On a scale of 1 to 10, how strong would you rate the bond between you and your father/son?
If you rate it with less than 5, you have a lot of work to do to improve your relationship. But, even if the grade is higher, I bet you still have something bothering you about your father-son relationship; otherwise, you wouldn’t be here, right?
For example, do you sometimes think that everything in your relationship with your father is going well, or that you will always be your son’s best friend, and then all of the sudden, things go downhill?
These relationships change through the stages of life, and they depend on how we take them.
Within this article, you will learn more about the obstacles in a father-son relationship as well as ways to improve it and create the strong relationship that you have always wanted.
Father-Son Relationship Through Stages
The quality of the father-son relationship manifests through the three life stages that a child goes through.
These are the stages of growing up, so let’s look at how they affect the overall father-son relationship.
1. Childhood stage: Father as the role model
The father has a special place in the heart of every child, especially in the heart of the son.
If I break the toy, it doesn’t matter… my dad will fix it.
If I fall, my dad will catch me.
If I need comfort, my dad is there to hug me.
While mothers are gentler and more sensitive, fathers instill confidence, and they are the ones we will turn to in difficult situations. The son considers his father a role model, a pillar of strength, and an idol.
Every good father teaches his child about important life lessons… the ones he will carry throughout his life. The father-son bond is of great importance, especially at the early age of a child’s life.
Fathers give a sense of security, and their behavior has a big impact on a child. It affects the direction in which the child will develop.
The son will, therefore, always imitate his father, his movements, and his words, whether in the circle of family members or when he is with other children because daddy is his role model and his hero.
2. Adolescence stage: “I am not your little boy anymore”
This is probably the most challenging phase in the father-son relationship. The son is no longer dad’s “cookie monster” or “chunky monkey”. He becomes a young boy who rejects authority, parental control, and who spends his free time with peers and not with his father.
Repairing toys and other father-son activities are now replaced by going out with friends to a nearby bar, and daily family nature walks have now been replaced by skateboarding at the nearby park.
This period can be very vulnerable for a father. Every father finds it difficult to accept that he is no longer number one in his son’s life, and that his little boy is a grown adolescent.
But, it doesn’t always mean that a teenage son will completely forget and replace his father with other things. There will be arguments and quarrels, it is surely inevitable, but with the effort of both sides, the child will eventually mature and jump into the world of adults.
3. Adulthood stage: Things simmer down
At which point does a young rebel become a mature young man?
At this stage, the shattered connections are rebuilt and strengthened. The son begins to understand the importance and role of his parents, and he pays more attention to him than before.
At this stage, the roles are reversed. An adult son can now take on some responsibilities and can take care of himself. Now that they are on the “same level”, the son can give the father some advice or words of support if he needs it.
How do you Improve A Father-Son Relationship?
The key to improving the bond between father and son lies precisely in nurturing your daily activities.
If you want to improve your father-and-son relationship, here are some suggestions:
1. Talk about everyday things
It doesn’t sound bad at all to share your day with someone and tell them all the details. And, it’s even better when it comes to your father/son. There is nothing more beautiful.
Questions like, “What was the best part of your day?” or “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today?” or “How was your job?” can start an interesting conversation, which will show you that you care about your father or your son.
2. Don’t hesitate to say “I love you”
We all love to hear these words. They are a great self-esteem booster for anyone. Throw yourself into the arms of your “old man” and let him know how much you love him and how thankful you are for everything he did and is still doing for you.
3. Do lunch sometime
Are you familiar with the saying “love goes through the stomach”?
Well, it certainly does because this joint activity greatly influences the strengthening of the bond between father and son. Also, research has shown that having a meal together strengthens mental, emotional, and social abilities.
4. Learn how to listen better
Try not to be glued to the TV while your father explains something to you.
Also, if your son asks you for an opinion on something important, leave everything you do and listen to him. Paying attention is very important for a strong father-son bond. Also, don’t forget to reflect on what your son says.
Look for an opportunity to spend time with your son, but only to listen to him. After a while, commit to spending at least 65% on effective listening. You can try some common father-son activities such as going fishing, going to a cultural event, or going bowling.
All of these activities will encourage conversation with your son, and will also create a suitable environment for effective listening.
5. Celebrate together
Whether it’s a project, a birthday, a high school graduation celebration, or Father’s Day, it’s the fact of always looking for an opportunity to celebrate success with your son or your father.
It is not a matter of success, but presence. Your son needs you in all aspects of his life.
Sometimes, the presence of a mother alone is not enough for a son’s happiness. He needs that pillar of security that no one but his father can provide. A good father should be a guiding star to his son in all areas and throughout his entire life.
6. Engage in father-son activities
It’s never a bad idea to go back to your childhood and remember all those sports or creative activities you enjoyed while being happily engaged with your father. For example, if you often used to go to the school playground and play B-ball, what are you waiting for?
Get ready and invite your father to a rematch. You will have fun and it will be useful for you.
7. Last, but not least: Be friends!
A friendly relationship is the foundation of all other relationships.
Even though you are a father, you should first and foremost be your son’s best friend!
• Give him a friendly hand when he is having a hard time.
• Be the shoulder your son can lean on.
• Let him know he can trust you.
• Never judge, but be supportive.
Sure enough, the same goes for sons.
What Is A Good Father-Son Relationship?
The successful relationship between father and son lies primarily in mutual respect and understanding.
Fatherhood carries huge life responsibilities and tasks for the parent. The father’s biggest challenge is to steer his son on the right path without being intrusive.
If the father builds trust in the relationship with his son, then there is no doubt that it will eventually become a strong and special bond between them, and that they will create a positive relationship.
Here are a few signs that you have a strong emotional and physical father-son relationship:
• If in difficult situations, you always seek the help of your father before anyone else.
• If you care about what your father thinks before you make an important decision.
• If none of your important life events will rule out your father’s presence as he is your best friend.
• If you do not hesitate to have the father-son talk.
• If, one day, you want to become just like your own father.
• If you look forward to your son every day.
• If you are not ashamed to show feelings for your son.
• If you will not give up on your son no matter what.
• If you are always there to be a shoulder your son can lean on.
• If you believe that your son can cope with the demanding challenges of life.
The other side of the coin…
Can A Father Not Love His Child?
Unfortunately, yes, he can. And, it is more common than people think.
Parents are truly the foundation of a child’s development, and they are important to his or her well-being.
They play an important role in what the child will be like when he grows up, and what values he will appreciate.
A child who does not receive all the necessary attention and love during his development will feel unloved. What is even more dangerous is that later on, this feeling can destroy the child’s self-esteem.
But, why wouldn’t a father love his child?
Does the deeper motive lie in the toxic bond between father and son or is it something else?
The next paragraph will tell you a little more about it, so keep on reading.
What Is A Toxic Father-Son Relationship?
“Toxic behavior is behavior toward other people that makes them feel bad about their life and themselves”. It is characterized by criticism, control, manipulation, and guilt.” -Irina Firstein
The feeling that your father doesn’t love you can sometimes come from some pointless reason or a quarrel within the family. For example, in occasional squabbles among siblings.
On the other hand, if you feel rejected, like you do not belong, or neglected, or if you constantly need to seek approval from your dad, these can be signs that you have an unloving parent by your side, and that your parent may be toxic in a way.
The following behaviors indicate that your father is toxic, and these are certainly not to be ignored:
• If your father is often filled with anger, sadness, or lacking empathy.
• If your relationship with your father is almost always filled with fear and anxiety.
• If you feel that he is sabotaging your decisions.
• If his behavior affects not only you, but other family members as well.
• If your father is manipulative and keeps on controlling you.
• If your father often compares you to others.
• If your father often competes with you and shows signs of jealousy.
If you can relate to these behaviors, I can’t imagine what you are going through.
Let this be an affirmation that you are not in a good parenting environment, and that you need to do something about this.
Common Problems You May Encounter In The Father-Son Relationship
There are obstacles in all relationships, and it is quite normal that from time to time, you do not find common ground with someone.
It also happens in family relationships.
It is important to find a way out, a solution, and overcome those little “bumps” that are on the way. These are the most common causes of misunderstandings and quarrels in father-son relationships :
• Poor communication problems
No one can read other people’s thoughts, and this usually results in conflicts and quarrels.
For example, if you are bothered by something your son is doing, but you do not want to tell him, then nothing will be resolved.
Also, if your father is angry at you and you don’t know the reason, instead of fighting back, it is advisable to ask him the reason and communicate a common solution.
• Not reaching common ground
Nowadays, values and life choices are different than they used to be in the past. So, it is perfectly normal that sometimes disagreements arise.
Your father will never be able to understand some things because he grew up in a different environment and under different conditions, and so sometimes, you will not understand him.
• Social standards
The smaller the community in which you live, the greater the emphasis on this problem. One of the problems regarding a father and a son can be the social standards by which people live in that community.
A father expects you to build your own family after him, and to instill in your sons the values you have learned through life.
These problems are not unsolvable. All it takes is patience and a willingness to compromise.
It’s easy to sort things out if you love someone. Just pay attention to “who tells you” instead of “what they tell you”.
Can A Father Be Jealous Of His Son? 5 Signs He Is
Yes. Your father can be jealous of you. When does love become replaced by envy, and what are the signs of a jealous father?
There are a myriad of examples in which a father is jealous of his son.
Little jealousies are healthy and do not threaten to disrupt the father-son relationship. However, a lot of jealousy can indicate dangerous toxic behaviors.
Your father can be jealous of you for many reasons. First, some fathers project jealousy from the very birth of a child because they feel that “the baby has taken their place”.
Some (shitty) fathers are jealous of their son’s success just because they failed to achieve it.
Know that you have a jealous parent if:
1. He has over-the-top reactions
A violent reaction around small things can indicate a lot of problems. One of them is jealousy. If you are “on the way” to your father, it means that all of your appearances, words, and movements will bother him.
2. He always competes with you
Everyone loves to compete.
However, if your parents want to defeat you in everything and be better than you, be aware that it is a matter of jealousy, and also, in a way, it can indicate that your father has narcissistic traits.
3. He insults you to make you feel bad
Insulting is not appropriate at all for a father figure. If your father uses even the slightest harsh words in communicating with you, know that something is wrong.
4. You caught your father gossiping about you
Sometimes, you’ll find mom and dad talking about you, and that’s perfectly normal. Parents always comment and talk, but they always make sure they are not lying about you.
5. You’re constantly getting criticized for things you did not do
Every suggestion and piece of advice from the father is always welcome. But, if you get criticism for what you didn’t deserve, know that it’s a jealous outburst.
If you have concluded that your father is jealous, but if it does not affect your well-being and you see that you are coping well with it, you don’t need to take any action. Just try to avoid conflicts as much as possible.
On the other hand, if you miss the father figure in your life and you want to make that relationship work, you can have an honest conversation with your father. Put all your cards on the table and see what will happen.
Why Are Father-Son Relationships So Difficult?
Let’s break the myth first; not all father and son relationships are difficult and unsuccessful.
On the contrary, there are very strong father-son bonds, which are built on mutual respect and a strong emotional and physical bond, and such relationships are long-lasting.
But, sometimes, due to certain circumstances, life situations, or previously failed family relationships, the bond between a father and a son can become strained and fail.
For example, if the father has a whole background of failed relationships with family members, it is expected that his relationship with his son will be the same.
In previous paragraphs, I have provided you definitions for some major problems (personality disorders, behavioral problems), and we also mentioned toxic traits in male role models.
Regardless of the difficulties, and the fact that you will encounter them yourself through your relationship with your father, that does not mean that there is no solution.
The key to a successful relationship lies in looking for a solution. If you care enough that your relationship with your father is in order, you will do your best.
Wrapping it up
Do you remember how you rated your father-son relationship in the beginning? I hope you gave a fair grade. You need to admit to yourself where you are with someone because it is the starting point in improving a relationship.
I think that maintaining a relationship with both a father and a son is of great importance. We all have problems and we all sometimes get into conflicts with our father/mother, but there is always – remember – always a solution, even for those more challenging problems.
Bear in mind that fatherhood is hard work, and if you see your father is working on providing you everything that you need, I will kindly ask you to appreciate it.
Appreciate, respect, love, and have understanding!
Both of you!