How To Be A Bad Father In 3 Easy Lessons

bad father

It doesn’t take much training to be a bad father. Many bad fathers have come and gone – leaving a legacy of insecurity, reliance, and self-absorption in their progeny. Their methods are distilled into the following easy-to-emulate lessons. And with just a little application, you can be a bad father too.

Don’t Be Available

This first lesson is the easiest to implement. You simply don’t stick around or show up when you should.

There are a plethora of excuses available for your use: your boss has expectations of you, you need “me” time to unwind with your buddies, or you’re just not good with kids. But it’s always best to go with the excuse that has a tried and true record of success: you have to work hard so your kid can have a good life.

This defense not only provides ironclad justification, it puts the blame squarely on your child’s shoulders. If it wasn’t for them, you could – and surely would – take it easy. It’s genius, really.

Best of all, your peers won’t blame you because we’re not into judging what anyone does. No need to worry about being called out for being an absentee father by anyone other than a broken-hearted child. And what do kids know? Besides, your kid will eventually latch on to another father-figure to learn what it is to be a man. (He’ll probably be a good guy. You hope.) You just have to wait your kid out till that happens.

Don’t Bother To Listen

There's no need for delay. Start being a bad father while your child is a baby. Click To TweetThere’s no need for delay. Start being a bad father while your child is a baby. When he cries, always defer to your wife’s superior baby-handling skill. Claim ignorance of the variations of your baby’s cries and stay ignorant. Really, no one expects you to be a baby-whisperer.

When your child is old enough to express himself in full sentences, understand that he’s still too dumb to know what he’s talking about. Disregard it. If you’re going to teach them anything, teach them kids should be seen and not heard.

Once kids start school, they get all show-offy about what they’re learning. Nobody likes a show-off. You won’t want to indulge that. And if you don’t shut it down at this point, they’ll be giving you their opinions when they’re teenagers. Everyone knows the airing of teenage opinions makes grown men laugh in their face. It can’t be helped. So why tempt fate?

Basically, your kid has nothing to say worth hearing until they’re an adult. So from now till then, you do all the talking. You can listen to them when they attain significance. Assuming they still want to talk to you.

Refuse To Discipline

Lesson 3 is a bit tricky. On the surface, refusal to discipline your child’s willful disobedience will make you look like a candidate for Father Of The Year. Your child will initially love you for it and society will laud you for your hyper-grace — with the possible exception of your kid’s teacher who has to deal with his unruly behavior and entitled attitude six hours each day.

Speaking of teachers, take your child’s word that his teacher is unfair and out to get him. Berate that so-called professional in your child’s presence so your kid will know you’re on his side no matter what. After all, it won’t be until he’s a teen that your kid will understand you were the village idiot for letting him get away with all the stuff he claimed he didn’t do.

Believe in your child. This means refuse to entertain the idea they could sin (lie, cheat, steal, etc.) Didn’t you read somewhere that children are innocent? Go with that. Make excuses for what only appears to be disobedience. Maybe they were actually hungry, or anxious, or bored, or weighed down with breathing and living. Only a crazy person would discipline a child in those circumstances.

Tricky as it may start out, the fruits of this parental neglect become evident soon enough and put you on solid footing as a bad father. The toddler that hasn’t figured out he can hit a parent and get away with it will figure it out eventually. There won’t be anything beyond his right to demand or refuse. And as long as your permissiveness persists, so will his self-indulgence and absorption. It will still be cute when he’s 20-something, if only to you.

For resources on how to be a good dad, see my recommendations here.

bad father


  • Marissa Pedersen

    Yikes, I hope you’re not going through this! Those are good lessons though.

    • Alexandra Armstrong

      No, Marissa, I’m not. My children have children of their own now. And thankfully, they had both a father and step-father who were good to them when they were little. But I know something about fathers who weren’t so great from my own – now long deceased. He was a rascal if there ever was one!

      • Marissa Pedersen

        I’m sorry you had to go through that with your own father, but it’s great you can reflect on that and help other fathers not make the same mistakes!

  • kathy

    Sadly my dad had many of the negative traits that you listed. His home, as a child, was even worse. I guess it is learned behavior. They should teach this in school!

    • Alexandra Armstrong

      Kathy, brilliant suggestion! They SHOULD teach this – and many other critical life skills – in school.

  • Marijanna Vukovic

    Aww sadly this happens to some. My dad is never available he works nights and sleeps days. Missed out on a lot in us kids lives. Sadly.
    But oh well!

    • Alexandra Armstrong

      Shift work IS hard on families. Dad’s should get first shift priority. 🤔

  • Jessica Jacobowitz Weinberg

    It is so sad that this happens sometimes. Thankful for my amazing father!
    xo Jessica

    • Alexandra Armstrong

      I am always so encouraged to hear of father’s who do fatherhood well. I hope he has lots of watching eyes observing his example. 🏅

  • Ashley Peggs

    Sadly these kind of Dad’s do exist! So thankful that my Dad wasn’t this kind of Dad and my husband is far from this kind of Dad. Dad’s are so important!!

    • Alexandra Armstrong

      Yup! Good dads are SO important. Glad you have good ones in your life, Ashley!

  • Christina Kamp

    Being a dad is a hard job. Society is pretty hard on men and depicts them in an ugly light most of the time, but there are lots of good dads out there. I have a home daycare and I try as hard as I can to build up all my dads and help them have the confidence to rock it. It’s pretty neat to watch them grow over time. Thanks for this list. It’s a great reminder!