Steps to better bonding with dad


It's mostly about attention, time

May 26, 2009

By Jim Gibson, Times Colonist
Bonding comes easier to moms than dads. After all, moms have a nine-month head start at connecting with their child.

While most fathers over time develop solid relationships with their kids, there are ways to strengthen the connection, according to social worker John Dietrich with the Professionals in Crisis program at Houston's Menninger Clinic.

Many dads are so into their careers that they are just not present even when spending time with their kids, he said. "Kids pick up on that at an early age. They know when you are not listening or when you are distracted."

Dietrich offers the following to strengthen the bond between fathers and their children:

1. Schedule time with the kids. "If something does come up, let it wait. Make your kids the priority."

2. Get rid of the distractions. "Turn off [wireless] gadgets and turn your attention to your kids."

3. Focus on the moment. "If you find your mind wandering while spending time with the kids, steer your attention back to the moment at hand."

4. Validate your child's needs. Things that seem unimportant to a parent could have great importance in the mind of a child.

5. Show your emotions. Touch is important. "While words can be powerful, combining 'I love you' with a hug can make a huge impact."