Parents are often embarrassed to admit that they don’t always feel connected to their children. This is particularly true for some fathers who often find it difficult to express their emotions around their children. There are plenty of kids in the world today who have never in their life heard the words ‘I love you’ from their dad. The female and male stereotype still dominate many families. Women are expected to be caring and nurturing towards kids. Men are supposed to be strict and a firm hand. This isn’t the only reason why you might feel detached from your children of course. It might be that you don’t share any interests and this can be a challenge. For instance, you might be obsessed with soccer and if your child loves musical theater instead it can be difficult to connect. It can lead to the point where you push them to do what you want. This can make them resent you further because they begin to live your life rather than their own.
So what should you do if, for whatever reason, you are struggling to connect with your children? Well, we’ve got some ideas that may help you here.
Figure Out What Interests Them
Maybe your children aren’t interested in sports or whatever you liked at their age. Instead, they have their own personal hobbies and activities that they enjoy. You should try to connect with them by taking a shared interest in this activity. You should do this even if you don’t see the point in what they enjoy or care about. Do this for two reasons. First, you might find that you’re more similar than you thought after giving it a chance and second your child will appreciate it. They will see that you do care about what they like rather than just what you expect them to. You can approach this subtly so that it doesn’t feel as though you are forcing yourself to join in.You might even find that your child is incredibly talented in a certain area. It is a chance to take pride in who your child is and who they are becoming.
You won’t want to admit this, but parents do have a feeling deep down when they see their child is nothing like them. For just a moment they consider the possibility that maybe they are not the father or mother. How can they be when this child is so completely different from them? Don’t think you are a terrible person for considering this possibility. For one thing, it’s a natural reaction because you’ll be trying to explain why you have very few shared interests. Secondly, it could be closer to the truth than you think. Geneticists and researchers have gone back and forth about how common false fathers are in society. Dads who believe they have a son or daughter but are actually not related to the kid at all. While some believe it is around 1 percent, others have suggested it could be as high as 30. A crazy statistic we’re sure you’ll agree but one that is quite troubling. The good news is that you can get peace of mind. It’s possible to take a home paternity test without involving your child. By doing this, you will hopefully be able to prove to yourself that this is your son or daughter. This proof will push you towards spending more time with your children. After all, they are your flesh and blood.
Show Them Who You Are
You might find it difficult to connect with your children because they don’t see you as an individual. Instead, they simply see you as a parent. This is particularly true as you get older because then you stop being a friend to your children and more of a guiding figure. You tell them what they can’t do, punish them for breaking the rules and in some ways restrict their freedom. For instance, as they approach teens your kids are going to want to stay out later with friends and you’ll have to tell them no. Don’t be surprised if you hear the odd ‘I hate you’ here and there. Now, your kids are starting to see you in the same way that they look at their teachers. You’re a figure of authority. You’ll be pleased to hear that this idea typically fades as they approach adulthood and become more independent. But even when they’re younger it’s possible to break through this role. The best way is to encourage your children to have an open relationship with you. Make sure that they know they can talk to you about absolutely anything. There should be no secrets, and if this is true, you won’t feel as detached from them.
Show Them Who You Were
One of the best ways to connect with your kids is to show them what you were like when you were younger. The classic example would be to share your own music taste with your children. Don’t forget that the music you listened to when you were younger is probably considered vintage now. Therefore at a certain point, your kids probably will want to experience it for themselves. By showing them this side of you, it’s possible to remind your kids that you were their age once too. Weirdly, this isn’t always clear to kids. They often, particularly at a young age, see their parents as people who have always been adults. After all, that’s all they have ever known you as.
Don’t Push Too Hard
The final suggestion is that you shouldn’t push too hard to get your kids to connect with you. It can have the opposite effect because as you push them, they slip further away from you. You should let it happen naturally and if you give it time, if you are patient it will. You will discover that there are certain situations that present themselves where a connection is possible. Perhaps they ask about what music you liked when you were younger? Or, maybe they will invite you to read something that they have written. This is your child reaching out to you, and you must be ready to meet them halfway.