7 Types of Dad


Dads in Australia are generally expected to be “breadwinners” – but is this for every dad?

The priority for a breadwinner dad is to work and provide for the family while mum or partner is at home with the kids and looking after the family.

We call this the “Providing dad”. This type does not suit everyone and dads may want something different that will work for their family and fits their parenting style.

We have put together seven different types of dads, based on research1 and consultation2 with dads in Australia:

  1. Responsible dad
  2. Thoughtful dad
  3. Nurturing dad
  4. Affectionate dad
  5. Interactive dad
  6. Sharing dad
  7. Providing dad

Which dad are you now?


Which dad would you like to be?

We know that each dad is unique, and we’ve explained the seven different types of dads below in more detail.

Maybe the items listed are things dads already do and can keep improving on. Maybe some are new to dads and they can try out the different things and types of dads.

For single dads, they can step in and out of these types. For those dads who are parenting with mum or partner, they may already share some of these types.

Whatever the dad, whatever the scenario, we are encouraging dads to try the different types of dads out, talk about how it’s going and discover what works.

Here’s where dads can get started:

  1. Pick the type(s) that best describes the dad
  2. List their strengths and gaps for each type
  3. Celebrate the strengths
  4. Work on the gaps
  5. Try out different types of dad every day/week/month


Responsible dad

Responsible dads are good at organising important things for their children and family.

These dads are responsible for their child’s appointments such as child health nurse, GP or immunisation sessions, and being organised with school-related things such as school supplies, uniforms or music lessons.


Thoughtful dad

Remembering dad is always thinking about their child, what they need and they want.

These dads are great at knowing their child’s strengths and limits, their favourite toys, friends’ names and what they love to play. They are also good at planning ahead and thinking about things such as planning their child’s birthday present or party.


Nurturing dad

Nurturing dads make sure their child is cared for and looked after.

These dads are involved in things such as preparing meals, bath time and buying clothes. They also look after their child when they are sick, stay home from work to look after them or take them to the doctor.


Affectionate dad

Affectionate dads show their child how much they love them.

These dads express their love, give their child hugs and kisses and say, “I love you”.


Interactive dad

Interactive dads do the following together with their child: play, communicate and explore ideas, manage emotions and think creatively.

These dads encourage their child to be involved in decisions such as choice of game to play, which park to go to and what to eat for dinner. They also encourage their child to talk about feelings and ideas that have been raised in things such as books, shows or movies.


Sharing dad

Sharing dads share parenting roles with their partner and use a teamwork approach to parenting.

These dads share household tasks, discuss parenting strengths and weaknesses with mum or their partner, and decide on how respond to their child’s feelings and behaviours.


Providing dad

Providing dads are the breadwinner and protector of the family.

These dads work to provide for the family while the mum or partner is home looking after the kids. They also ensure the family feels safe and implement rules in the home.



  1. (2009) Introduction to working with men and family relationships guide. Canberra: The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
  2. (2019) Support for Fathers national survey. Melbourne: Relationships Australia Victoria.