Father-Child Bonding

This blog post was originally published on Aug 6, 2013

Summer’s longer days and time off from work and school make it a great season to boost father-child bonding. Fathers I meet sometimes talk about feeling less confident about their influence on their children’s lives, yet it’s important to continue to remind them that they make up one-half of the parent team and are role models to the same extent as their partner is.

Here are a three tips to strengthen your relationship with your child:

1- Start Today

More traditional dads often confide to me about feeling disconnected from their babies, toddlers, or even older children and teens. Unsure of how to relate to them or how much of an impact they’re going to have at a young age, these dads talk about waiting until their kids grow up to begin building a relationship. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that even the lack of a connection with your child is still a relationship - albeit, an absent one. Relationships with kids should and need to develop from day one.

2- Play

It’s no secret that children love to play (BENEFITS  OF PLAY – LINK OTHER ARTICLE). Using play time to strengthen your father-child bond is a simple and easy way to connect without the pressure of not knowing what to say. With older kids, play is also a great method to tackle more difficult subjects by using toys to voice what you or your children need to discuss. It can include tummy time with babies, reading (you can never be too early to instill great habits), and even volunteering together. I also recently met a dad who takes time off each summer for what he calls ‘daddy camp’ – a few days or weeks of quality (link to crumbs of time) time with his kids.

3- Team Up

If your child’s other parent is in the picture, regardless of whether you are partnered or not, teaming up when it comes to discipline is an important way to maintain a strong, positive connection with your kids. Being a team means avoiding being the ‘permissive’ parent your kids go to when they were told no by the other person. Kids get used to getting what they want out of you but will also indirectly learn that they cannot rely on you to be consistent with your actions. In the long-term, teaming up means you will also be a solid reference point when your kids face bigger problems and need guidance.

So with 18 in Mind, start building a stronger relationship with your children today so you may have a more solid one tomorrow.

Happy parenting,


N.B.: 18 in Mind is a blog about the day your kids turn 18 and the parenting years in between!