One of the primary differences between men and women in relationships tends to be that women “talk” and men “do”. While this is not true in every relationship, it is often true in many.
When a woman is struggling, she wants to talk. When a man is struggling, he needs to do. Our brains are simply hardwired differently. Understanding this difference is a key to happiness in our marital relationships and with our children.
I’ve learned from many of the dads that I have worked with that divorced fathers struggle with the talking concept. They feel limited by their time, influence and role in their children’s lives, and want to say powerful things to their children but, sometimes, don’t know how.
Because dads often don’t “talk” as much as moms, their words can have a great and powerful effect for their children. Here are 5 powerful phrases to say to your children that your children will never get tired of hearing:
- I am really proud to be your father. (When your kids are struggling especially, they need to know that you are still proud of them.)
- No matter what happens, I will always be here for you.
- Our time together is important, and I really value that.
- You never have to choose between loving your Mom or me. You can love both of us, and you don’t have to choose. Even though sometimes it may feel like that.
- There is nothing you could ever say or do that would make me stop loving you. (“Even if I did terrible, awful things?”- “Yes, even the most terrible things in the world, I will still love you.)
And for stepfathers: Your role as a stepfather can be vitally important to your stepchildren, but in a different way.
My stepfather was a wonderful example of this. He just liked me. And whenever, I was around him, he made me feel like he was glad that I was there. Our stepchildren pick up on our frustration with them. What kind of vibes are your stepkids getting from you? (If you struggle with this, we can help!) Talking to your stepchildren is best done by offering your support and encouragement. Here are some powerful words for you:
- I am always here for you if you need anything.
- I’m sorry you are having a hard time. (This is great to say when your stepkids are unhappy. It lets them know you feel bad for them, but you aren’t trying to make them think or feel something specific.)
- I’m always glad to see you. (All stepkids want to be wanted.)
- Let me know how I can help. (Your stepchildren may not take you up on the offer, but your saying this reinforces that you offered and it counts.)
I am 50 years old, and sweet words from my father still make me feel special.
Share these with your children and stepchildren, and let me know how they work for you.