Fatherhood is a journey filled with joy, challenges, and opportunities for growth. As a father, one of the most precious gifts you can give your child is emotional availability – the ability to connect, understand, and support them.

It is a known fact that mothers in our societies are often overburdened with responsibilities, but it is essential for fathers to contribute their part too. Studies show that children who receive equal affection from fathers tend to grow into more emotionally stable individuals. Today, let’s explore practical tips that fathers can adopt to strengthen their bond with their children.

1. Be present

The foundation of emotional availability is being present in your child's life. Make a conscious effort to spend quality time with your child, engaging in activities they enjoy and creating opportunities for meaningful conversations. It can be as simple as helping them with their homework or taking them to their guitar or football classes. Just being there for your child can make a huge difference.  

2. Listening to them

Mothers often do this part as the responsible parent, but fathers must also practice active listening by giving their child full attention when they speak, maintaining eye contact, and responding with empathy and understanding. Avoid interrupting or dismissing your child’s thoughts and feelings, and instead, validate their experiences and offer support. 

3. Creating a safe place

Encourage your child to talk about their feelings, whether they're happy, sad, angry, or scared, and reassure them that all emotions are valid. Avoid judging or criticizing their emotions, and instead, help them explore healthy ways to cope and express themselves. Children learn by observing the behaviour of their parents, so lead by example when it comes to emotional availability. Show your child that it's okay to express vulnerability and seek support when needed, and they'll learn to do the same.

4. Understanding your child

If you have never done this before, it may take a little more time for your child to open up to you. Building emotional availability is a gradual process that requires consistency, patience and trust. 

5. Stay involved

Ask your child about their school and friends. Understand why they love doing certain things and what subjects are their absolute favourites. Stay updated with their school activities and attend parent-teacher meetings regularly. Show interest in their hobbies, accomplishments, and challenges, and offer guidance and support along the way.

6. Seek professional support if needed

If you're struggling to connect with your child emotionally or facing challenges in your relationship, don't hesitate to seek professional support. A qualified therapist or counsellor can provide guidance, tools, and strategies to help you improve your emotional availability and strengthen your relationship with your child.