Christian fathers are under attack, and the enemy comes at them in many different ways. Over the last few years, we’ve asked dads to share their greatest fatherhood challenges. We’ve collected and catalogued almost 2,000 answers to this question.

Let’s review the challenges. The insights are powerful and helpful to those of us aiming to be more godly husbands and fathers. Also, knowing these issues will help us connect with the guys we know so we can help them lead themselves and their families well.

 


 

Question: What’s your biggest challenge as a dad right now?

 


 

The research on fatherhood challenges.

Over the last three (3) years, we’ve asked dads, “What’s your biggest challenge as a dad right now?” We left the field open so dads could comment their thoughts in their own words.

What you find in this post comes from Kent and I drinking lots of coffee, holding numerous high-level meetings in person, via video calls, text messages and tons of emails asking ourselves, “What can we do with these powerful responses?!” So, we decided to extrapolate every single response, place said responses in a spreadsheet, bucket-ize all the responses (I know, technical terms) into categories, and order the number of instances the same challenge showed up.

What came out of this process was 1,929 total responses, 63 tagged issues, eight (8) major groups, and four (4) core challenges. 

Why talk about the fatherhood challenges?

My hope is by seeing these challenges listed out—they will inspire and challenge you as a husband and dad. Use these fatherhood challenges to self-assess. Get help and learn to overcome your current struggle. Then, commit to helping another dad overcome his struggle. Consider sharing this post to start the conversation. Take stock in the good, the bad and the ugly of your role as a husband and father—and resolve to be the guy who overcomes these challenges.

Most importantly, know you are not alone. For each of the ten challenges, we’ll dissect the issue by showing you a glimpse of what the dads said. As you review what dads said, understand that what follows are the top ten (10) challenges we all face. We’re in this together.

What should you do with these fatherhood challenges?

Here’s my ask of you: in reading this post you’re signing up for the challenge!

#1 Review these fatherhood challenges and pray for the dads who typed the responses (note — each quote below is just a snapshot. There are hundreds of additional responses for each of the categories in the post).

#2 Share this post. In some small way, dads will know they aren’t alone when they see this post.

#3 Let the quotes sink into your heart. We want to encourage you to become a disciple-making dad. If you want to go deeper in any one of these ten challenges, we can walk with you. In fact, every blog post, eBook, Field Guide, digital course, event, and study guide we’ve ever created has been to help you combat these challenges.


 

The ten (10) greatest fatherhood challenges we must face.

#1 Allocating limited time across all of my roles.

Dads wear a lot of hats. We know this. We spread our time across roles many roles. How do we do it all? How do we manage being a husband, father, employee, leader, volunteer…the list doesn’t end. We have so many jobs that every part of our lives feel like work.

How dads said it:

  • “Creating time in my day to love my wife and my kids as well as they need to be loved…. time with each one of them because they all have different needs at the different stages of life.”
  • “Work and home life balance. I’m away more than I’d like to be. In order to provide for my family my daily presence is often a mere couple of hours. I’m striving to make those hours quality hours spent together, being fully present.”
  • “Time. I feel like my wife and I have so much to do. We love each other but are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work required to raise our boys and successfully manage other aspects of our lives.”

 


 

#2 Not enough time each day.

Most dads say they don’t have enough time in the day. We’re busy little bees wearing our busyness like a badge of honor. No dad says, “Gee, I have all of this time left over in my day. What should I do with all of the excess?!” What are we to do when 24 hours in a day just doesn’t cut it?

How dads said it:

  • “Spending biblical time with my kids. Seems like I am running in circles with kids activities, work commitments, volunteer commitments.”
  • “Not having dedicated time for one-on-one engagement often with my children.”
  • “Time and giving my all when I’m exhausted.”

 


 

#3 Improving communications.

Many dads told us they struggled to find common ground and connect with their child. They wrestle with how to communicate and want to improve in this area. Even so, reading through a number of their responses sounds like they are on the verge of giving up.

How dads said it:

  • “Being consistent and taking the time to really talk and pray and study Scripture with my kids.”
  • “Connecting with my teenager. Teaching the kids a biblical world view without exasperating them.”
  • “Staying connected to my 19 year old.”

 


 

#4 Unsure where to begin.

Many dads told us they simply weren’t sure where to start—for various reason. One dad was brutally honest when he revealed his struggle with being motivated. Ever been in a rut like him? One where you come home from a long day at work and plop down on the sofa and watch TV until bed? Then it’s time to start over. And the cycle continues. Yeah, me neither. Seriously, it was eye-opening to learn how many dads struggle with uncertainty around where and how to start.

How dads said it:

  • “Motivation. Get out of a rut. It’s easy to just come home, sit on the couch and watch TV.”
  • “I’m unsure where to start. I didn’t have anyone growing up to be a dad to me.”
  • “I don’t know how to lead my children and wife.”

 


 

#5 Setting the right example.

If you’re not sure where to start, then another problem becomes knowing how to set the right example. Did you have a good example growing up? Do you have a mentor? How do you even know what to do? Many dads struggle with setting the right example.

How dads said it:

  • “Facing the reality that I’m not trying to save my failing 25 year marriage, not setting an example for my 3 sons, not treating my wife with the respect she deserves and needs; not respecting myself, my health…spiritually and physically.”
  • “Not being a good example to my boys or being someone that they do not look up to.”
  • “I’m a new Christian myself.”

 


 

#6 Procrastination.

This was found throughout responses in a variety of ways. It’s one thing to not know where to start. Knowing is half the battle. But, once you have the skills and know what to do—are you actually doing it? So many dads revealed they struggle with doing what they know is right to do. The devil is a roaring lion, brother, seeking whom he may devour.

How dads said it:

  • “Have I become my own worst enemy and I believe my child are too far gone.”
  • “Worried that it’s too late and not worth starting now.”
  • “How to teach them when God hasn’t been a topic as they grew up.”

 


 

#7 Anger and impatience.

Anger is a major issue with dads. Whether you struggle with numbers 1-6 on this list or not, odds are good you’re pissed off by now. You’re probably mad at me, mad at this list, mad at yourself—mad at everything. Here are a few example of how the issue of anger and impatience came out in dads’ responses.

How dads said it:

  • “Speaking without yelling.”
  • “Being a consistent patient dad, putting my children’s needs before my wants.”
  • “Keeping my cool with the kids. They can’t seem to stop pushing the boundaries!”

 


 

#8 Being intentional and focused.

Intentionality and focus drive a ton of issues dads face. It’s one thing to know what do to as a dad. Then, for the few who actually start doing the right things as leaders in their homes, how do they remain focused and committed to doing what God calls them to. When does it become a lifestyle? Read and see if any of these sound like you.

How dads said it:

  • “I don’t want to be distracted by work or other issues and not give my son the attention he deserves. I want him to know he is loved always.”
  • “Relating to each of my kids uniquely, in a manner that speaks to them and their specific needs.”
  • “Feeling disconnected as my kids get older. To be effective now I need to pray more effectively and change up how I used to do things.”

 


 

#9 Leadership.

Most of the issues dads face end up being a problem in leadership. But, as you read these, you’ll notice in their own words how they said this particular challenge. Maybe you’ve not been given a great example of leadership from your dad. But, God still calls YOU to lead in your role as husband and father. Maybe reading the responses below with make something click in you. Does one of the replies resonate with you?

How dads said it:

  • “Getting the kids to church and sticking with it.”
  • “For someone who never had a father to lead me I want to make sure that I’m leading my son in the right direction.”
  • “I’m not the leader my family desires, needs, or deserves.”

 


 

#10 Finding common ground.

Most dads say they struggle with communication. Finding common ground was a prominent theme in dads responses. Dads simply can’t connect. Maybe they never connected. Or, maybe they haven’t connected since the kids were younger. Try as you may, your words end up as lectures and the harder you try to connect—the deeper the chasm grows between you and your child.

How dads said it:

  • “As my kids get older (14 & 16) and are less interested in us, I find it difficult to find ways to spend time together.”
  • “I don’t get video games. Not sure how to engage with my son without trying to turn him into me.”
  • “Understanding my teenage daughter.”

 


 

Question: What’s your biggest challenge as a dad right now?

Tell us HERE, snag some insights, and get help immediately.

 


 

Greatest challenges Christian dads are facing [Infographic]

Click HERE to view the full-size PDF infographic.

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What’s the next step you can take right now?

Did some of these challenges sound like ones you’re facing now? Here are some resources to help you overcome these challenges now and in the days ahead.

1/ Would you like a handy, free tool to help you ask better questions right now? When you snag our free Busy Dad Cheetsheat, you’ll unlock great questions to ask immediately. Plus, you’ll start getting free weekly blog posts to keep the momentum going.

2/ Want a new, and free Bible reading plan? Grab our plan just for dads—in partnership with YouVersion—called 10 Challenges Every Dad Must Conquer.

3/ One of these fatherhood challenges jump out at you? Address the struggle immediately with one our of Field Guides written to help you overcome these challenges.

4/ Need help learning to be a godly dad so you lead your family without regrets? Our digital course called The Connected Father will help.

5/ Need help knowing where to start—and stay motivated? Get access to weekly videos and tools to help you know how to be a better dad and gain access to a community of other dads fighting this battle.

6/ Need resources for a father-son Bible study? We have you covered and can help you lead in talks about everything from calling, leadership, money, and relationships.

7/ Are you a church leader looking to serve dads and help them overcome these struggles? Find our resources to help get dad engaged.

 


Greatest challenges Christian dads are facing [PDF Presentation]

Click HERE to view or share the PDF presentation.

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