The relationship between a father and his son can be quite difficult to develop and maintain. Fathers and sons do not always relate to one another, especially if they have different interests. Sometimes the male tendency to not communicate about feelings kicks in and prevents a relationship from developing further.
However, there are key things that can strengthen the relationship between father and son. Here are some tips for a stronger father and son bond.
13 Tip to Build a Father and Son Relationship
1. Develop Common Interests
“This can really have a positive impact on your relationship”, says Senior Lawyer at RightLegal.co.za, Richard Dean. Doing something that you both love and enjoy will help the relationship to grow. Take some time to get to know each other and discover which activities you could enjoy together. These activities can become great bonding sessions.
2. Do Something Active and Fun
Boys like to be active, and sometimes they also want to get a little bit rough. There are a few activities that can be fun and rough, but also safe. Some suggestions would be paintballing, playing football or wrestling in the backyard, ice hockey, or even going to the gym together. You both might get a bit competitive, but a little bit of competition in life can be healthy.
3. Listen to Each Other
You’re not going to fully understand each other if you do not listen to each other. Parents especially have a knack for listening to the beginning of the story, then jumping in to finish the rest. Children are professionals at switching off when their parents start talking to them. Skip all of this and just take time to really listen to each other.
4. Do Not Force Face-to-Face Conversation
If a guy is not ready to talk, do not force a conversation. Instead, engage in casual conversation over a project or an activity together. Let your son know that you are always available to talk about anything. Give him that affirmation that you are there for him.
6. Do Not Be Afraid of the Necessary Talks
This includes talks about sex, behavior, performance, and relationships. Be open and honest. They need these talks to teach them and help them develop better attitudes in general. It might be awkward or taken negatively at first, but it will strengthen your relationship in the long run.
7. Take on a Big Project Together
Whether it’s fixing up a car or building a tree house, take on something big and meaningful together. Taking on a bigger than life project will give you memories that you will always treasure and create a bond that will last.
8. Let Them Know about Their Strengths
With so many judgments being thrown at boys from peers and media, it is nice to go home to a place where you are appreciated for your strengths. Show your approval of the things that they are able to do and try their best to succeed at. Celebrate their accomplishments. Constant reinforcement and encouragement builds a relationship and can help them to ignore the negativity that they are confronted with daily.
9. Set Some Boundaries
Rules and boundaries are important for any good thing in life. Being a relaxed parent and acting more like their friend will hurt your relationship more than help to improve it. Clearly set out to your son what is expected of him and what the punishments are for disobeying these rules.
10. Calmly Confront their Mistakes
Do not start screaming. Explain why you are disappointed, ask for their side of the story, and listen to them. You need a calm approach when confronting them and a firm approach when disciplining them. Discipline is for their own good and helps them. Also, it is an option to reward them for good behavior.
11. Be Involved and Show Up
This goes for events and life in general. Statistics show that fathers are less present than ever. Be present in his life. Arrive for sports matches or concert performances or prize giving. Making him a priority and being involved in his life is sure to strengthen your bond.
12. Problem? Solve it Together
Your son will come to you with problems, because he trusts you and thinks you have the ability to help him solve them. Basically, be there to help him with his troubles and problems. Show him that he is not alone in this and that you are there for him.
13. Realize that You Influence Him
This is probably one of the most important things. He looks up to you. You are his role model. Therefore, you need to lead by example. Your son learns by watching you. If you realize and understand how much you influence him, you will be able to take it more seriously and establish a strong and meaningful relationship.
Fathers who focus on their sons and spend time with them develop wonderful relationships and help them to become the best example of a man that they can be and achieve their full potential.
Aaron Anderson is the Director of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. He is also a speaker and writes for various blogs and websites on the topic of families and relationships.