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Life's Biggest Regret According To Fathers

The #1 regret: Not having spent enough time with their kids during their childhood

Many fathers look back on their lives with a significant regret: not having spent enough time with their children.

In a recent poll conducted by DAD.CEO asking successful leaders about impactful mistakes in their lives, 87% stated that not having spent enough time with their kids during childhood rated as their biggest regret.

The pressures of work, societal expectations, and various responsibilities can often overshadow the precious moments that could have been spent with family. This regret is profound because once those years are gone, they cannot be reclaimed. Here are reflections on this common regret and practical solutions to help current fathers avoid making the same mistake.


As children grow, their needs, interests, and personalities evolve rapidly. Each stage of their development offers unique opportunities for bonding, learning, and creating lasting memories. Fathers who have prioritized other aspects of their lives over spending time with their kids often realize too late that they have missed these irreplaceable moments. The realization that they cannot go back and relive their children’s childhoods is a source of deep regret.


The consequences of not spending enough time with children are significant. It can lead to strained relationships, a lack of understanding and connection, and missed opportunities to guide and influence their lives positively. Children who do not receive adequate attention from their fathers might struggle with feelings of neglect, which can affect their self-esteem and emotional well-being.


Prioritize and Schedule Family Time

Just as you schedule important work meetings, schedule dedicated family time. Make these appointments non-negotiable. Use a family calendar to plan activities and ensure everyone is on the same page. Even small, consistent blocks of time can make a big difference in maintaining a strong bond with your children.

Be Present and Engaged

Quality of time is as important as quantity. When you are with your children, be fully present. Put away electronic devices, minimize distractions, and focus on engaging with them. Listen actively, show interest in their activities, and participate in their hobbies. Being present demonstrates that you value and cherish the time spent with them.

Create Family Traditions

Establishing family traditions can create lasting memories and provide regular opportunities for bonding. These can be simple activities like weekly game nights, annual camping trips, or special holiday rituals. Traditions give children something to look forward to and help strengthen family ties.

Balance Work and Family Life

Striking a balance between work and family life is crucial. Evaluate your work commitments and see if there are areas where you can cut back or delegate tasks. Advocate for flexible working hours or remote work options if possible. Remember that your presence at home is irreplaceable and vital for your children’s development.

Involve Your Kids in Daily Activities

Integrate your children into your daily routine where possible. Whether it's cooking dinner together, running errands, or working on a home project, these shared activities can become valuable bonding experiences. It allows you to spend time together while also teaching them life skills.

Communicate Openly and Honestly

Keep open lines of communication with your children. Explain your work commitments honestly and assure them of your love and dedication. Regularly ask for their input on how they’d like to spend time with you. This helps them feel valued and understood.

Seek Professional Guidance

If you’re struggling to find a balance, consider seeking guidance from a family counselor or a parenting coach. They can provide strategies and support to help you prioritize your family and manage your time more effectively.

Reflect and Adjust

Regularly reflect on your priorities and adjust as needed. Life is dynamic, and what works at one stage might need modification at another. Stay flexible and responsive to your children’s changing needs.


The regret of not spending enough time with children is a poignant reminder of the fleeting nature of childhood. However, by prioritizing family time, being present and engaged, creating traditions, balancing work and family life, involving children in daily activities, communicating openly, seeking professional guidance, and reflecting regularly, fathers can avoid this common regret. Embracing these strategies not only strengthens the father-child bond but also enriches both the father's and the children's lives, creating cherished memories that last a lifetime.