Being a good father is not a part–time job. It takes commitment and hard work. Every man has the power to build a strong relationship with his children. It’s not unusual for men to have a difficult time expressing their feelings. Father–Son
Men who did not have a strong relationship with their fathers often find themselves unable to develop a relationship with. Their sons. In Father Your Son: How to Become the Father You’ve Always Wanted to Be, Dr. Stephan B. Poulter explains that by understanding what kind of relationship you had with your father, you can improve the relationship you. Have with your son.
There are five fundamental fathering styles: super achiever, time bomb, passive father, absent father, and compassionate/mentor father.
Once you recognize your fathering style, there are steps you can take to improve your fathering skills. Changes won’t occur overnight, but the more aware you are of what it is you don’t want to do, the better chance you will have to improve your relationship. Father–Son
If you are a super achiever, you are a father that looks for perfection to compensate for the lack of nurturing you received as a child. Dr. Poulter suggests keeping a “criticism” journal for one week. Write down remarks that you make that are critical of your son. At the end of the week, total the comments. During the following weeks do the same thing, but be conscious of your criticisms and try to reduce this number. Your goal is to reduce the criticisms by 50 percent. Compliment your son as often as you can. The more you do it the easier it will become.
The time bomb father should videotape himself. By recording a recent tirade he just had with his son, he will be able to see what he looks like and what it must feel like to be his son. While viewing the video, this father should ask himself if this is how he wants his son to remember him. Think of ways to substitute your physical or verbal assaults on your son. Find alternative ways to vent: get in your car and drive around the block until you cool off or shoot baskets until you have calmed down. Father–Son
The passive father should re–establish his relationship by interacting emotionally with his son. The following is a list of ways a father can create an emotional bond with his son: hugging him, allowing him to see you cry, laughing together, and communicating through words and gestures when you’re disappointed about something that has happened. Venting healthy anger without hostility against your boss or a sports team so that your son can see your reaction, showing your emotions while you grieve the loss of a loved one, and encouraging him to tell you how he feels without judging his emotions are all ways that can help you become closer to your son. Father–Son
The absent father should increase the amount of time he spends with his son. Try to come home an hour earlier from the office on the days you know your son will be home. Become more involved in his life by sharing your interests or learning about the things he likes to do. Being an involved father is not just about attending your son’s baseball game or taking him on expensive vacations; it’s about reaching below the surface and connecting with him. A son who feels connected to his father will be able to explore the world and go further in life because he knows he can count on his father to be there for him.
Men have a tendency to ignore or minimize the hurt they experienced as children. By understanding your past you will be able to work on not making the same mistakes your father did.
It is never too late to reach out to your son, love your son, and not be afraid to admit your mistakes. Show him and tell him as often as you can what he means to you, and you will be modeling the kind of father he will grow up to be.
Maria Luisa Salcines is a freelance writer, certified parent educator and parent coach with The International Network for Children and Families in Redirecting Children’s Behavior, Redirecting for a Cooperative Classroom, and Redirecting Corporate America. Contact her at her Web site atwww.redirectingchildrenrgv.org.