Article at a Glance
You want to be there for your baby’s first steps, your child’s first day at school, and your teenager’s recital, but often, work gets in the way. Dads often worry that the missed milestones can drive a wedge in their relationship with their kids. But just because a dad misses his kid’s first word, doesn’t mean the two can’t develop a strong bond.
Bonding is building a relationship with someone based on common interests and experiencing life together. People often confuse this with spending more time with their children. Spending time together helps, but bonding is about quality, not quantity. Watching cartoons for 30 minutes is good, but playing games or talking for those same thirty minutes will help build stronger bonds.
Bonding is also built on trust. It’s difficult to make up for missing a game, recital, or family night because breaking a promise erodes trust. Instead, be realistic with yourself and your family about the events you can attend. Then stick to those obligations.
We like to listen to tunes while we’re cleaning the table and doing dishes as a family. We also like playing card games together because it’s fun for our kids at all ages.
—Dr. Jonathen Bartholomew
But remember, if your kid wants advice, she’ll ask for it. Be an active listener first, then your child will may comfortable seeking advice.
Remember, what matters most about the bonding process isn’t the quantity of time. It’s that you spend quality time with your child and a foundation of trust.
As a pediatrician and father of six kids, Dr. Bartholomew has a lot of experience with twins and premature infants. In addition to getting to know his patient families, he enjoys the great outdoors, Dr. Seuss, and BYU football.