This guest post was written by Katheryn Rivas
Katheryn Rivas specializes in writing about online universities. Questions and comments can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
When your son enters his teenage years, sometimes a bit of a drifting apart occurs between father and son. Part of this is your son establishing independence by beginning to make his own decisions and spending more time with friends from school. Suddenly it’s not as “cool” for him to be spending time with dad–even if there’s a good father-son relationship to start with. While you can’t expect the type of quality time you may have had during your son’s younger childhood, you can create memorable moments with your teen with some advance planning.
Most of the men I know who have good relationships with their fathers can easily recall a time when their father took them out into nature to “rough it” together, whether that meant camping, fishing, hunting or all three. You’d be surprised by all the things you talk about when you’re holed up in a deer blind for the better part of the day. It’s a great opportunity to get away from the push-and-shove of the city for a weekend and commune with nature and your son(s). You can even bring along another father-son duo. If you bring the rest of the family along to a camping trip, make sure you and your son have some time away from everyone else to fish or hike together and spend quality time.
2.) Sporting events
Most dads can’t afford to fly with their sons to South Africa to watch the World Cup, but they can certainly save their pennies to go see the family’s favorite pro or college team in the nearest big city. Let your son pick the music on the trip up. This is yet another one of those opportunities where you’re sitting side-by-side with your son, eating hot dogs, drinking cokes and enjoying conversations over sports. Since men tend to communicate better side by side than face to face, it’s another opportunity for your son to open up about his life and for you to share some fatherly wisdom.
3.) Train for a challenge together
Not every son (or dad for that matter) is athletic, but if yours is, you may want to challenge him to train with you for an event, like a 10K, half marathon, triathlon or a cycling race. Don’t pick something easy, but something that will take quite a bit of work for both of you to prepare yourselves. This will provide opportunities before the event for running/cycling together as you both build up your endurance. You may want to pick an event that’s meaningful to you both. For instance, if your family has been touched by cancer, you can choose a race that raises money for cancer research.
4.) Car maintenance Saturday
Pick a Saturday for you to devote to teaching your son how to maintain his car. This is an especially good bonding opportunity in your son’s early driving years, as it teaches him how to care for his vehicles for the rest of his life. Teach him how to change his own oil (which will save him money down the road if he covers his own expenses) and how to change a tire if he gets a flat. This shouldn’t be as difficult to bring about as it seems; many teen boys in their early driving years are obsessed with their cars and want to be knowledgeable about them.
5.) Working on projects together
Finally, the next time you have a project on your hands around the house, enlist the help of your son. Whether it’s a small task, like fixing a leaky shower head, or a bigger task, like building a tree house for his younger siblings, let him get involved. Not only will you be teaching him practical skills and how to work with tools, but you’ll have opportunities to talk and catch up.