The relationship between Jody and his father is complicated. Jody is a typical young boy of ten when the novel starts, and as such he is sometimes forgetful about his responsibilities.
Carl Tiflin, on the other hand, is all about being responsible. When Jody is given a rifle, his father mandates he won't actually be able to shoot it until he is 12. Carl Tiflin sometimes comes across as insensitive, but in actuallity he is a hard worker and a good man, and he is determined that Jody will develop the right characterisitcs such as responsible as he grows into a young man. This often forces Carl into the role of disciplinarian, and as such he sometimes finds it difficult to show his love, understanding, and affection for his young son.