Essays About Dads: Top 5 Examples Plus 10 Prompts

Write engaging essays about dads with help from our essay examples about dads, including a handful of topic prompts.

Dads are critical pillars in children’s development. Like moms, their presence, especially in children’s early years, is critical in laying the foundation of their well-being and self-esteem that will determine much of their kids’ adulthood. Some people have great relationships with their dads, while others have complicated or strained relationships, or don’t have contact with them at all.

Being a dad is different from merely being a father in that the former has nurtured a more loving relationship with their kids. Becoming a father is a huge milestone in a person’s life. The child can enjoy their dad’s great sense of humor, fun attitude in life, and loving personality. Whatever your relationship with your dad, you can write a compelling essay to convey your experiences and share your emotions.

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5 Essay Examples

1. 10 Lessons I Learned From My Abusive Father by Suzanna Quintana

“Between his rages, verbal abuse, emotional absence, and his way of using guilt and shame as a weapon, the rest of us were kept under control through what I later dubbed Operation Fear, his cold war campaign designed to silence all dissidents and maintain his place as a dictator.” 

The author relates her struggles of breaking free from her father’s encumbering sense of being unloved. Although her struggle lasted into her late adult years, she eventually learned to accept and cherish lessons from her father that helped her become a better parent to her children.

2. Why Some Fathers Become Distant After Their Child Becomes A Teen by Larissa Marulli

“Dad can have a really hard time getting used to his little girl now being a young woman who has romantic interests, and breasts and may no longer be into the things that she and dad used to do together.”

The love of dads has a lasting impact on a child’s disposition and outlook in adulthood. The problem is that some dads tend to be distant once their kids’ transition into teenagers. This essay helps dads preserve their closeness with their children during confusing times. 

3. Gay Dads and Stigmas by Laura Ferguson

“…[G]ay fathers still feel the brunt of stigma, experiences that the researchers linked to states with fewer legal and social protections for gays and their families.”

Years after the legal acceptance of gay marriages, gay dads still endure discrimination. A research study uncovers this and studies influences that continue to perpetuate the discriminating environment.

4. This Veterans Day, I’m Searching For My Dad’s Army Buddies Before It’s Too Late by Judi Ketteler

“It was only in 2019 that my sisters and I discovered all the photographs our dad had taken of his fellow GIs — reading, drinking beer at cafés and tending to their military truck. Some are portraits. Some seem candid. All feel special.”

In this essay, book author Ketteler talks about her nostalgic adventure to learn more about her veteran father’s life at the barracks. This journey starts after uncovering old photos of his wartime memorabilia wrapped with mystery and brotherly love. 

5. I Have Never Met My Dad – Making Peace with the Past by James Barnett

“If, for whatever variety of reasons, a dad isn’t present, physically or otherwise, then the child must look elsewhere for role models. I see being a role model as part of my life purpose. I need to be the role model that my dad wasn’t there to be for me. I must be what I didn’t have.”

A son who never had someone to call dad pens a letter to his deceased stranger-father. In this letter-essay, he puts out all the difficulties in meeting him only through pictures and never knowing how his life was. Yet, despite the letter appearing as an outpour of outrage, a surprising twist comes up when the essay shifts into a forgiving tone.

10 Compelling Prompts On Essays About Dads

1. My Dad is My Best Friend

Describe the best side of your father and share with your readers how he fits as your best friend. Talk about the things you like doing together and how he listens to you in times of need. Perhaps you enjoy watching movies together or going on annual trips away together. What are the other things that make you appreciate your father? Answer this question in the main section of your essay. End your essay with a conclusion explaining how a parent and a child can have true bonds of friendship.

2. Spending Time With Dad

Essays About Dads: Spending time with dad
Write about what a day of spending time with your dad looks like and your fondest memory with him

Do you and your dad enjoy golf, camping, or hiking? Or do you prefer doing something indoors, like cooking or playing board games? First, write about the activities you and your father enjoy doing together. Then, for a more impactful essay, write about what a day of spending time with your dad looks like and your fondest memory with him.

3. The Best Lesson I Learned From My Dad

Like our essay example, we hope you also have important lessons to carry on from your dad, whether by having a loving or complicated relationship with him. Write down the most important lesson your dad has imparted to you. You may have learned essential life skills like cooking or cleaning, self-confidence, or how to be independent. Detail how the lessons you have learned have shaped your perspective in life and what you are striving to do to embody his teachings into your life.

4. Modern Roles of Dads

Diverging from the traditional perception of fathers as mainly financial providers, the modern definition of a dad comes in different shapes and sizes. First, enumerate the typical dads existing today — single dads, gay dads, blended households, step dads, and more. Then, find out how they are raising their children and how different are their parenting styles from those of traditional dads. Include interview research in your essay for an interesting and accurate essay.

5. Absent Dads: A Social Crisis

​​According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, one in four children is without a biological, step, or adoptive father. In this essay, enumerate the adverse effects of fatherlessness on a child’s development. How do these effects influence one’s adulthood? Find research studies to support your answer to this.  

6. Single Dads on the Rise

Research from the Pew Research Center has shown that single dads have increased ninefold since the 1960s. Research this trend further and discover what factors drive single men to take on the enormous responsibility of fatherhood on their own. If you know dads who are single fathers by choice, their stories would add more life to your story. Also, tackle the options men have to be single dads, such as surrogacy or adoption, and assistance your state or country offers aspiring single dads. 

7. Dads’ Rights and Obligations in Child Custody

According to the World Population Review, about 50% of married couples divorce. When marriages fail, what rights do fathers hold to continue being a father to their children? Find out what these are, along with a father’s obligations and penalties for not fulfilling them. Turn this into an argumentative essay and answer whether these rights and obligations are enough and how they can be expanded to sustain raising a child. 

8. What Makes a Responsible Dad

As modern times drastically change the roles of parents, dads have become more involved in child-rearing. This has allowed dads to nurture more profound relationships with their kids, breaking the image of a distant father who only gets to see his child after work. First, write about the qualities and actions that make a father a responsible dad. Then, add the importance of having responsible dads at home and what society can do to promote responsible fatherhood. 

9. My Dad: The Disciplinarian

Essays About Dads: My dad the disciplinarian
Share how your dad responded to a grave mistake you committed

The image of dads as a disciplinarian has often been perceived negatively. But beyond the punishments, discipline means enabling children to grow up well. In this essay, talk about your dad’s disciplinary techniques. Write about how he corrects bad behavior. Then, cite anecdotes to make your essay more lively. For example, share how your dad responded to a grave mistake you committed. Finally, write down how he punished you and what you learned from this experience.

10. Becoming a Dad

Interview your father and try to capture his roller coaster of emotions and experiences as a first-time dad. Ask him what he felt like when he first held you in your arms, when you got your first fever and when he first brought you to school. Next, ask him how he is coping with the extraordinary demands of fatherhood financially, physically, and emotionally. Finally, ask him to give soon-to-be fathers a few words of wisdom. Share these experiences in your essay and describe your take on these emotions.

For more writing guidance, our explainer on grammar and syntax can help you write better essays. 

If you need help picking your next essay topic, check out our 20 engaging essay topics about family

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  • Yna Lim is a communications specialist currently focused on policy advocacy. In her eight years of writing, she has been exposed to a variety of topics, including cryptocurrency, web hosting, agriculture, marketing, intellectual property, data privacy and international trade. A former journalist in one of the top business papers in the Philippines, Yna is currently pursuing her master's degree in economics and business.