Role-Modeling Dads: 11 Ways To Model Good Behavior

I hear myself all the time when my kid talks.

For better and worse.

It’s frustrating to see your kid copy stuff you do that you’re not particularly proud of.

It made me stop and think.




11 Tips For Modeling Good Behaviour

Admitting When We Act Poorly

I try my best to let my kid know when I’m wrong. When I’m not a good example for him.

It’s hard – but I think it’s so important.

It both makes us more human, and I think it will relieve a lot of frustration that may otherwise build up.

We’ll never be the perfect role models we wish to be – but admitting you’re wrong helps a lot.

It’s also a really good character trait that anyone should learn from their parent!

Talk about Forgiveness – say sorry, seek forgiveness, give forgiveness.

Make A To-Do List

Often our days are so fast-paced that we leave little room for decision-making.

We might not be able to cut back on activities or commitments.

But dads, maybe we can try to be better prepared?

We want to teach our kids how to be proactive, not reactive to the obstacles life throws at them.

Here’s how you can model proactive behavior to your kids:

  • Write to-do lists and shopping lists
  • Pack school lunches at night
  • Use big family calendars
  • Have weekly “check-ins” with the family – what is coming up this week?

Pro-Dad Tip: Make big dinners and freeze the leftovers for those extra crazy days.

Follow The Rules

The reality is that rules aren’t actually made to be broken.

  • Drive the legal speed
  • Buy your bus tickets
  • Pay your taxes
  • Recycle your trash
  • Buy all media content
  • Eat a balanced diet

Use a sports analogy to explain the concept of rules to your kids.

The game is organized, fun and makes sense when the players listen to the referee and stay in the lines. And stepping out of line results in a penalty.

Narrate Your Decisions

When it’s appropriate, narrate your actions and decisions.

This helps our kids learn how to consider causes and consequences.

Here’s an example:

“Oh man, we are running super late. I won’t be able to do X and Y before dinner. I will have to decide which is more important for today…”

Think First (Count to 3)

I saw my son lashing out and hitting the wall when he got upset. I sometimes do that when I’m stressed out and things are all just a bit too much.

Seeing him channel his frustration into anger is a good motivator for me to change that behavior in myself!

Not that anger is wrong.
I think it’s perfectly fine for kids (and us) to show anger – but punching a wall is probably not the best way 😅.

I’d love to show him better ways of channeling his anger.

What can I do differently next time? Think first before reacting.

  • Take a slow deep breath
  • Count to three
  • Pace up and down to release the pent-up energy (rather than hit the wall)

This leads me to my next tip…

Let Your Kid Know Your Feelings

Dads have feelings, too!

We must show our kids how to deal with feelings in a healthy way.

We don’t want to act unkindly or selfishly when we feel sad, angry or grumpy. But we can talk about it.

This will help your kids understand how to acknowledge their feelings and how to regulate these emotions.

Pro-Dad Tip: Never share more with your kids than they can handle.

Kids don’t need to know your all financial worries – but you can let them know you are very stressed and are working hard to solve a problem.

Get Better Sleep

Yeah right!?

Hear me out 😊.

More sleep isn’t always possible. But we can make small changes to get better sleep.

When we are more rested, we can make better decisions. And we are more patient.

We can be better dads.

When you aren’t able to get an extra hour of sleep, try these:

  • No screens right before bed
  • Get some fresh air every day
  • Move your body every day

I also recommend taking 5 minutes for mind-clearing (music, reading, a cup of tea quietly before bed, meditation, etc).

Sometimes I do a few of these at once when I take a short walk after dinner!

Take Out The Trash

In other words – be helpful at home.

Even better, be helpful without being asked.

Not all chores need to be rewarded. Sometimes they are just the kind thing to do.

You can read my thoughts on rewarding chores in my blog, Tips for Money-Savvy Parenting.

Keep Your Word

In our family, as best as we can, “yes means yes” and “no means no”.

So we are super thoughtful about giving a big yes or no.

Once you give a yes it’s hard to take it back. It can lead to a breakdown of trust if the “yesses” keep changing.

Kids also need to learn boundaries and that parents are the authority.

No means no.

“But whyyyy?!” Because it’s my job to keep him safe and healthy.

Keeping your word teaches your kid about integrity and sticking to commitments.


This is how we model good citizenship.

We all know the world needs more heroes in action than keyboard warriors. 

If you can’t volunteer physically, maybe you can talk with your kids about a charity to support.

You could give financially or donate preloved toys and clothes to your “family charity”.

Keep Up With Your Hobbies

We don’t always have the time to spend as long as we wish playing sports, building model trains, reading, gaming, etc.

But, we want to model to our kids how to live a balanced life – not too much of one thing or nothing of another.

Again, this also means we must plan ahead (read up).

Pro-Dad Tip: Get your kid to do something you like (I wrote a whole blog about it).


Thanks for reading.

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