15 of 100 Dads – Communication

Andre is enjoying his parenting journey with his wife and teen daughter. He reports his daughter has all his good qualities and his bad ones as well. Having known Andre for a few years, I’m confident the good far outweigh the bad.

Andre has given a great deal of thought to parenting, and beams when he speaks of his ‘little girl.’ He has has only one wish for his little girl – “she set no limits.”

Andre, “Keep open the lines of communication with your daughter. The car ride has really been the best time to find out what she likes, who her friends are and how she’s doing.Tip 8

Having never met Andre’s daughter, but in learning just a little of his parenting practices I began to imagine that his ‘little girl’ is as proud of him as he is of her. What an amazing bond they must have developed using his principles.

Like Andre, I too felt communication was a parenting priority. I also loved the car rides with my little boy and felt it was a great time to generate good conversation. Fortunately, so fortunately, cell phones were not in existence during our rides. No question I would have missed out on some very special time.

In my childhood, we weren’t allowed to speak in the car, or in the house – general rules. As a little girl, lacking communication and quality time I can only image what it would have meant to have had my Dad’s interest.

My Dad never asked about me, my life or my friends. He taught me little and talked to me even less. I would have love to learn more about him, to have had him ask questions about my life. With certainty I know such interest would have made me stronger, better, smarter and more confident. I would have stood up straighter. I would have felt loved.

Now, if I had felt love, one can speculate I would have made completely different choices – maybe, maybe not. Regardless, no blame on my Dad. He did his best. He was from a hard-knock school and a hard-knock life. He didn’t know better. He just didn’t have it to give. I accept that, and I love him.

It’s great that Andre specifically said, “…find out what she likes, who her friends are and how she’s doing.” Beautiful, just beautiful! For any Dads looking for an icebreaker those three pointers provide a nice starting place.

As our children get older, one-on-one time is increasingly challenging to find. We need to be deliberate about our communication, deliberate and consistent. If you can chat when there isn’t much going on, it will be easier to chat when there is.

Technology isn’t helping. Although we may be able to superficially connect quickly, connection on a deeper level is not at our fingertips for sure.

We now know, talking to children helps improve their understanding of language and increases their vocabulary. So, if you really don’t like your kids, or feel love and connection is over-rated; maybe communicate anyway, if only to help them out with vocabulary.

Thanks Andre! I’m sure you’ll forever enjoy your beautiful family and all the “techno-free” time you can find.

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