The relationship a father has with his son is extremely special, but can be difficult to maintain if both parties are not willing to put forth the effort. From the moment they are born, sons look up to their fathers as role models, to guide and support them through their formative years.
When fathers and sons do not have the same interests during these early years, it may be difficult for them to bond and have tight father-son relationships. There are a few things, however, that fathers and sons can do to maintain strong relationships with each other.
1. Develop a few common interests
Even though some fathers are unable to spend as much time with their sons as they would like, it is important to have a few common interests. This allows fathers to feel involved in their sons’ lives without feeling negative time constraints between time spent on a hobby and time spent with family.
2. Rough and tumble with each other
Boys will always be boys, and one thing they like to do is wrestle with others. Fathers and sons develop special bonds when they spend time just wrestling with one another. Backyard wrestling when the child is younger can turn into rock-climbing, hiking, or other outdoor adventures when older.
3. Share a big project
Time spent on a project can strengthen a relationship for any two people. This is especially true for a father and son. If there is a household project that needs to be done, or a car that needs to be restored, involving your son can help with the relationship.
Going through the trials and errors of restoring something or working on something big can bring a father-son team closer together, especially when it is time to celebrate accomplishments at the end.
4. Make one-on-one time
It is important to spend one-on-one, especially if the family is big. Helping a son feel important when he has a father’s undivided attention can really help stimulate an open relationship. In the future, when the son is troubled or needs support from his father, he would likely be more willing to approach his role model if he already has a great relationship going. Spending one-on-one time together can really help build up that great relationship for the future.
It is important for a son to have a place to go when he needs advice or simply a listening ear. Growing up is not easy. When fathers are able to lend an ear and listen to their sons, their bond strengthens. This does not mean that the father has to necessarily help the son solve the problems.
Sometimes just listening helps. One difficult thing to remember on the father’s part is that listening needs to involve no judgments, especially when times are rough for his son.
Every little success is important, and none of them are too insignificant to celebrate. It is the little successes that add up. Sons need confidence during a tough time in their lives. When they know that their fathers believe in them, they tend to be more prone to stay on the straight and narrow, and not stray from family norms.
The worst feeling a son can have is that they have let their fathers down. As a result, it is important to let them know how proud you are of being their father.
7. Convert criticisms to suggestions
Often times, fathers find flaws in their sons that remind them of themselves, and they become extremely critical. It is important for fathers to step back and realize that when they criticize their sons, they can really crush self-esteem and make the son feel extremely insignificant.
Rather than criticizing, make suggestions instead. Do not be disappointed if your son does not take the suggestion, but at least it was mentioned and put on the table for consideration. The worst thing a father can do to a son is to embarrass them with criticisms.
8. Ask for a son’s help
One way to build confidence in a son, or show that he is worthy, is to ask him for help. Never be afraid to turn to your children for support. This will help them feel a part of the solution rather than always being a part of the problem. This can really break down walls between a father and a son.
9. Share stories
When a father takes time to share stories of his own childhood, their sons are able to better connect with them and learn who they are. Often times, fathers and sons have distant relationships because they do not know each other. Open up and let your son into your life to create a tighter bond.
10. Make sure the son’s mother is on the same page
Most of the time, parenting breaks down when the father and mother are not communicating. For a strong father-son relationship to grow and mature, the mother or wife needs to be on board.
She needs to be aware of what is going on and needs to be supportive and respectful of the father-son bond. Inconsistent parenting when parents undermine each other can be detrimental to any parent-child relationship.
Like any other relationship, a father-son one needs constant work and revision in order to become and stay strong. When there is a strong bond between father and son, life for both parties can be very fulfilling. A father needs a son to pass on his beliefs and values, and a son needs a father to look up to and emulate.