It can be difficult for either parent to develop a strong relationship with a child, and if you don’t feel that close to your son or daughter it can be especially difficult to ask for help. What’s more, if your partner has a strong bond, it can lead to feelings of jealousy and even resentment as well as guilt. It can put a major strain on the whole family unit. However, there are ways that you can build bonds and reinforce your existing relationship, even if you only have a relatively limited amount of time to spend with your children each week.
The Importance Of “Dad Time”
In a lot of cases, whether you have a son or daughter, they will be less concerned with the type of activity that you arrange, and simply be happy being able to spend time with Dad. Research suggests that daughters who have supportive and loving Dads are more likely to develop a strong sense of self-worth and good self-esteem. They are more likely to succeed in later life, while sons look to their Dads as role models, so they will grow up loving and caring if these are the traits that you show as a father.
Time To Bond
Time is arguably the most important resource you can share with your son or daughter. Take the time to drive them to school, to turn up to football, or to watch them in their school play. Being at home is important, but if you lock yourself away in the home office or you are generally unapproachable, then your child will be less inclined to approach you, so quality time is vital. Be patient, be available, and be a good Dad.
There are many ways of spending quality time with your children. Help them with their homework, sit and watch a film together (even if it is a teen movie), and make sure that you regularly enjoy family dinners together. You could even grow your own fruit and vegetables and prepare the meals together for some added time and to develop a hobby together.
If you can also spend time away from the house together, this can help develop your relationship in different ways. Your child can see how you interact with the world. They will learn to trust and rely on you in a host of different circumstances, and they will also develop memories of the times that you spend together. Go camping, explore hiking trails, or even go fishing with your child to strengthen family ties. Outdoor activities like these mean that there are fewer distractions, giving you greater opportunity to really get to know one another. Outdoor activities are also good for physical and mental health, while some activities like fishing can lead to additional activities like cooking and eating together.
Try Something New
Don’t be afraid to try something new, and even consider letting your son or daughter teach you how to enjoy participating in their favourite activities. Even if you don’t particularly enjoy the activity, you should relish the opportunity to build bonds, and your son or daughter will genuinely appreciate the extra effort that you have put into it. What’s more, you might be surprised and find that you enjoy some of the same activities, which will make it much easier to connect over something. This kind of activity also allows your child to develop mentoring skills and empathy, which can prove critical to a healthy adult life.
Try to set aside a regular time to partake in any new activity, otherwise weeks can soon become months, and you end up in the same position as you are now – looking for new ways to connect. Don’t be too strict over timing and times, and allow a little leeway, otherwise you might both end up resenting the time that should have been fun. This can also teach about commitment and reliability, as well as prioritising and scheduling.
Life Is A Lesson
Not everything has to be a lesson, and simply spending time with your children should be rewarding for both of you. However, it is worth remembering that, whether you are out fishing, tending your vegetable garden, or going to watch your daughter’s latest dance recital, they are always learning from you so you should display the attributes that you want to see in them.