What It Takes To Be A Good Father

What It Takes To Be A Good Father

dad, Shawn Carpenter, Shawn K. Carpenter, good dad, father, good father, what it takes to be a good father, Montesorri, kids, babies, children, tips for dads

Hey, all you dad’s out there!!! Have you ever wondered that?

What It Takes To Be A Good Father?

Who said, “No?”  You shouldn’t be a dad.

For those who are wondering… I thought I would put together a little article based on my own experiences – with my own dad, with my three beautiful kids, and as a Life Coach and LOA Coach.  So, stick with me for this whole article (don’t worry, it won’t be too long 😉 and I’ll share some tips that you can begin implementing right now!

You know, one of the things that always stood out for me, and has stuck with me as an adult, was that…

…my dad was always there for me. 

You see, as far as I can remember, there was my dad.  Whether it was playing sports in the back yard, helping to nurture me as an artist (I can still remember a tip he gave me on making my title pages really pop in elementary school), or helping push me in my workouts as a teenager – even when I was a being a little shit about it – he was there.  And he never gave up on me.

He has shown me forgiveness, compassion, and a selflessness in his generosity… he has truly shown me a lot of…

…What It Takes To Be A Good Father.

Then there’s my own kids.  As I write this, they are 13, 11, and 8.  My babies.  Funny, my 13-year old is now taller than I am and he has bigger feet than I do!  You know, for all you new dad’s out there – cherish every moment you have with your kids.  You hear it all the time, but it really does go by too fast.  Last night, both my boys – at 11 and 13 – had their first school dances.  Grade five and grade seven (the oldest didn’t have one when he was in grade 5).  And my daughter, now 8 years old, just “graduated” from grade 3 – she’s now moves into upper elementary, which in the Montessori system, means a new class for the next three years.


My three children have shown me so much.  And even knowing what I do, as a coach, I’ve certainly made a lot of mistakes, myself (thank God for mom’s 😉

I think, most of all, they have taught me a lot about joy.  About how to play and just be silly.  As well as imagination and adventure.  Not to mention unconditional love… and forgiveness.  Likewise, they have taught me a lot about myself, and forced me to look at my own triggers – my conditioning – to see where I needed to change.  Kids are GREAT that way – they’ll mirror back to you everything in you that needs healing.  Or change.  Whatever word works for you.  This is true, regardless of your background.

You pass on your conditioning to your children – good or bad.

So, what you don’t like about you, or the parts of you that aren’t working – selfish, angry, depressed, etc, etc – that’s what gets passed on.  And, yeah, the good stuff, too.  But the question then becomes, which qualities will they automatically act out?

More importantly, what qualities would you like them to have?  What do you want your legacy to your children to be?  In other words, ask yourself (and do it often)…

What It Takes To Be A Good Father.

That said, maybe being a good dad isn’t that important to you.

Or maybe, seeing your kids succeed in the eyes of the world isn’t something you value.

Or maybe you just don’t care whether your kids grow up to be confident, contributing and fulfilled human beings.

But if you do, here’s 10 tips you can incorporate right away:

  1. Make time for them.  Even if it’s only 20 minutes a day (if you’re a dad that works away, etc, do this as much as is possible – try a Google “hang out”).  Be PRESENT for them.  Listen to them, and engage with them at their level.
  2. Play with them!  Be silly.  Just do it.  What’s more important – what other people think, or the experience, memory and character you help give your children?  This should be a no-brainer, no matter how stupid you might feel.
  3. Ask them questions.  Find out what they really like.  How their day was.  Know who their friends are and what they’re into.  This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how few dad’s do this (oh, and don’t be an interrogator).
  4. Earn their respect.  You do this through fairness and love – not discipline and rigidity.  (Yes, kids need boundaries.)  Be there for them – let them know that they are safe when they come to share something with you.  Don’t criticize or make fun of them.
  5. Be a man.  Yup.  But not some tough guy who can never do wrong.    Instead, unequivocally own up to your mistakes in front of your kids (particularly as they become teens).  You’re teaching them that making mistakes is natural if you want to succeed.  You’re showing them how to fess up, you’re minimizing future battles, and you’re showing them that you’re a fair guy.  You get it.
  6. Show them affection.  Yeah.  They need it from you just as much as they need it from their mom.  Not only are you fulfilling a fundamental human need, you are showing them how to do the same.
  7. Don’t bribe them.  This is a great trick that I learned.  The next time your upset with your teenager, try this: Put a quarter on the table and say, “I love you the size of this room.  I’m upset with you the size of this quarter.  Can we just talk about the quarter?”  You’re showing respect by not attacking or trying to change him or her.  But keep the quarter!  Bribery doesn’t work 😉
  8. Set clear boundaries.  And stick to them!  Make sure that the boundaries are reasonable.  And set the boundaries at a time when your kids are open to hearing about them and being a apart of the conversation.  For instance, you could start by saying, “The next time you yell at me like that, this is what is going to happen…” and then make sure the “punishment” fits the crime.
  9. Be strong.  When you have clear boundaries in place, stand firm.  Take the stand as it is a “matter of fact” not a “power over them”.  For instance, if your kid is supposed to be doing his homework, but is arguing instead, ask firmly and simply, “What are you supposed to be doing?”  Don’t give them the answer.  Let them answer.  When they do, you can respond, “Then do it.”  And walk away.  They might get louder at first, but if you stand firm in that (you can also remind them of the boundaries you previously set up) it will take the wind out of their sails pretty darn quick.
  10. Love them.  Yeah.  Tell them and do it often.  Again, a no-brainer.

So… do you?  Do you have it?

What It Takes To Be A Good Father?

Thanks for your comments!


  • Thank you Shawn for sharing your journey as a father. Very inspiring.

    • Thank you, Leona! I really appreciate you taking the time to read it (and to find it inspiring 😉

  • Hun, I am proud of all that we are doing and the father you have become!! We have great kids!!!

    • Thanks so much, hon! That really means a lot to me… We do have great kids – thanks, in HUGE part to a great mom!

  • Sue Clayton

    Very well said and inspiring too! 🙂

    • Thanks, Sue! I really appreciate the feedback. Thank you, as well, for taking the time to read it!

  • Very nice article Shawn. We are a ‘blended’ family with 4 kids and have run a support group called ‘The Brady Bunch Project’. We are still learning from the kids everyday.

    Loved tip #7 about the quarter.


    • Thanks, Ed! That’s awesome that you guys run the support group. Do you have a website for it? And I absolutely agree: kids can show us so much about ourselves – particularly the parts we don’t want to see or admit to!

      And, yes, I love the quarter tip – when I tried it, it worked very well to create perspective 😉

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