A Simple List of 100 Ways to Be a Good Father

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About Derek Markham

Derek Markham is a writer, father, and social media butterfly who builds websites and teaches small business owners how to integrate new media into their marketing and PR efforts.


  1. AWESOME list. I’m working on my beard ;) . There are many items here that I try to practice daily, fail at daily, and try again the next day. Thanks for taking the time to publish this.

  2. A fantastic list. Not one objectionable item, which is rare in a list of 100 , and several outstanding ones.
    My addition: Throw your kids high in the air and dangle them from their ankles – it improves brain development – at least that’s what I tell my wife.

  3. great list. i see a book with 100 chapters!!

  4. you are an inspiration, thank you.

  5. Love the list, except for number 2.


    • Thanks! While I concede some of those points in the article you linked to, my intent was really just to compensate for all of those dads (or moms) who NEVER give praise or acknowledge their kid’s accomplishments.

  6. as a new and very nervous dad, i find your list full of many things that are really simple to do. thanks so much for taking the time to post this!

  7. as a father of 3 and soon to be 4 I foget some things sometimes but your list just reminded me of some of them and gave me new ideals great list and I already have a beard : ) thanks for taking the time to post this

  8. This is a great article! We have posted it on the Men Stopping Violence facebook page and hope that others will pick it up.

  9. Great article, ever thing about making this a book to go a little bit more in depth?

  10. To be a good father first to be friend second try to be a good father

  11. Your child says:

    Fantastic list, although speaking from experience, #53 should be #1.

  12. Thank you for the tips, I will put them to use with my son. And mym wife doesnt like my scratchy beard.. ;)..

  13. Ricardo says:

    Very nice! I became a father last year and I’m discovering everyday the magic of my child. Your list will be very useful to me. Thanks.
    The point 97. is about Fatherhood superpowers but the link is not working anymore… where can I find the article. I’d like to develop some!

    Regards and happy Father’s Day!

  14. I’m going to print this wonderful list out and give it to my husband who is also a great dad for father’s day! If you would like to share something you are thankful for about your dad visit my blog http://www.sharingthanks.blogspot.com and leave a comment. All comments will be featured in my father’s day sharing thanks post.

  15. Michael Nellis says:

    101: Teach your children to read by plunking them down in your lap, or next to you in the big comfy chair if they can sit on their own, and read to them as if it was a game. Make up silly voices for the characters, make up sound effects for the actions going on, and do this every time he or she brings a book to you.

    102: When they are still young enough for it: Read to them at bedtime, BUT — only one story at bedtime; this must be a hard and fast rule so they cannot use the bedtime story read as way of stalling.

    103: When they are old enough: Bedtime should mean: in bed, resting quietly, although not necessarily going to sleep immediately; the child should be allowed to stay awake with the lights on and to read for as long as he or she wants. They’ll turn the lights out for themselves when they are ready to actually go to sleep; of fall asleep anyway and you can turn the lights out for them later.

    104: Trust your child to choose what to read for themselves; they will pick will pick whatever is interesting for their age and skill level. But do read what your child is reading; not to pre-approve it, but because it will give you common frames of reference when he or she comes to you for advice.

  16. Ng kong wee says:

    Maybe i am not the best but iwill try.

  17. Ng kong wee says:

    This my first child in my life, I been waited for four years. Everything I do is for my son Louis ,but my wife feel i am over anxious. You can understand how I feel. Want to make thing right but people don’t appreciate .

  18. 2. Lavish praise. I’m in favor of praise, although a lot of people out there seem to think that over-praising kids = the downfall of our Republic.

    22. Teaching new dads – the best advice I got as a flustered new dad was “the dust will settle”. Anything more could possibly morph into Daddy wars.

    43. Fitness. This is important for you and Mom, too. Those jogging strollers work for some people, but that 20 minutes or so a day of healthy, grownup exercise however you get it does wonders for your morale. I suggest putting big commitments like triathlons, climbing Mt. Everest, etc. off to a later date, especially if you are already working big hours. The kids are only little once.

    71. Kids love jokes. You can tell some pretty clever family-friendly jokes, which leads to…

    72. Kid input on family matters. My attitude has always been: don’t dumb it down for the kids. You can dumb some things down, but chances are your explanation to the seven-year old how an air conditioner works won’t be to complex anyway. Use the appropriate vocabulary. Kids get smart at home more than they do at school.

    I would also add: Hobbies. Don’t forget what you like to do outside of working and being a Dad. Your kids will pick up on these interests. Hint: the hobby should probably be non screen-related. Also: Friends. Sometimes you end up making friends with your kids’ friends parents. But at any rate, have friends.

  19. Derek Gillette says:

    Great list. Not to self promote too much, but my new book for Dads follows a similar theme. “How to Be a Man: a Father & Son Guide” offers talking points for traits to pass on to the next generation, creating young men of high character. http://t.co/iPyiK946

  20. MaximumZero says:

    As a single father, a few of those don’t apply to me! I want my money back! :P

  21. Great list Derek, you’re a Good Man and I like a lot of your tips.
    For me the best one is #40 (“Give yourself a break. I haven’t met a father yet who doesn’t make mistakes”). So true! Perfection is an image in our minds that can make us feel we are loosers if we make mistakes.
    I found out that for me the secret of improving myself is
    (1) accepting fully the man I am today and
    (2) keep on striving to be a better one tomorrow.
    You wrote that sometimes you are a crappy dad. I’d say you already are a good father who is always trying to be a better one. For me this is what makes you a Good Man!
    Thanks for sharing,

  22. Great list, Derek. As an (older) father of 6 (and a stepfather for another two, and a host father to two more), I can very much rely to these 100 tips. And I’m going to work on all those I haven’t achieved to this day. Would you allow me to translate it into French (my native language). I would like to post the translation and link to this page on my professional website, http://www.martinwinckler.com (i’m a physician and a fiction and non fiction writer). Let me know. And thanks again for this.
    Marc Zaffran, a.k.a Martin Winckler

  23. It turns out I look good with a beard …

  24. This is simply wonderful. From a mom of 4…great words of wisdom! ♥

  25. Wonderful list, Derek. Agree with all of them!

    Here’s my contribution I wrote for Expert Beacon.


  26. 101: Stand up for your child, and your way of parenting, when you truly believe the mother to be in the wrong.

    • lbrother517 says:

      This should NOT be done in front of the child though. Should be done between Father and mother in privet. And if the outcome is that the mother or father is in the wrong. They should confront the child and apologize for wrongful behavior together. They should operate and 1 unit.

  27. lbrother517 says:

    Hmmm I’m Wondering about “Hold your kids accountable for their actions and words, but don’t use punishment to teach.”

    “Don’t use punishment to teach?” I don’t get it. Every time you punish your child IT SHOULD BE TO TEACH them something… You hit your sister. You have a time-out. You lie to me. You get spanked. I mean… This is why you punish you child?

    So how do you hold them accountable without punishing to teach? Sounds to me like a contradiction?

  28. I had an absent, withdrawn, neglectful Dad, but I had a Mother that made up for the vaccum in every way she could, and lo and behold, I write parenting books and give conferences trying to remind BOTH PARENTS to fall in love with their children and with life, all over again, day after day… I thoroughly enjoyed your list, agree with all 100, but I think that parenting is figured out in the doing, in the daily interactions, the curved balls, the unexpected challenges, angles and catastrophes that test our mettle, and that’s where we truly show our kids we are in it for the long run, and we are never, ever giving up on them. I grew up a lot by reading “Far From the Tree”, and I think my definitions of parenthood and humanity have been forever altered by that phenomenal read. A Big Hug to you and your intentions across cyberspace! much love, Lina.


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