Fathers Guide for Supporting Children during their School Years

Dads, talk to your children. Give them your time and your interest and they will see that you are there to support them during this critical time of their lives. The car is one of the best places to communicate with your child. There is something about the enclosure of a car that stimulates conversation between a father and his kid(s).

The Paradox –
It is a paradox that you child finally starts to open up to you when you are merging on the freeway at rush hour or when you are stuck in traffic and already thirty minutes late for an important meeting at work. Take advantage of those times when your child is ready to talk to you-even if it is in the car. Find a way to keep him talking in spite of the pressure of the most challenging driving time.

Admittedly, eye contact with your child may not be possible when you are talking and listening behind the wheel. Perhaps that is actually why kids seem to open up in the car. Resist the temptation to tell them all about you and your work. Keep the focus on them.Ask sp”How was school today?” Ask specifically about a particular class, friend, teacher, project, etc.

Set it Up –
Finding out what is going on with your child so that you can be supportive of them during his or her school years is so important that you might even intentionally arrange trips in the car rather than waiting for the occasion to arise on its own.If you have more than one child, find ways to get your children in the car individually. You will get information that you would never get otherwise.

Here are some tips to remember in talking to your kids:
1) listen before making an immediate response.
2) Taking care of how you come across – so that you do not come off sounding judgemental.
3) ask specific questions based on what you do know about their lives rather than asking vague, general questions.
4) try to relate to what they are saying without turning it into a lecture of how it was when you were that age.
5) show positive facial expressions and body language so that the nonverbal messages you send are not contrary to how you want to be.

Tell your child,”I enjoyed your company” or “Thanks for coming along” or “I enjoyed talking to you.” It is important for the children in your life to to feel that you like to spend time with them and that they are good company for you.

Your children want to feel valued and your spending time with them and being focused on them as individuals is the way to show them they are important to you. Make the most of this time with your child and don’t let too much time go by before you spend time with them again.