Reading Time With Dad: The Father-Child Relationship

James and the Giant Peach and Danny, Champion of the World were two of Ronald Dhal’s books my dad read with me when I was in elementary school. Some of my fondest childhood memories were reading these books with my dad. We did other things together like playing basketball, going fishing, and riding bikes but the relational connection of sitting next to my dad on the couch and feeling his presence and love was strong and evident. Dad gave me his precious gift of time.

The father-child relationship is powerful and creates a foundation for your child’s psyche to develop. Will your child feel loved and affirmed or rejected and ignored by dad? As a school psychologist and dad, I get it. Dads are busy. Dads might believe they don’t have the nurturing instinct that mom holds. They are busy providing for their family. Parenting expert, Meg Meeker, M.D., says, “After 30 years in my medical practice and extensive research, I see one common thread in children of all ages: the direct correlation between a father’s presence and a child’s well-being.”

If you are a dad reading this, it’s not meant to guilt you. Whether you’ve messed up or think it’s too late, your child of any age still needs you. They don’t need perfection; they need your presence and affirmation. Start small. Perhaps for you it’s asking them more thoughtful questions, taking a genuine interest in them telling you about a favorite video game, or watching a funny video together. For other dads it is telling your child what every child wants to hear: you love them and are proud of them.

Parenting is an on the job learning experience. Here are a few resources to help you along the way: Meg Meeker’s book Strong Father’s, Strong Daughters, Robert Lewis’ book Raising A Modern Day Knight or John C. Maxwell’s book Intentional Living, are thoughtful books to help dads along their parenting journey. Check out or Christ in the Smokies. Dad, you got this.

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