My husband and my 8 year old son don’t have a very good relationship. I think they are more alike than either of them will admit. They seem to lock horns all the time. I know they both love each other deep down, but they don’t seem to connect well. Any suggestions?
Relationships can be difficult. That is true for anyone. We get little to no formal training in how to be in one, but yet we are expected to know how to navigate them. When I hear the term “lock horns” I assume they get embroiled in power struggles with one another. Learning to share appropriate power with a child is a skill that takes some time to understand and develop. I have written about this in “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” if he is willing to read at least the chapter on power. But there is also something else which may be an easier place to begin, which is to warm up the relationship by infusing it with more positive experiences. When we share a good time with someone, we feel closer to them. We are more willing to be patient and flexible. We are more co-operative with people when we feel there is good-will between us. So while he learning the nuances of staying out of fights, concurrently, I suggested dad pays attention to when the two of them are connecting and having a good time. Invite them to add MORE of whatever that is to their daily life. Maybe it’s reading Harry Potter together, or playing hockey in the driveway. I find one particularly good bonding experience for boys and their dad’s is play wrestling or rough housing. Mom’s often poo-poo rough housing, thinking it will make their sons become aggressive, but that is not the case. It is very co-operative, there is lots of physical touching and its silly so they laugh and smile as they roll about.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes!