Staying The Course: The Importance Of Father-Son Bonding As Your Kids Get Older
There is a cliche that has persisted for at least as long as we have had the written word, and probably for longer. While mothers and daughters can talk to each other about anything, fathers and sons have a more distant relationship.
To be more accurate, in the early years, fathers will do everything to make time to hang out with their boys. They'll play football and baseball with them. Pick them up and spin them around until they're dizzy. Have stupid (but fun) in-jokes. As the sons get older, it's almost expected that they grow apart. It's almost encouraged for the son to have a rebellious spell while the dad despairs at his choices.
It's hard to think of this as anything but unhealthy. It's obvious why it happens. The conditioning for a dad to be a strong male role model focuses more on the first two words, and the "male" in particular. We're not expected to show emotion easily.
If your son is getting older, they may not laugh at the same silly jokes. Possibly they'll prefer playing weird sports to football. They'll definitely be harder to pick up and spin around - and almost certainly won't appreciate it anyway.
As your son moves from childhood to adolescence, it doesn't become less important to bond with them. If anything, it is more important. They'll be going through times of uncertainty like nothing childhood prepared them for. And as the closest person they have who's experienced those times, your guidance is all the more necessary.
This being the case, you need to find new ways to hang out with them and also to talk with them. Eight-year-old boys are talkative to a fault. Five years later they can be sullen and withdrawn. In bonding with them, you need to show the archetype of a grown, successful man who can be open about his feelings. It's when they feel comfortable doing that that they'll tell you what's on their minds
All over the place, they'll see examples of men who want to be alpha males. Who are trying to reclaim what it means to be a man from what they consider to be an overly-feminized society. As though there is just one way to be a man. So you need to be the one who shows them that you can have respect for women and write poetry, while also being fanatical about the Denver Rockies.
If you feel that you and your son are growing apart, don't wait for them to come to you with a problem. Speak to them, and persist. Remember when you were their age? Your first response to ANYONE asking about your feelings would have been to grimace and clam up. But you still wouldn't have turned down tickets to a baseball game.
It can be anything - we've all grown up a bit in a tech age, so set up a gaming den in your home. Don't try and piggyback too much on their interests (no teenage boy wants to hear his dad try to rap, ever), but there will be common ground. Use that to reconnect and push forward.
When it comes right down to it, sometimes your son will want to go and do his own thing. He's becoming his own person after all. The most important aspect is that you never stop looking for ways to bond. That relationship is essential in raising a confident, considerate so
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