The Spousal Connection

We hear from dads who feel they are doing all the right things but still struggle to connect with their teen. They wonder why there is a short circuit in the connection. We usually deal with ways dads can bridge that gap, open a dialogue, set an example or resolve an issue with their teen. But how about you married dads and your relationship with your spouse?

One of the most important aspects of being an effective father is being a good husband. Your relationship with your wife is the most influential model for your teenager. Yes indeed, men are from Mars and women are from Venus. However, we believe that you, as mere earthlings, can create a strong relationship with your spouse by following some important guidelines.

Making The Connection

Love. Dad, you need to express it not only through words but actions. Compliment her. Fix a dinner or take her out for a meal. Clean the bathroom. Wash the dishes. Iron your shirt. Do the laundry (well, maybe skip her stuff. We’ve had some issues with that!). We work hard to attract, impress and keep the attention of someone we’re interested in. We often forget that part of the relationship when we get married. It remains important. And your kids are watching.

Listen. Often we guys are incomplete listeners. We hear a voice but we don’t pay enough attention to the details. We’re oblivious to the feeling behind the content. Ask for clarification if you’re unsure of something she’s said. Repeat what you hear so she knows you’re getting it. Your kids are listening.

Look. Be aware of what’s going on in your home and in your relationship. Be sensitive to her mood, her worries, the strain of her work, possible frictions with your daughter or son. Watch for things that need to be done around the house and do them. Your kids are observing.

Light. Be a light in her life. Your positive attitude and pleasant demeanor can go a long way to ease the tension or worry that she may be experiencing. Use humor (not sarcasm!) when it’s appropriate. Assure your mate that you will work with her to handle any concern. Your kids are learning from you.

Link. You and your spouse should be on the same team. This is important since teens sometimes try to divide and conquer. Adults who talk with each other about the expectations and limitations they see for their children are in a stronger position to parent effectively. And your kids’ values grow stronger.

A good relationship between mom and dad makes for better parents. When you nurture each other, understand one another’s needs, balance the workload and clarify the parameters and approaches you see for your teen, success is more achievable.

Your kids couldn’t ask for a better model app.


By dads2dads

Perception Is Indeed Reality

When teens speak and act they send signals. From these signals, people draw conclusions, perceptions about who you are. These perceptions, formed by people your teen may never know, will stick like glue!

I Don’t Know You … and I Already Know You

Perceptions lead to judgments. We all do it. We judge people by appearances, by what they say and how they say it, by how they carry themselves, how they dress, sit, eat, laugh, and talk. We don’t have to know someone to judge and form an opinion. We’re experts at it. Is it fair? Perhaps not. But we think about others according to how we perceive them. Your teen may be a wonderful person, but that nose ring can be a turnoff.

Even Before You Open Your Mouth

A potential employer interviewing your teenage son will be influenced by how he sits in the waiting room even before greetings are made and handshakes are exchanged. If he is slouched in his chair or resting his face in his hand or biting his fingernails, an employer may not be thinking kind and generous thoughts. If your daughter’s hair is hanging in her eyes and she’s dressed for a night at the club, a potential employer may not be impressed. If she’s barely articulating her words because her gum is getting in the way, she will not make the short list.

If your son uses a double negative or punctuates every word with a sniff or starts every sentence with the prefix “uh,” …  the, uh, interview will, sniff, be, uh, brief. If your daughter shifts or rocks nervously in her chair, accompanies every shift or rock with a giggle, her competitive edge will be seriously dulled.

If your son’s resume contains misspellings, he might as well keep filling out job applications. He’s fired before he’s hired.

If your daughter sports a tattoo or a purple swath of hair, she’ll have to work to wow in every other category in order to be taken seriously.

It’s Not Fair—and It’s Not Relevant

Nope, it truly isn’t fair. These other people don’t know your teen. Plus isn’t it content rather than impression that counts? Yes, but perception comes before content and makes it hard to overcome. That is why you want image working in your favor. Whether it’s a prospective employer, a new teacher or a potential date’s parent, your first impression may be the only impression.

Teach your teen that as soon as she or he climbs out of bed in the morning, the perception machine shifts into high gear. No, it’s not fair but paying positive attention to perception will make it easier for others to see the good qualities that make your teen terrific.

By dads2dads