What some kids perceive as meanness might actually be firm, consistent and warranted implementation of house rules and discipline from a dad. In some cases, dads project a more aggressive attitude based on modeling from their own father, or what they think is the most effective form of parenting.

Not getting what one wants or being told "No!" is a natural part of the learning process for kids. However, some perceive these occurrences as a parent being mean. In reality, the father might be trying to protect his child or teach a valuable lesson.

Some dads have stressful jobs and other responsibilities that cause them to be very tense. This can strain communication and patience with children. In some cases, dads may act unkind toward a child because of resentment or a disconnected role, such as in a non-biological relationship or a divorce situation.

Fathers with anger issues or other emotional disorders might also take their problems out on their children.