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Why are Dads Mean ?10 Reasons Why Children Think Dads are Mean


Why are dads mean? This question has been on the minds of so many children because of how strict fathers are compared to their mums. Mums are generally good at showing care and love to their children. This is why most times children are more free with their mums.

This reminds me of when I was in secondary school when everyone was asked to write about their favorite parent. More than half of the class will write about their mum being the parent that they like most. Most children choose their mum as the favorite parent because they think that their dad is mean. But why are dads mean?

Why are Dads Mean?

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1. They are being protective

Most times, children may think that their dads are mean when all they are trying to do is be protective. Your dad always looks out for you and they don’t want any harm to come close to you. When your dad sees that you are about to make an unwise decision or do something that can hurt you, they may sound harsh and mean to you, trying to protect you.

He might even set strict curfews and restrictions that limit you from leaving the house at some time of the day or visiting some places. You might think he is limiting your freedom, but you might not like this because it limits you from exploring and going out when you like.

You might think your dad is mean; I understand how you feel but his intention is a good one. He’s only looking out for you and trying to protect you. Do you now understand that all he is trying to do is not because he is mean but because he cares about your safety?

2. They are trying to instill discipline in you

Most times, children don’t like it when they are being disciplined. Dads want their children to grow to become responsible and imbibe good qualities and characters. Dads will always frown at any bad behavior exhibited by their children and won’t tolerate any nonsense from their children.

Sometimes, when your dad is like this, you might think he is a mean man just because he doesn’t condone nonsense. He is not mean; he is only trying to instill the right value in you because he wants to see you grow into a responsible child that he can be proud of.

3. Generational gap

If the question ‘why are dads mean?’ is still lingering in your mind, do you know that one of the reasons why it seems that your dad is mean is because the generation they were born in is different from yours? Our dads do things differently in their generation and they expect you to conform to the same old pattern and way of doing things.

Most dads are conservative and this can cause friction between dads and the children. In their generation, there was not much freedom and they cared about what people around them said, but things are not that way in this generation.

Children want to be free to live their own lives without thinking about what society expects of them. This can cause misunderstandings between dads who are rigid and children because their views about life do not align.

This is why some children might think that their dads are mean. On the contrary, your dad is not mean; he is only trying to raise you the same way he was raised. You can’t blame your dad for being this way; to him, he feels that is the best way to raise a child. He doesn’t know time has changed.

4. Stress

Sometimes your dad probably comes home late from work, feeling tired and stressed. Maybe this is the time you want to have some good moments with him but he is unwelcoming and not giving you the needed attention and you think, ‘Oh! Dad is just so mean’ Your dad is not mean; he just had a long and stressful day at work and he needs to rest.

This might not even allow him to spend quality time with you because of the stress from work. Your dad has to provide for the family and be responsible for you. This is why he is stressed from work. Can you now see that it’s not true that your dad is mean?

5. They see you as a child

I know that the question ‘why are dads mean’ lingers in the minds of so many teenagers because their dads seem controlling and still make decisions for them. I know you want to be able to make your own decisions because you feel you know what’s best for you and are no longer a child. But your dad still sees you as a child and he feels responsible for you.

I know in your mind you are probably wondering, ‘Why does dad have to choose for me? Or why can’t I make my decision?’  So because he wouldn’t let you do what you want, does  that mean he is mean? No, your dad is not mean; your dad loves you and no matter how old you think you are, you’re still his child and he still sees you as his little baby.

6. Men are not very good at expressing their feelings

One of the reasons why the question ‘why are dads mean?’ is still in the mind of many children is because their dads don’t express their feelings like their moms. It’s easier for moms to tell you how much they love you and show you care because women are mostly the ones responsible for taking care of the children.

This is one of the reasons why some children may consider their dad a mean person. Your dad might not tell you that he loves you in words but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about you or doesn’t love you.

7. Limited quality time spent together

In most cases, women are the ones who spend more time with their children. This is not applicable in every home but it is true to some extent. A lot of times, women are the ones mostly at home with their children; women spend more time with them than men. Some children might feel that their dads are mean because they don’t get to spend quality time with their dads.

8. Some dads are authoritative in nature

Some dads don’t want to listen to their children’s opinions. They expect their children to do just as they say without hesitation. Your opinion does not matter to them. If you do something contrary to what you are told to do, they see it as a lack of respect and a form of disregard. He would get angry for not listening to him and he might even punish you for it.

You might have a good reason for doing what you did but an authoritarian dad won’t listen to you anyway; he lacks consideration for your feelings and this might come off to you as mean behavior because you think your dad is inconsiderate, but can you blame him? That is how he is wired and he is still your dad anyway.

He is authoritative because he believes he is more experienced than you and knows only what is right for you. Looking at this from this perspective, would you still want to think that your dad is mean?

9. Imposing personal aspiration on child

I know a girl who wanted to become a nurse. She wanted to go to the university to study nursing but guess what? She couldn’t do that because her dad wanted a different profession for her. Due to her poor grades and performance in her science courses, her dad felt it was unwise for her to study nursing since she was not doing too well in her science courses.

Her dad told her to study marketing, a course that she had no interest in. She went to university to study a course she detested for years and this is why she disliked her dad because he imposed his aspirations on her without considering her interest.

I know that this is wrong. Parents should not impose their own aspirations on their children. A parent might want his or her child to practice a particular occupation but it should not be forced on the child if it’s not what the child likes. Dads who do this don’t know the kind of effect that their action can have on a child. They think that they are only doing a child a favor because they feel they know better than the child.

10. High expectations of academic performance

There are some dads who have very high expectations for their children’s academic performance. They want their children to top their class and this might not make them commend the children for their effort unless the child meets their expectations.

They might even apply pressure on the child. Your dad doesn’t want you to play around; he only wants you to always focus on your book and read. Yes, I know this is enough to make you feel that your dad is mean but he is not exactly mean; he only wants you to be the best, even though his approach is wrong.


To answer the question, “why are dads mean?” We would like to tell children that dads are not mean. Dads are loving and caring; they want the best for them, even though they might not always express how much they care about you. How can your dad be mean if he still provides for you, pays your fees, clothes you and provides shelter?

He does his best to make sure that you lack nothing and you are fine. Your dad is not mean; you just don’t see things from his perspective. Also, we must admit that some dads might be mean and irresponsible but this claim can not be generalized about all dads because not all dads are mean.


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