By Daddy Nickell
We all know how important father/son bonding time is. The relationship a boy has with his father greatly shapes the man he will become in the future. But building a great father/son relationship can be tricky as your son hits his tween and teen years. All of a sudden Dad isn’t as cool as he used to be and your son will most likely lean toward spending time with friends. Although it may be tougher, this is a crucial time for Dads to be involved and maintain the relationship with their sons. With a little advanced planning, you can make the most of your father/son time and create great memories.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1) Meet him on his Turf. Go for a bike ride, lace up some skates, kick a soccer ball; you may even need to grab the wii remote and give video games a try. If you want to hang out and relate with your son, you will need to do it in a way he understands and desires.
2) Go to Movies. This gives you time together, but you don’t need to talk. Then when the movie is over, you’ll have something to talk about. But again, you may have to go to a movie that is out of your comfort zone, let him choose and love it no matter what.
3) Take him out to Dinner. Let your son choose where you eat and make have fun! Whether it is an impromptu dinner or one that is planned for weeks, food is always a good hit with boys.
4) Go to a Sporting Event Together. Boys usually love sports and it’s a perfect time for father and son to bond over a favorite sport or team.
5) Keep Talking. Most boys aren’t as verbal and chatty as girls which can make them hard to talk to. But ultimately, everyone loves to talk about themselves so if you ask questions and keep the conversation going, your son is sure to let down his guard and talk with you.
6) Invite his Friends Over for Pizza. Nothing gathers teenage boys faster than food. If you are willing and able to provide, the boys will come. You may not get the one-on-one time with your son you were hoping for, but you will get to see him in his natural environment. Plus, his friends will probably strike up conversations with you which will give you a glimpse into your child’s life.
7) Turn off the Electronics in the Car. Don’t allow your teen to bury his face in his phone while you are driving around. He can put the phone down for 15 minutes. If conversation doesn’t come easily, turn on the tunes and bond over music. Car rides are a fantastic time to catch up and converse with your kids.
8) Don’t take it Personally. It can be hard when your son chooses to hang with his friends instead of you, but try not to get too bent out of shape over it. In truth, your nagging and pestering will only drive him away more. Understand that he wants to be with his buddies and let that happen.
9) Be Vulnerable with Him. Let your teen know what scares you, what you like, mistakes you’ve made. If you seem like a “real person” to him, he is more likely to hang out with you.
10) Don’t Give a Guilt Trip. “Guilting” your son into hanging out with you will not result in quality bonding. Instead you’ll have a child who resents you for making him skip something fun to hang with his parent.
Robert Nickell, aka Daddy Nickell, father of 7, offers his “5 cents” worth of advice to expectant and new parents. Daddy Nickell is the founder of Daddyscrubs.com, delivery room duds and daddy gifts and apparel, and the DaddyScrubs blog where he covers topics about parenting all from a Dad’s perspective.