During a Monday night game last season, the Chiefs were getting beaten badly by the Raiders. They needed to make a move, so they went to a player who had been “old reliable,” someone they’ve counted on for years—tight end Travis Kelce. They put Kelce in positions where the Raiders’ defense needed to focus on him. Since the defense had to focus so much on Kelce, the other receivers could exploit other one-on-one matchups. While Kelce wasn’t the one catching the ball, his reliability as an amazing player helped the team succeed. Dads need the same kind of reliability because it’s what makes a good dad.

One of our main jobs as dads is to train up our kids so they’ll be healthy and thrive, both now and as adults. Being reliable is one of the important components that lets us do that. A dad’s reliability or unreliability has a huge impact on a child’s confidence, sense of self, and overall well-being. Here are 5 ways dads need to be reliable.

1. By Doing What They Say They’ll Do

Our kids need to trust our words. They need to know we’ll back our words with action. This isn’t just in big promises. We need to follow through in the little things. If we say we’ll play with them in five minutes, we need to follow through. If we say they are going to receive a consequence when they’re disobedient, then we need to deliver it. Otherwise, we lose credibility and leave them feeling confused, making their environment uncertain.

2. By Being Present

Some of us have jobs that require a lot of travel, me included. Or maybe you’re divorced, so your time with your kids is more limited. The key here is to be mentally present when you’re with your kids. If you feel yourself starting to drift while they’re telling you a story or you’re tempted to dive into your phone when you’re spending time together, refocus yourself. Remind yourself how important time with your kids is and stay in the moment.

3. By Controlling Their Emotions and Sharing Them

Dads who are volatile or reactive create an environment that feels unstable for children. It causes a lot of anxiety. We need to create an environment that’s safe for our kids, where they aren’t walking on eggshells or afraid Dad will blow up. Controlling our emotions is essential here. But we also need to make sure we aren’t shutting down our emotions. Our kids need to see our vulnerability. Sharing our emotions with them teaches them how to process their emotions and show self-control.

4. By Giving Consistent Teaching

We need to take every opportunity to pass on our wisdom, but more than anything, our teaching needs to be logically consistent. We need to make sure the things we teach our kids aren’t contradictory with what we’ve said in the past, and perhaps more importantly, with what we model. Live what you say.

Don’t expect your kids to do anything you aren’t doing yourself.

5. By Knowing Their Kids

Kids want to be known and seen, especially by their parents. Their friends and peers will be inconsistent at best in caring about them. Your love and attention needs to be a solid pillar in their lives. Make one of your goals to study your kids. Know their passions, likes, dislikes, friends, views, and tendencies as well as you can. They may never recognize it, but it will boost their self-confidence and give them permission to be themselves.

Sound off: What makes a good dad in your opinion?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you think it means to be reliable?”