Dear Sad Dad,
I really feel for you here. It’s hard when you are working and don’t feel that you are around as much as you would like to be- and then feel that you don’t have a close relationship with your child.
You can build a positive parent-child relationship with your son by being in the moment with him – spending quality time with him and creating an environment where he feels safe and able to come to you if he wants to. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula or guaranteed approach for this, but if you keep working on improving your relationship, your son will blossom.
Showing you love him through affection is important. Greet him with a warm expression, give him eye contact, smile and encourage interaction. Saying ‘I love you’ every day reinforces to him that you love him. We often assume they know this, but in my opinion those three words can never be said enough.
Connection begins with listening to him. Acknowledge his feelings, show your understanding and reassure him that you are there whenever he needs you. Trying to see things from his perspective helps here too. This helps to build mutual respect.
Playing together is also important. Does he enjoy a particular sport, or game? By playing together your child will learn social skills and it’s a fun way to strengthen your relationship with him. Make it fun and just enjoy each other and commit to giving him your undivided attention.
Setting aside 10 minutes a day for him, to talk without distractions can make a huge difference in building your relationship. Show him that he is a priority in your life
Eating meals together as a family builds on communication and bonding. Make a rule of no phones at the table and enjoy each other’s company
I hope you have found this helpful. You sound a great Dad and I am sure with time you will see your relationship with your son blossom.
Support for dads
Our counselling sessions cost £48 (they are therapy not legal advice, for divorce and separation support please use our forum). If you would like to find out more information about our online counselling, provided by experienced and qualified counsellors leave your details below and Debbie will be in touch for an informal chat to talk through the process and the costs. We work with young people (aged 10 and over) and parents.