Dads play an indispensable role in the mental and physical development in children. Their unique way of interacting empowers and encourages kids – especially atypical children who thrive when exposed to dad’s special brand of care giving. Additionally, research has shown that children with uninvolved fathers are more likely to drop out of school and have problems when developing their own relationships. As such, it’s so important for dads to be present consistent figure in their kids’ lives – especially for those with learning and emotional issues.
Unfortunately, many dads struggle when attempting to bond with their atypical kids, they feel powerless because they can’t eliminate their child’s challenges, do they shy away and feel defeated. Or, they are unable to handle the emotional fallout on raising an atypical kid, so they check out completely and let mom take the lead. Both of these responses are common and actually quite normal, but they aren’t for best your child.
The good news is there are many ways to overcome these challenges and form a strong bond with your atypical kid,. Here’s how can:
- Get physical. It’s often easier for dads to engage in the physical aspect of parenting first – roughhousing, participating in sports, playing, etc. – than it is for them to deal with the emotional side. Embrace this reality. Sign up to coach your kid’s team, teach him to play golf, or enroll in swim lessons that the two of you take together each week.
- Get involved in your kid’s care. The more you meet your child’s physical and emotional needs, the closer the two of you will become. To get started, choose one aspect of your child’s care that you want to be responsible for. Some great options include driving your kid to school each morning or handling bath time and bedtime stories every evening.
- Schedule “dad time.” With your kid’s calendar filling up weeks in advance with therapy appointments, doctor’s visits, schools, and play dates, there’s a good chance you’ll need to schedule bonding time to make sure it happens. Set a weekly date for you and your child – Sunday mornings are often ideals – and make that your time. Plan an easy activity each week, like getting ice cream, walking on the beach, or heading to a park and just be together. Its sounds simple, but if you do this consistently, you’ll be amazed at how strong your bond becomes.
Dads, I want to hear from you! What are the challenges you’ve experienced in bonding with your atypical kid? Do you think these tips will help? Leave your answer in the comment box below!