When dads work to strengthen the relationship with their son, it not only positively impacts the relationship, but his development too.
Fathers have a strong influence on their sons, sometimes without even realising it. The most important way fathers influence their sons is by spending time with them and by being involved in their lives. There is clear evidence now that boys with dads actively involved in their lives do better emotionally, socially and academically.
- Be a positive male role model. Know that your son is always watching you to establish understanding around what it means and what it looks like to be a man, a father, a husband and a friend. Give him positive messages.
- Do things together. Boys (and men) open up more when they are doing something together, shoulder to shoulder. This creates a bond and opportunity for open conversation and sharing.
- Play with him. As well as showing boys how to control their bodies and their strength, fathers play an important role in helping their sons manage their emotions through physical play.
- Share and talk about feelings and emotions. If you and your son are comfortable sharing your feelings and you help guide him to manage his emotions, he will have far better wellbeing outcomes throughout life.
- Show them how to treat and respect others. This will set the foundation for the relationships he will have later in his life. Your son will watch how you interact with others, including your partner. He will learn about respect (or disrespect), about how men treat women, and about how men deal with conflict and differences from you.
- Tell him you love him and are proud he is your son. Your approval and encouragement is very important to your son. Let him know he is loved regardless of performance, results or mistakes. He needs to hear the words that let him know you are proud to have him as your son.