This week of Father’s Day, Teri has written about engagement and Tamara has written about teaching and modeling. Another essential skill for healthy fathers is communication. Communication with children can be challenging, but it is so important. Now, it is okay if it does not come easily. You may have not been modeled good fatherly communication, or you may not know how or what to say to children. There are no scripts or recipes for communication in a family. Each parent is unique and what may work for some fathers may not work for you. Characteristic # 3 Healthy Communication
Many people remember their fathers yelling, or not having much to say at all. Healthy fathers make sure that their communication is not only discipline. Communication grows from engagement and getting to know your children. You have to be present to learn their language. Children communicate in many ways, not just words. It is the healthy father that learns to listen to how the kids communicate. Make sure you use kind words, when expressing your feelings. Tell the kids how you feel about them. Tell them what you love about them, what you miss about them while you are away, and what you look forward to doing with them in the future. Let them know what your values are as a family and what your expectations are of them.
Men are not famous for communicating well with words. Good thing we communicate in many other ways, so if words are not your thing, that is okay! Healthy fathers can let someone know how important they are just by how they look at them, pay attention to them, and move toward them. Our bodies are just as expressive as our words. You can deliver a message with just a glance or a loving touch of comfort.
Most importantly healthy fathers know that consistency in communication is key. Children need to know what to expect from you every day. You may not communicate like the children’s mother, but children can learn that parents are different and that is okay. What is important is that you communicate in a loving caring way that is natural for you.
Remember, your children are listening, even when you don’t think they are. They are expert repeaters and will learn to communicate from you. Model and teach the kind of communication you want from your children.
Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads out there. Thanks for stopping by!
Written by Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT
Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT is a licensed therapist and Registered Play Therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Alexa enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Alexa also does play therapy, family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield