It is not easy to become buddies with your dad, especially when you see him as more of a disciplinarian rather than that of a friend you can share bottles of beer with on a Friday night.
A researcher from the Family Institute at Northwestern University quipped that in our pursuit of adulthood, we actually put our parents at a distance, demoting them in the process. And as you grow older and eventually leave the nest, it comes to a point where you and your dad are now on equal footing.
So how do you go about asking the guy who used to send you to your room to go pound some shots with you on weekend? Here are some relationship tips from parenting pros that might be able to help you in your quest to turning your father into your father-slash-buddy.
1. Take advantage of emailing and texting. When it comes to emailing, you can try to forward interesting news articles you find online that you know will pique his interest. Make sure though to attach a simple note like, “Just remembered you because of this article, Dad.” It simply shows that you are beginning to see him as a person, not as a source of allowance – this according to author Jane Isay of Walking on Eggshells: Navigating the Delicate Relationship Between Adult Children and Parents.
2. Make the effort to do something together. You can build an intimacy that you’ve never had before if you team up together on something. You can achieve this by doing side-by-side activities like hiking or trekking, or many other similar activities that will allow you both to have casual chats. Just remember not to do anything competitive as there is a tendency for such to prevent you both from enjoying each other’s company, as advised by Carl Pickhardt, author of The Connected Father: Understanding Your Unique Role and Responsibilities During Your Child’s Adolescence.
3. Walk down memory lane. Remember that memories are amazing ways to opening deeper conversations. You can pick a story from your own upbringing and try to relate it to him. You can ask something like what’s the worst thing you did as a kid that he remembers and ask him as well if he was ever like that. Such bring back nostalgia and it lets you get to know your father more.
Source: Men’s Health