How to Tell if a Man Will be a Good Father

While any healthy adult male is biologically equipped to procreate, being a good father is a whole different ballgame. Even though men have been spared the physiological responsibility of bearing and giving birth to children, there are many ways that a good dad is essential to bringing up well-adjusted kids. So if you often find yourself looking at your boyfriend and wondering about his parenting potential, here are a few ways to tell if he will be a good father.

He is close to his family

Especially his mother. A man who cares about his mom, dad and siblings has already got a first-hand lesson on what it means be a family. If he regularly calls them, visits them, remembers birthdays and pitches in with chores, it shows that he is not averse to building close emotional connections that come with being a family. Pay particular attention to how your boyfriend treats the women in his family – if he willingly helps out his mom with the dishes or his sister with her homework, you can rest assured that this is a guy who believes in giving and sharing and will be a good dad.

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He is not afraid of responsibilities

Bringing up a child involves umpteen numbers of responsibilities, ranging from immediate physical ones like changing and feeding to long term financial goals and college funds. If your boyfriend is averse to taking responsibility or likes to live in the present, then maybe he is not ready to be a dad yet. On the other hand if you can safely leave him to run errands, manage your joint finances and plan the complexities of a Thanksgiving holiday trip, it is likely that he will be equally committed to his role and duties as a father.

He is selfless

Once a child enters the picture, the life of the individual and indeed the couple is bound to take a backseat. Gone are the days when you can lie in on a Sunday morning or dash off with your partner for a weekend break. A child’s needs, physical and emotional, will have to come first and a guy who balks at this premise is least prepared to raise a family. So Beware if your boyfriend only thinks about himself and is unhappy when anything interferes with his own needs and comforts. Great potential fathers would always think about the needs and feelings of others – not only of their own children but of their partners as well. If the mom of the kids is tired or busy, such a man would not hesitate to roll up his sleeve and lend a helping hand.

He is a team player

A variation of the above point is that not only a good father is selfless, he is also more likely to be a team player – he would ensure that his partner and kids are on board while laying down important parenting guidelines; instead of taking decisions which underline his own authority and power, he will be interested in processes and outcomes where everybody is a winner. Also he will not be resentful about being told what to do by his partner or feel that it is unmanly to listen to what she says. Co-coordinating the activities of all family members is usually the mother’s job and a father needs to be amenable to taking directions – if he turns this into a control issue, then the family will suffer as a whole. So observe how your boyfriend takes to your suggestions – “Maybe you should take the second left down this road” and how he reacts to your plans, “How about going to the movies this Sunday afternoon?” If you get a positive reaction, he may be a keeper.

He is glad to be around kids

He is not bored or irritated on a Sunday family brunch when all your young nephews and nieces are clamoring all over the house. He would willingly attend your little brother's baseball games and truly looks forward to mingling and playing ball with the little ones. He even posts pictures of his nephews' or little cousins' elementary school art projects on Facebook, proclaiming that he can't wait to be a dad. He does not handle babies as if they are made of delicate porcelain and if you witness even babies happily cooing and gurgling in your guy’s arms, hold on to him with both hands for he is a natural.

He is patient and adaptable

If your man flies off the handle in case of sudden changes in plans or unforeseen emergencies, then it may be better to wait before having kids. The best parent is the one who is adaptable to changing circumstances and can go with the flow. Thus if all carefully laid plans for a zoo trip are laid to waste by a rainy day, this guy will merely shrug his shoulders and bring out the Scrabble board. It is important that a father is patient and mature enough to handle daily crises and interruptions, not only because they are bound to crop up in any family life but also so that his kids don’t grow up fearful and anxious. Fathers with short tempers and a rigid outlook on life have been known to scar many a growing child psychologically as well as emotionally as a result of which the latter either end up as withdrawn, ill-adjusted or violent, unforgiving adults themselves.

He does not mind getting messy

Bringing up kids is not for the squeamish. Changing diapers, wiping snot, cleaning up drool and mopping up regurgitated food is part and parcel of raising kids. If your man turns up his nose at the prospect of all this or if you suspect him to be obsessive about neatness, then maybe he would not be a hands-on father. Being a parent means getting comfortable with messes of all kinds and not being easily grossed out. A good father would be the one who willingly cleans up a mess and helps out when someone else isn’t feeling well instead of a guy who leaves his partner to clean up vomit and then agrees to take kids out when they neat and shiny. Beware of this cherry-picking approach since such a guy may leave you saddled with the most onerous and needless to say, thankless part of parenting.

Finally he likes to have fun

Parenting is not only about chores and responsibilities. A guy who cannot relax and have fun with his kids will find it difficult to be a good father even if he may have saved enough for their college. Your guy should not mind slurping the chocolate shake to make other kids on the table laugh, make a smiley face with tomato ketchup or blow paper cover off of a straw and seeing if it can reach across the table. In other words, a guy should have a playful sense of fun and not take himself too seriously so as to bring up happy, well-adjusted kids.