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.