Redefining relationship with your children 

    A father is neither an anchor to hold us back, nor a sail to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way!

    Gone are the days when mothers were seen as the only caretaker watching over children while fathers kept busy to earn a living. With the ever changing times and with the rising call for equal parenting, people are realizing just how important the role fathers play in children’s lives. It is a fact that mothers have a more dominant role in the first months and years of life; however, psychologists say a strong bond between fathers and their children is just as important for the kids’ well-being and psycho-emotional development.

    The essence of a father-child relationship

    It is beyond the shadow of a doubt that building a healthy and stable relationship with the child, when he is young, is very important for every father. Every child aspires to bond with his father, to feel worthy of receiving his love. It is a general tendency to grow up by imitating one’s parents – the first people we interact with; this is how we learn to function and survive in the world. The patterns a father’s behavior reflects dictates how his child relates to other people and how he looks at the world. By laying down the rules of conduct, fathers discipline their children. A father is the one who creates respect for every living being in his child. Not just this, it is widely seen that daughters also look upon her father to model further relationships in her life.

    It is also proven that affectionate and supportive fathers considerably affect a child’s social as well as cognitive development. An involved father promotes inner growth and strength, inculcates in his child the values of justice and fairness. He teaches his child objectivity and the consequences of right and wrong.

    Unlike over-protective mothers, fathers encourage risk-taking and let their child venture out. Thus, the child engenders independence, which better prepares him to face the challenges of life. It is a father’s imprints which makes his son either loving and gentle or strong and valiant. When fathers provide a feeling of emotional and physical security, children turn out to be more confident and outperform their peers. They also face fewer psychological problems in life.

    Strengthening the bond of fatherhood and son

    In life, we tend to invest time and money into the things we care about and when it comes to a father-child relationship, this principle is of utmost importance. However, the father-son relationship can be complex. Fathers and sons with widely different interests can find it hard to relate to one another. Sometimes, dads and sons feel competitive against one another. Other times, communication issues are compounded when both want a better father-son relationship but neither one knows how to go about it. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some key elements to creating and building a strong father-son relationship.

    Set a good example

    There are many things you can do to develop a strong bond with your son. Whether we realize it or not, sons learn about being a man primarily by watching their fathers. A father’s influence on their son’s personal development is often unseen but nonetheless real.

    As young men watch their fathers interact with others including their partner, they learn about respect (or disrespect), about how men interact with others, and about how men should deal with conflict and differences. Understanding that a father’s influence on their son is unmatched will help you think more deeply about your relationship with your son and take your responsibility as a good role model seriously.

    Here’s how you can be a good role model for your kids:

    Spend time together and show them they are important

    As a father, make sure that you allow for some one-on-one time with your son. This time together lets your son know that they’re important to you, especially if you make time for them amidst a very busy schedule. Carving out time together also communicates that they are a priority in your life and that you enjoy being with them. While they are young, you can engage in boisterous play outside, read books, build with legos, or play a game. Once they are older and have more defined interests, try to participate in the things they enjoy, too. Whether your son loves basketball or debate, find ways to get involved. Play hoops in the driveway or learn how to be a debate judge when they’re in high school. Some of your best memories will be of those times you spent together doing something they’re passionate about.

    Develop shared interests and discover commonality

    Father-son relationships can feel strained at times, especially if your interests appear to be polar opposites. With a little effort, though, you can usually find something that you both find interesting. These shared interests allow you to discover some commonality while maximizing the time you spend together doing something you both enjoy. Finding common interests benefits your father-son relationship in a number of ways. For instance, sharing an interest with someone allows you insight into who the person is. Common interests also become a vehicle for bonding by giving you something to talk about and do together that you both enjoy.

    Work together on a project to create lasting memories

    There is something magical for a boy about being involved in something bigger than themselves. Plus, these big, visible projects can really help strengthen a father and son bond. Some dads and sons build planter boxes, landscape a backyard, build a vacation cabin, or head off on a big summer biking vacation. Whatever it is, a bigger-than-life project done together can create a bond that will last a long time and make memories you will talk about together for decades.

    To come up with a project you and your son can do together, think about what you both enjoy or community issues you are passionate about when developing a project. You can look for service opportunities, plan an adventure, remodel, or build something together.

    Try to have a meaningful conversation or just try to listen

    Starting from an early age, it’s important that fathers learn how to listen to their sons without judgment and without trying to fix things too soon. Doing so will go a long way to building a lasting relationship and developing an effective communication style. To encourage your son to open up, look for opportunities to engage in meaningful conversations. Sometimes, just be with your son when you can and listen to what’s on their mind or what they have to say. Fishing together, going to a sporting event, or taking a road trip can all be effective ways to create a listening environment.

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