Doing Things Together with Your Kids

Gifts You Can Give Your Children on Father's Day

When 1500 school children were asked “What do you think makes a happy family?” the children did not list lots of money, big screen TVs, fancy vacations. Their most frequent answer was “doing things together”.

So here are some neat activities that you can do together with your kids.

First, establish traditions. Family traditions strengthen the ties that bind. The closer a family is, the more traditions it’s likely to have. In the Hamrin family, we welcomed each spring with the bluebell walk and each fall with the Bluemont Fair. And holidays like Christmas can have a whole host of neat traditions.

Get into your child’s interest area. Every kid develops keen interests or passions. When they do, explore that with them. For example, when my son Eric developed a passion for roller coasters around age 13, we rode every wooden roller coaster together in the Mid-Atlantic area over the next two years.

Other good ideas: go to their birthday parties (ages 1-10); have family reading times (after dinner is great); make a list of mini-adventures to take them on (local fun activities); have one on one dates at restaurants, movies, etc.

I saved the best for last. Give your child one half day and say, “you choose what you want to do”. That would be a terrific gift, and you may well be surprised what the child will come up with.

I wish you a very Happy Father’s Day!


Trouble Communicating Well with Your Teen?

Be Patient -- Better Times Do Lie Ahead

Having trouble communicating well with your teen? Think that once the kid leaves the home, your fathering days are done?

I want to share some personal advice gained over 39 years of fathering.

When my three children were teens, there were many very exasperating and just plain difficult times – times when the child just wasn’t talking. You knew something was wrong – or really on their mind – but they would not let you know what.

These are tough times to go through. You wonder if they will ever share with you.

If this is happening to you, take heart. They most likely will share, perhaps in college and most likely as they move through their 20s.

So during the teen years, just be patient. Wait for the time when they feel like talking. It may not come often, but such times normally do appear. Meanwhile, just let them know you love them and care deeply about them.

And know that better days most likely lie ahead.

As our three children moved through their 20s and now through their 30s, there were NUMEROUS times when they consulted either me or my wife — often about serious concerns. They recognize as young adults that perhaps the parents do have some good advice and wisdom to impart. I am sure you will find – as I have – that your fathering days are certainly not done after age 18.

In fact, the best talks with your child are probably straight ahead.