The Four Phases of Fatherhood Which Dad Are You?

The Four Phases of Fatherhood

The older I get, the more I reflect on the days when my sons were young. What did I do well? Where did I screw up? What would I do over if given the chance?

I’ve invited each to let me interview them on the Men in the Arena Podcast so you can enjoy the guts, the gore, and the glory of my parenting in the Stress Bubble experience.

I love what Malachi 4:56 foretold about who we now know as John the Baptist: “His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise, I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

Here are four phases we, as dads, go through. Each phase compounding upon the next.

Phase I: Father Fidelis (Birth to 11)

Fidelis is Latin for faithful. This is the most exhausting phase. Two words embody this phase—show up. Show up for everything. Miss nothing, especially from 5:30-8:30 PM.

Be so present that it is boring to your family. Yes, be boring!

Phase II: Father Figure (12-24)

NFL Hall of Fame Coach Chuck Knoll once said, “What you do speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you say.” Show up with your ‘A Game’ because your kids are watching you and will remember.

My free resource, Tell Them: What Great Fathers Tell Their Sons and Daughters is a great resource for the Father Figure phase. Grab your copy. This is the last month it will be available.

PHASE III: Father Friend (24-65)

This is where a good dad enjoys the fruits of good parenting through Phases I-III. In Phases I-II you were the driver of the relationships, “Because I said so.”

In Phase III your adult children determine what kind of relationship they want to have with you.

They choose. Not you. You were just handed a gold mine.

Phase IV: Father Forever (65-?)

This is where a father watches his legacy unfold as his children raise his grandchildren to serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15).

Warning: This phase will either be a time of tremendous joy or tragic regret based on what you did through Phases I-IV.

Be diligent, men.