Guess what? It’s not another computer game, it‘s you. We’ll look at how to get the most of your time with your son.
Boys need strong relationships with their parents, period. Every boy, without exception, wants a better relationship with his mother and father because his physical and emotional survival depends on it.
Boys spend far too little time with their parents and suffer because of it. In one survey, 21 percent of kids said that they needed more time with their parents. But when the parents of these kids were polled, only 8 percent responded they needed more time with their children. We become so absorbed with keeping up with our daily lives that we miss seeing what our boys really need, which is simply more of us: our time and our attention.
In our earnestness to make up for lost time, to help our boys, we give them all the wrong things. But our boys don’t need things, they need us. Even just being around us: watching how we handle life, how we talk, listen, help others, and make our decisions. Every son is his father’s apprentice, studying not his dad’s profession but his way of living, thinking, and behaving.
Boys need to see fathers who behave as good men so that they can mimic that behavior. They need to see men at work. They need men who set standards. And if you don’t give them standards to live by, they’ll pick them up wherever they can find them: Facebook, YouTube, or the wrong kids at school. A father needs to give his son the model of a man to which he can measure up. That’s what a son wants from his dad: he wants to admire him and be like him. That is a lot of pressure put on a father, but that’s what being a dad is all about. And the good news is that all dad really needs to do is be available for his sons, to share time with them and let them watch him and learn from him.
The key thing is to resolve to spend more time with your sons. Nothing replaces life lived alongside of you, his mother or father. Nothing. And don’t be fooled into thinking that you can be substituted, because you can’t. Nothing boosts a boy’s self esteem more than his dad showing that he wants to be with him.
The National Fatherhood Initiative published an extensive review of literature researching the effects of fathers on their children in their book Father Facts. They found that boys with fathers who spend time engaging them: act out less, have lower levels of delinquency as they grow older, are psychologically healthier, and are at less risk for both substance abuse and early sexual behavior.
In short, when a father spends more time with his son, he dramatically increases the chances that his son will feel loved, enjoy a healthier self esteem and achieve academic, psychological and social success in life.