You may do things with your kids and still not really feel connected to them…or maybe you are not sure how to interact with them. For some dads, sometimes a little help is needed to feel that connection. Here are some ideas.
Know Your Kids
First of all, get to know your kids. You may think you already know them, but do you? Do you know what they’re passionate about? Spend some time paying attention to what your kids are into. What shows do they watch? Do they like to stay home and get buried in a good book, or are they always running around with friends? What makes them tick? Here are some things to observe as you get to really know your kids.
* Unscheduled time – Watch what your kids do during unscheduled time. What’s their “default mode”? When there isn’t anywhere to be, do they go watch TV, hang out on the computer, draw pictures, write creatively, work with clay? A lot can be gleaned about a person’s inner self by how he or she spends unscheduled time.
* Language – Listen to how your kids talk. What do they talk about? Friends, animals, celebrities? Listen for the subject matter they discuss the most, even if you are tempted to “tune it out” because you don’t relate to it. Speaking of not tuning out…
Nearly all of us can benefit from learning to listen better. For parents, though, it’s especially important. Try to avoid getting defensive or pointing out where your child is wrong. Instead, just listen – try to understand what he or she is saying without reacting to it.
Cultivate Your Relationship with Your Child’s Mother
Research has shown that dads are more likely to be connected to their kids if they have a good relationship with their child’s mother. A poor relationship with Mom can occur in married, divorced, or non-married couples, and the same is true for a good relationship. Regardless of your marital status, experts agree that it’s most beneficial to think of your child’s mother as the co-parent, and learn to work together in raising your child.
Okay, so “sharing” may not sound like a manly thing – but it is! An important way to connect with your family is to share some of yourself – your time, your concerns, your personality. Just as getting to know your kids is important, getting your kids to know you is, too. Try to open up about things you enjoy doing, concerns you have, and thoughts on life. Your kids may respect you a lot more when they understand some of the reasoning behind your actions.