Psychology of the Arab Dad: Decoded

Arab fathers have a unique bond with their children. For instance, they are rather distant yet quite attached to their daughters and have a supervisory yet open relationship with their sons.

Arab fathers are usually shy of showing emotion – after all, they are the caretakers and providers for the family, they cannot look vulnerable or embarrassed (although it’s adorable when they are – example: daughter’s wedding day or when someone thanks them for being helpful).

It’s typical in Middle Eastern culture for the mother to be more involved with the emotional and personal issues of her kids, fathers only get involved when it’s a serious matter or a strict rule must be enforced.

Yet Arab fathers remain the kindest, most caring and protective fathers you will ever know. They hate watching their children grow up, I have seen many who didn’t know their children’s actual age and thought they were younger.

Here are some of the most common characteristics of Arab dads, may God eternally bless them for us!


1. He grunts, but never refuses

Remember when you were younger and you wanted your dad to buy you ice cream on his way home, take you to buy a gift for your friend’s birthday or simply take you out for a drive because you were bored at home?

He never says no, but he makes this grunting noise that makes you think 10 times before you ask him again the next time. You always ask again, though, because you know you have the kindest dad in the world who isn’t programmed to say, “no”.


2. He has (frustrating) double standards

Think of the time when you had to be home by 8 PM because you are a girl and your younger brother could come home at 10 PM and no one would say anything to him? Or the time when you had to clean up the room after you and your brother were playing because you are the girl? Do you remember what happened when your brother got caught smoking? I bet you don’t want to remember what happened when you were caught smoking BECAUSE YOU ARE A GIRL!


3. He’s extra hardheaded

Arabs in general are extremely hardheaded, and it’s not always a bad thing. For example, you must have tricked your dad at some point into making him believe going away for the weekend with your friends was his idea and that you would rather stay home and spend time with the family, but he insisted that you must travel just because he says you have to.


4. He’s impatient

I bet everyone of us has had the “It’s 11:40 PM and you curfew is 11:30 PM” fight with our fathers at some point in time.


5. He’s over- super-protective

A lot of fathers still won’t allow their children to drive, travel alone or stay out late because there are lots of bad people on the streets. They will not let you experience anything on your own as long as they are alive and God forbid something harms you while they are still breathing.


6. You will always look thin to him

He will never comprehend why you are on a diet or hitting the gym. You will always look poorly fed to him and that’s very bad because how come the daughter/son of folan elfolani looks like this? The more fat under your skin the prettier and richer you will look.


7. He’s incredibly loud

Think of your father’s cough when he’s just outside the house – making a statement that he’d arrived. Or when he’s on the phone with you and your eardrums are in pain because your father talks in inhumane decibels. But the best: the extra energy he gets when it’s a long distance phone call, like the line might drop if he doesn’t scream.

I also bet you heard the first cuss words in your life from you dad while he thought you didn’t hear him.


8. Last but not least, he knows he’s your personal ATM

personal ATM
Whether you are still in school or graduated with a job, you can always go to your father for money and he expects you to. He will help you buy your car, prepare for marriage, help you even with your children’s expenses. And while we’re not encouraging that, we owe them for being so generous by nature.


There are so many fine qualities of an Arab dad, the best things are the strong family values, the kind hearts and the emotional yet kept-together moments they experience watching us grow up and taken away from them. Of course, these may not apply to all, but what we all agree on is that we love our fathers to pieces. And secretly, we all seek our father’s approval one way or another.

Take a moment to reflect on the greatest father-daughter relationship in Islamic history between Prophet Mohammed and his daughter Fatima al Zahra.

As narrated by Ayisha, the Prophet’s wife: “Never have I seen anyone more like the Messenger of Allah in his solemn way of standing and sitting, more than Fatima, may Allah grant her more honour. When she came in to see him, he would rise to his feet, take her hand, kiss her and seat her where he was seated. And when he came to see her, she would stand up, take his hand, kiss him and seat him where she was seated.”

Arab dads are cut to be the best!

WE SAID THIS: Check out our Ode to Arab Mothers!

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