Dads, Cherish Your Kids!

dad-throwing-daughterSoon after my divorce, I realized I had a choice. I could either spend prodigious amounts of time and money on pursuing romantic relationships or I could direct those resources toward deepening my relationship with my teenage daughter. Talk about a no-brainer. There would always be time to date. My daughter would be young only once.

Dads, if you’re looking for love, if you’re looking for meaning, look no further than your own living room. Whether they’re toddlers or teenagers, your children will soak up as much love as you can give them and return it tenfold.

The first step is to listen to them with full attention. And don’t just ask what happened at school that day. Ask them how they feel about it. (Closed circuit to dads with daughters: she doesn’t want you to solve her problems, she just wants you to listen to them. Trust me on this one.)

Think up some fun ways to demonstrate to your kids how much you love and cherish them. For example:
• Hide their favorite candy bar in their sock drawer.
• On cold nights, throw their pajamas in the dryer to get them toasty warm.
• Write “I just wanted to tell you you’re a wonderful kid!” on a piece of paper and mail it to them, making sure to address it to the special nickname you have for them. (No nickname? Make one up!)

With just a little bit of effort, your relationship with your kids can become more loving, more intimate and more joyous than you ever imagined. What’s more, you’ll feel a greater sense of well-being, of inner peace. And, incidentally, potential romantic partners find that attractive. Are you beginning to sense the circular nature of love?

Click here to watch a music video I wrote to commemorate and celebrate all the glorious ‘Daddy and Erin” times I shared with my daughter.

Click here to view all my posts about parenting.


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4 Responses to “Dads, Cherish Your Kids!”

  1. Jamie Says:

    Phil –

    This is great advice for not only dads, but moms out there as well. Even if not divorced, we all tend to get so busy that we not only forget to take a deep breath, but we take our kids for granted. The days our kids are young enough to want us around go by in a flash; the outcome from days they need us the most, and want us the least, are dependent on how strong/safe our relationship is with them.

    Great post! I just put a postcard in the mail to both of my daughters! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thanks, Jamie. I knew when I was young that my biggest regret in life would have been taking my daughter for granted. I consciously worked on heightening my awareness of how special each moment I had with her was. And I can now tell you that appreciating your kids when they’re young pays huge dividends when they’re grown.

    Glad you sent out those postcards. Reminds me of a funny story when my daughter was 18. I liked to send her postcards that were addressed to funny nicknames. She happened to come in the front door at her mom’s apartment building while the mailman was sorting mail into the boxes. She asked if there was anything for #210. He looked at a postcard (that I had sent her), smiled and said, “Are you Precious McPumpernickel?” She smiled and said proudly, “Yes, I am!”

  3. Kendra Kett Says:

    This is a great post and wonderful advice for any single parent…but especially so for parents of young children after a divorce! Our children need us to be completely strong, dignified, and accessible to them during this emotionally tentative and confusing time in their young lives. As you said, there is always time later for dating which we can pursue after our children are settled, secure and thriving post-divorce. The most important gift you can give your child is the gift of your full presence. Thank you for posting this great reminder!

  4. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Well said, Kendra. Thank you!

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