15 Differences That Make A Father VS A Dad

The term father and the term dad might have the same meaning to a lot of people. Some may hear each term and wonder, "How are they different?" Over time, their meanings have changed dramatically. A father is supposed to be there to love his child, protect him and always be there when he needs. Nowadays, though, there are a lot of father’s missing from their child’s life. They will help to create him or her, and then bail. Maybe they believe they aren't responsible any longer since the deed has been done. At that point, they have become swimmer donors.

There are some fathers who will pay for a box of diapers here and there, take his child to a movie every other month, or buy them an outfit and then disappear for months at a time. Afterward, they believe they have done their parenting duties and consider themselves “Father Of The Year.” When a father isn’t there, it can have a lot of negative impacts on a child’s behavior and psychological development.

I grew up with my father in and out of my life for half of it. He was there at the beginning, sometimes, gone for most of my childhood and then there for my teen years. Then, there was my step-father, who stepped in for the remainder of my childhood when my father was gone. My brother though, who is five years younger than me, didn't really get to know our father until after high school and almost into his twenties. He grew up with our step-father raising him. Our father sent my brother care packages on holidays, but when it came to who raised him, who taught him how to be a man and who was there all the time, our step-father was the real father. When it comes to what a dad is, and what a father is, his story is the prime example.

Here is a list of 15 different ways to tell a father from a dad.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

15 A Dad Is The Best Role Model

Said Mhamad

There are many differences when it comes to being a father or a dad. The biggest difference is role model though. When a father leaves or yells, condescends his child's mother or is absent from a child's life before he is born, it will have some serious effects on the child.

A role model is someone a child will look up to and aspire to be when they grow up.

From personal experience, children who see their parents argue all the time, and see their father is mistreating their mother so poorly, will have everlasting effects. My father is my hero and my role model. When I was a little girl, he was my go-to favorite parent, even after seeing some of the things he did. He worked hard for what he has and has changed so much over the years though, which makes me beyond happy. But growing up he was angry, abusive, and not there a lot for me. I watched my father yell, beat, cheat on and just all around mistreat my mother, and other women in his life. He might have been in and out, but it was enough to make it hard for me growing up. As a child, I was angry and got into trouble a lot, but the worst started when I got into my teenage years, I began acting out a lot. Fighting, being expelled from school all the time and getting involved with boys. We would get into screaming matches, which would sometimes get physical. I am now almost thirty years old and to this day I still must breathe and try to fight through my anger issues.

Point of the story though is that a child who grows up in that type of situation will grow up to be just as angry and violent as the said parent if you are not careful, especially if they look up and love the parent doing the act. A real father wouldn’t do that to their children. They would take their wife into the next room, away from the child’s eyes and talk to her and when it comes to discipline, they don’t yell and beat the kid. Yelling doesn’t solve anything, nor does beating the child in my experience. A lot of the times it goes in one ear and out the other and the beatings just make us angry. Talking is what gets a child to listen.

14 A Dad Will Always Take A Sip Of Imaginary Tea

Time. Some might say there is so little time to get everything done in one day. Work, house cleaning, taking care of the kids, cooking dinner, paying bills, grocery shopping, when does anyone find time to just stop and smell the roses? It can all be quite stressful at times. There are a lot of men who go to work but that’s it. They come home, they don’t help their wives with the dishes, bath time, making lunches for the next day, and even put the kids to sleep. For them, they bring home the bacon and work harder than the wife. They would rather relax and watch television than spend time with his kids. He may work, pay the bills and keep a roof over everyone’s head, but that does not make him a dad.

My father was always too tired after work to do much with me. We watched wrestling together, built things together around the house on weekends, but that was really it. My step-father showed me what a real father was supposed to be, even if it was brief. He worked at a nursing home taking care of the sick and elderly. He was always exhausted when he got home, but that never stopped him from helping me do my homework or coming to see what I had done.

A dad will come home, from a long day of work, and make sure to set some time for his children. He will help them with their homework, help his wife with the young ones' baths, or spend an hour reading, playing or even helping them clean their room if needed. Regardless how tired he is, he will set time aside for their kids.

13 A Dad Always Listens And Gives Great Advice

Children tend to ask a lot of questions while growing up. They are curious and want to know how the world functions. Regardless how stressful it can be when kids get in the phase where all they do is ask questions, you need to be patient and listen to them. If you don’t respond accordingly, you could end up affecting them in the long run. Giving them good advice, when they ask, can help at the current moment and later down the road.

A father isn’t there to give good advice or answer their questions. If they are, then they typically do not say the right things or blow them off by ignoring them. This can have negative impacts and lowers the kids' abilities to understand fundamental questions and answers. A dad is different.

A dad will make sure he listens to them and responds correctly to whatever they have asked.

A dad will make sure to give them the proper advice on how to accomplish certain things or how to deal with a specific problem.

12 A Dad Isn't Afraid To Cry

"Men don't cry" is probably one of the biggest lies out there. It is something they may not like to do, but they still do it. Everyone cries. For some, crying is a sign of weakness and regardless of the circumstances, they refuse to show it. However, crying can happen at many different types of events, not only when a man is sad or scared. There are a lot of happy things that can make a man cry, like a movie, a special event, or maybe something good happened and they're crying tears of joy. Don’t forget about laughter, though. Sometimes things can be so funny that they make you cry from laughter. Those are always fun and unforgettable moments.

A father might not cry in front of his child. If a child starts to cry for a toy, a story, or even a hug, a father may yell at them and tell them to "suck it up! Or I don’t have time for this!" I have experienced that a lot throughout my life, especially during my teen years. A dad is different though. A dad won’t be afraid to show his emotions, to his wife or his children. Crying is a natural emotion that everyone witnesses. Even Superman cries now and again.

11 A Dad Is Always There To Protect His Children

When you have a baby, you vow to protect him and be there for them for the rest of their precious lives. Protection is more than simply keeping him or her out of harm's way. Yes, making sure your child is always safe from danger is an important thing, but there are other ways children need to be protected.

When it comes to protection, there is a big difference between a dad protecting his child and a father.

A dad would step in front of a moving vehicle, fight off an attacker or teach his children how to stand up for themselves when they are old enough.

If a father is never in the child’s life, then children will go their whole lives without the protection of their Brave Dad. Protecting a child goes beyond the physical aspect of a hard situation. Protection also means listening to his child and standing up for her when she needs it most. If your child comes home crying, saying there was a situation at school where it made them feel sad or uncomfortable, father's will most likely say "It's just a misunderstanding." Dad's will be able to fix this issue with just one phone call.

My brother grew up without my father in his life. As a child, he got picked on and beaten up by kids bigger than him. He would always just cry and run away. He did not have a father there to protect him and show up what to do and how to deal with these types of situations. Not until my step-father came into the picture and took up that role of dad. He is now almost 25, 6;5 and does take crap from anyone, nor does he care what people say or think of him now.

10 A Dad Will Always Keep His Child's Imagination Wild

Spending time with your child is crucial for their development. Every parent should never reject a play-time with their child. Tea parties, cops and robbers, swinging at the park, are all situations dads will face when their child asks them to play. Helping children grow their imagination will help them learn who they are and grow to be a more creative person. Ignoring a child, and having them be raised on television could lead to depression, mood swings and many insecurities for their self-esteem.

An absent father or a father that is constantly busy and at work will miss crucial moments with their child. Imagination is what makes a child so special. Only a child would be able to imagine that some sugar left on the counter is, actually, fairy dust that Peter Pan and Tinker Bell dropped. In my experience, imagination is what forms them for the future. Having such a strong imagination is what made me who I am today. To this day I love to write stories and my dreams are always insane.

A dad will constantly make time for their child throughout the day. He will sit down and play with his child or read her favorite storybook. Whether they are bonding through board games, dolls, dress up, sporting events, or just taking them to the park and running free with them, it is those moments that children cherish the most. Each moment you spend with the child is precious to them and will help them turn into model citizens.

9 A Dad Isn't Asked To Spend Time With His Children

Time is precious to a child. They yearn to have the attention of their parents, at all times Be it good or even bad sometimes. When a parent isn’t there or ignores a child, it can lead to negative consequences. For example, ignoring a child can lead to questionable behaviors, in the future. Eventually, acting out turns out to be their way of getting your attention for once. But why would a child listen to you now, when you've ignored him half his life?

Children don't care how they get attention, they want attention and love and they want it now.

After my mom left my dad, I was eight and my brother was three at the time, my father became different. My mother would have to call and beg him to take us on weekends. Mainly me, my brother always got out of it by starting a temper tantrum and refusing to go.

A real dad won't even have to think about spending time with his kids. His wife, or significant other, won’t have to beg or plead with him to take his children for a few hours like she would with a father who only shows up now and again. Coming straight from my brother, a father who only appears when it is convenient for him, isn’t really a dad, even though they may think they are. You should want to spend time with your child, get to know them, teach them how to be a better person when they are older.

8 A Dad Can Be Daddy-Bear When Mama-Bear Is Out

Being a parent is the hardest job in the world. A mother’s day doesn't end at six o'clock, just because it's the end of the day. Her role as a mother continues to take effect. She must cook, clean, bathe the kids, help and correct their homework, do the grocery shopping, do the Christmas shopping and make sure her children are well taken care of and are happy. Other than Christmas shopping, this is simply something a mother does day in and day out. When you add a full-time job to her already extremely busy day, it can be stressful beyond belief.

A real dad won’t mind taking over the mama bear's role, from time to time. He will help with some of the daily duties of owning a house, the different tasks of having a child (or children) and will be hands-on in different aspects throughout the day. He will call to ask if she needs milk or eggs, not because he was asked to, but because he thought of her.

To all our dads out there, taking your children for walks, changing diapers or bathing them, going grocery shopping and taking them along with you, will help your wife even more than you could ever imagine, trust me I know. If you're already doing these many different things throughout the day, we salute you!

7 A Dad Loves Family Time

A happy home is a happy family. Spending time with your family will make things a lot easier. Ignoring them can cause issues that can later become bigger problems, whether it's between you and your children, or you and your wife.

When you’re a dad, your life revolves around your family, even if you're arguing with them.

Nothing else will matter but their safety, their happiness and making sure they are provided for. An absent father won't take these things into consideration. If he is present, and simply laying around because his day is done, then he will be detached from the family and will probably get the boot. He may be there physically, but his heart won't be there.

A dad will make sure he spends time with his family and he will enjoy every second of it. He will look forward to precious moments with his family and he will cherish them. You won’t have to fight with him to spend time with you or his children. He will do it without question or without asking. That is a real dad.

6 A Dad Won't Put Friends Before Family

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

When you have children, everything stops, and it becomes all about them. Making sure they are properly cared for, they have everything they need, their bellies are full, and they are happy. Most importantly, a dad will be sure that his children come first, and he is there for whatever they may need. It is ok to go out now and again, but it should not be a nightly occurrence.

As a small kid, my father would constantly skip out on us as for his friends, or a new girl. He was never there to tuck us in, go to school events, or for family dinners. Friends and partying became his thing for a while there, which led to the mom and him fighting a lot, which led to their separation later down the road.

A dad will always put his family’s happiness before his own. He will skip out of a scheduled hockey game if his child is sick. He would prefer a movie night, at home, with his family, then go out with friends. Also, he may enjoy a quiet family dinner over a night out at a loud restaurant. Would a father give up these selfless acts? Unfortunately, no, they would not. I learned this lesson when my father was still young and in and out of my life for most my childhood. Fathers hate being tied down and would rather have an over-intoxicating evening out with his buddies, then spend time in his pajamas with his children, watching their favorite cartoons.

5 Dads Don't Have To Be Asked To Take Care Of Their Children

You know what makes a happy family? A family that helps each other and is always there for one another. A mother already has a lot on her plate when it comes to taking care of the house, the kids, her partner and herself. Most of the time she doesn’t even get time to take care of herself. Having someone actively participate in the daily routine would make her life much easier.

A dad will stick around and help her when she needs it most.

However, a father will disappear at the slightest inkling that a mother needs help.

A real dad would step in whenever he saw that she could use a helping hand. Be it diaper duty, taking out the trash, helping with dinner, helping with homework and cleaning up around the house. Even starting a load of laundry is a big help. Doing all this, and more, without asking, is a blessing to most women. Mothers have enough on their plate with having to run around all day, that they don’t need to tell their partners too what to do, when to do it and why they need it done.

4 A Dad Will Have Everything He Needs For The Child

There are times when things just don't go as planned. Sometimes, a mom and dad have difficulties within their relationship or marriage, and they split up. When this happens, the child is forced to go back and forth between homes. This can be rough on a child.

The difference between a father and a dad, in this scenario, is a dad would make sure to have everything they need for their child. A bed, toys, his or her own room, and lots of clothes for them. And let's not forget enough food and school supplies for the week. All these items are important to raise a child. It can, also, make going back and forth between homes much easier.

If you are a father who is going in and out of the child’s life, then most likely you don’t have anything a child needs for them to visit your home. Not having adequate supplies for him or she will make them feel as though you don't care and couldn't even think long enough about them for what they would need. From my own experience, neglecting your family while you're still together will, most likely, end in the relationship falling apart. If this happens, be conscious how much time your child needs with you. It's crucial that fathers (and mothers!) don't spend an hour here and there with their children, and then drop them off and continue their merry way.

For example, when my father had visitation after my mom left him, he mainly only took me. I had this beautiful room that he decorated all on his own. He built the bed with dresser drawers underneath, a desk that had a door that opened and closed to reveal a television inside, tons of toys and clothes and he even hand painted my walls and drew roses around as a border. My brother was not as lucky though. He rarely came to visit and when he did he didn’t have anything. He would have to sleep in what was once his old bedroom but was now a weight room. He had no bed and had to sleep on the floor, no toys so he had to use mine, and no clothes but the ones he brought with him. My brother stopped coming after a while and my mother would only send me.

3 A Dad Will Do Anything For His Children

Having a child is one of the greatest pleasures in the world. There are many occasions that will happen in a child’s life that will require a parent's help. Homework, school plays, ballet recitals, or just make-believe play time, are some events just to name a few. When it comes to these occasions, a dad won’t hesitate to step in and help his child with whatever he or she needs.

Even if that means being a mannequin for his little girl's makeup party, helping her with her play lines or dance steps, playing dress-up or allowing her to do your hair.

She may even ask you to throw princess parties for her and all her friends and dressing as a princess would just be the icing on the cake for her.

However, an absent father, or one that isn’t invested in his children’s life, won’t be able to participate in these types of demands, because he won't be there to be asked by his little princess. He will be missing out on some of the greatest moments of her life.

2 A Dad Will Sit Front Row For Every Event

There comes a time in a child's life, where they will be invited to an important game or a special event, and they will want their father to be sitting front row, cheering them on. When it comes to daddy-daughter bonds, there is nothing stronger. Without that bond, a little girl could grow up unsure of herself and always leaning on another male figure. She may consult a father figure who is much older than she when it comes to relationships later in life. As for little boys, they may grow up resenting their fathers and lashing out at the people involved throughout his life.

The most hurtful thing a father could do to his children is to skip out on big events. However, a dad would never do that. His job, that he would do without question, is to be there for them whenever they need him. When they fall, he is there to pick them up and put a band-aid on their boo-boos. When they learn to walk or ride a bike, when their hearts get broken, a dad is there.

1 A Dad Will Never Stop Protecting His Child

Children get into everything. When they are babies, toddlers, teens and even into adulthood, they will always find themselves in sticky situations. A good dad, though, will never take his eyes off his child, regardless how old he or she may be. Until the moment he passes on, he will always watch over them and make sure they are safe, taken care of and happy.

When you are a dad, you’re always watching them.

When you’re a father you feel like you have other responsibilities, or that tough love will strengthen them. A father may find his priorities have shifted from his family to his work, his sports, his games and maybe to another family if his relationship with his child's mother has fallen apart. However, a dad would always put his child first and foremost, before any other distractions.

Sources: From personal experience and my brother’s experience. differencebetween.info, goodmenproject.com, yourtango.com, theodysseyonline.com, huffingtonpost.com 

More in What?