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Last updated on October 23rd, 2023.

The father son relationship can sometimes be a tense one, but it does not have to be.  If your relationship is suffering, there are steps you can take to turn it in the opposite direction.  Your son needs you, whether he admits it or not.  Start today by becoming more involved in every facet of his life, and help him develop healthy habits that he will model into adulthood.

How can you build and strengthen a relationship between a father and son?  The best way to strengthen the father son relationship is for you to be actively involved in your son’s life.  Be a part of making rules and disciplinary decisions. 

Listen when he talks and be a sounding board for him.  Teach him all the things a young man needs to know how to do.  Time is your greatest asset in these circumstances.

The type of young man your son will turn into depends on the behavior he sees you model.  Little boys emulate their dads and learn how to be men from them.  Treat others with respect and show humility and love.  Your child will learn this from you.  He is looking at you and waiting to be shown how life works.

If you have failed in the past, there is time to mend fences.  Even if your son is already an adult, there are measures that can be taken to strengthen your relationship. Let’s take a look at just how important dads are and how to improve the father son relationship, no matter how far you have drifted apart.

While this information and advice as well as what you’ll read below is tailored to a father and son relationship check out our other article regarding how to Create a Healthy Mother Daughter Relationship.

Article Topics

How a Father Should Treat His Son

Some fathers and sons have strained relationships, but then again, others get it right.  Perhaps the best way to get off on the right foot in a father son relationship is to recognize how a father should treat his son.

Here are some steps a father should take to ensure he’s treating his son correctly:

  • Take on positive involvement in discipline
  • Teach your son the things a man should know how to do
  • Accentuate the positives
  • Establish healthy boundaries
  • Model respect toward him and others
  • Apologize

Fathers are often known as the disciplinarian in the home, but are you just enforcing the rules, or are you helping establish them?  A father should be involved in rule development and establish set disciplinary actions ahead of time.

It should not be that a father only gets involved in discipline because the mother is burnt out or asks him to.

Fathers should treat their sons fairly, by becoming involved in making rules for the home and enforcing those rules.  Think through future scenarios before they happen, and establish limits. 

Your son will respect you if he has a clear understanding of what you expect from him.  He may not respect you if you are known only as the enforcer.

Teach your sons the things your dad taught you.  There are certain things that sons can only learn from their fathers.  Be active in your son’s development, and teach age-appropriate life lessons. 

The added upside of doing this is that it provides a way for father and son to spend time together.  So go out and work on the car together, fix the plumbing, or cut the grass. 

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Talking With Your Son

Your son does not want to be bombarded by negative feedback.  While it may be necessary to correct him at times, be sure you are spending plenty of time building him up as well.

Tell your son the things you like and respect about him.  Build up the positives in his life.  This will help open up the flow of feedback between you, and your son will be anxious to hear what you have to say.

You cannot live your son’s life for him.  Treat him with respect and show him how to respect you by establishing healthy boundaries. 

For instance, set aside time to spend alone with your partner and permit him to spend time with his friends.  You do not have to be together all the time.  Communicate about your boundaries and expectations and stick with them!

 It is imperative that a son see his father model respect.  This is especially important when it comes to the way you treat his mother and other women in his life.  A son will learn how to treat his future spouse and children from his father, so treat him the way you hope your grandchildren will be treated one day.

Don’t be afraid to admit when you are wrong.  If you constantly hide your faults, your son will begin to believe that is what men are supposed to do.  You want your son to be capable of apologizing, so let him know that’s the manly thing to do. 

Apologize to your son when you have made a mistake at his expense, and allow him to see the way you also extend apologies to other people.

Why Is The Father Son Relationship Important?

The father son relationship can be one of the best and most important relationships out there. 

Here are just a few reasons the father son relationship is so important:

  • Sons model their fathers’ behavior
  • Academic success
  • Fathers instill confidence in their sons
  • Fathers teach sons how to be men

How many times have you heard the sentence, “I want to be just like Daddy when I grow up”?  Sons often model their fathers’ behavior in regard to many areas of life.  Perhaps the most important is how they will treat the people around them as they grow up.

It is a father’s job to teach his son how to show respect toward women and how he should ultimately treat his spouse one day.  But that’s not all.  A father’s purpose is also to show his son how to treat other people in the world around him. 

The way your son treats his friends as he’s growing up and even the way he treats his coworkers one is dependent on you modeling proper behavior to him.

Sons with involved fathers tend to have greater academic success than sons with only a mother at home.  This may be because the father provides an additional presence to help with homework and study. 

Sons also seek their fathers’ approval, so he will work hard to get good grades if he thinks that will make you proud.

Fathers help build their sons into confident young men.  Dads provide a sounding board for a child as he grows.  When you treat him with positive regard, you teach him that he is worthy of being treated well. 

He shows more self-confidence and is willing to try new things which may have been intimidating to him at first.

Fathers often teach lessons that would be difficult for mothers to teach.  These are lessons that get passed down through generations. 

A child needs to learn how to become a man from the most important man in his life – his father.  He will miss out on valuable lessons and experience less self-worth if you are not involved.

The Measure of Becoming a Man: If, by Rudyard Kipling

This is such a great poem because it provides a measure against the virtues and actions many of us will face in our lives and it highlights the personal responsibility we have to take account for the actions and outcomes we choose and create.  

What a critical lesson to learn in the journey towards becoming a man; integrity and personal accountability.

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How does Jealousy Play a Role: Things to Be Aware of as father.

While it is not healthy for a father to be jealous of his son, there are a few instances in which it does happen.  Be sure to safeguard your relationship with your son by rejecting jealousy in your relationship.

Here are some situations in which fathers become jealous of their sons:

  • The father believes the son is more important to the mother than he is
  • The father believes the son is surpassing his own success
  • The father believes the son is being afforded opportunities that were not available to him

New mothers are sometimes guilty of neglecting their spouse for a time when a baby arrives.  Some mothers take this to the extreme, and continuously put their children before their spouses. 

This is one instance in which a father can become jealous of his son.  It is not that he wishes his son was not there.  He just craves his wife’s attention and feels like she is bestowing it all on the son.

If this is happening in your relationship, you should talk to your wife or significant other about it, rather than becoming jealous.  The drift between the two of you is not the fault of your son, and he should not suffer because of it. 

Chances are, with some dialogue and possibly professional help, the situation will improve and balance can be restored to the family.

As a son grows into a man, he may choose any road in life.  Some fathers become jealous when they perceive that their son has become more successful than them in some way.  This can even happen when the son is still in high school. 

Suppose the father played football in school, and the son does as well.  The father may become jealous if his son is a more celebrated football player than he was.

This is not natural.  A father should be his son’s biggest fan.  Whether it is on the football field or in the business world later in life, a father’s job is to support his son.  He should take pride in his son’s accomplishments and not revel in jealousy.

Some fathers become jealous simply because they feel like their sons got a “better break” than they did.  Maybe they even feel like fatherhood held them back to some degree. 

Maybe your son is afforded the privilege of going to college, but you never were.  Do not be jealous.  Instead, be happy for him, and be proud of the young man whom you have helped shape.

Do Sons Need Their Fathers?

Sons need their fathers to be present and provide them with validation.  There are certain lessons they would never learn without their dad or another father figure stepping up to the plate.

There are four key areas in which sons need their fathers to grow properly.

  • Physically
  • Mentally
  • Emotionally
  • Spiritually

Picture a dad out in the yard playing catch with his son or a father and son jogging together.  Fathers teach their sons how to be physically fit and active. 

Fathers are often the ones responsible for teaching their children how to play sports or even coaching their teams.  A son needs his dad there encouraging him as his body grows physically.

We have already stated how sons with fathers at home tend to do better academically.  Men are often analytical thinkers, and their sons need to learn these skills from them.

It is important that a child’s thought-life is contributed to by both his mother and his father.  This will make him a more well-rounded thinker and individual.

Dads teach their sons how to handle emotions.  Boys do have emotions too, and they look to their fathers to know what to do with those emotions.

If you readily cry, your son will probably do the same.  If you hold back your emotions, your son will perceive that is what men are supposed to do.  A boy cannot learn the proper way to handle male emotion from only his mother.

Men are often considered the spiritual leaders of the family.  If this is so, then a boy needs his dad to model that leadership quality to him.  Fathers often hand down their religious beliefs and their spirituality to their children.

How Can I Improve My Father Son Relationship?

If your relationship with your son is not everything it should be, then take hope.  It is never too late to start trying harder to be a more influential part of his life.

Here are some ways to improve your relationship with your son:

  • Look for things you have in common with your son
  • Listen to what he has to say
  • Build him up by focusing on the positives
  • Recognize that you are an important part of his life

The best way to improve your relationship is to spend time together.  To do this, you need to develop some common interests.  Chances are, the two of you are more similar than you think. 

Find a sport or art form that you both enjoy and start by attending an event together.  No time spent together is wasted.  Even if you just watch a movie at home together, you will be making progress.

The biggest drift between father and son happens when they stop spending time together.  If there is conflict, find a peaceful resolution to it. 

Do not forego a relationship with your son just because you disagree with some of his decisions or lifestyle choices.  Choose to show love intentionally, and look for those things you have in common.

Really listen when your son talks.  Don’t brush him aside.  Let him know he is important to you by investing your time into listening to what he has to say. 

Give your son feedback, so that he knows you are paying attention, but be careful not to do all the talking.  He needs to know that his thoughts, hopes, and dreams are important to you.

When you are giving your son feedback, don’t dwell on the negative.  There are positive things about every child.  Let your son know that you notice these attributes of his.  Build him up by letting him know all the things that you think are great about him.  Give him a hug and tell him how proud you are!

Don’t settle for the lie that you do not matter.  You need to recognize that your presence is important in your son’s for all the reasons we have listed above and more.  Your son is your greatest legacy.  Don’t leave all the work up to someone else.  Take time to help shape and form him into a confident adult, who you will be proud of!

No matter what you have heard it the past, it is important for fathers to be involved in the raising of their sons.  Sons tend to copy behavior that has been modeled by their fathers. 

They will demonstrate the amount of respect toward others that they have seen their father show.  Your grandchildren will likely be treated in much the same way you treat your son.

You are essential to his physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual growth.  Do not let outside determines direct the man your son will become.  Take initiative and be present. 

Let your son know how much you love him and show him that you are willing to be there and be faithful in your support of him.  Sons crave that support from their fathers.

Don’t fall into the trap of becoming a jealous father.  If you are jealous over your spouse’s attention, work it out with her.  If you are jealous over your son’s achievements, take pride in him instead. 

Be the kind of role model that your dad was, or the kind of role model that you wish he had been. Either way, it looks like it’s time to get out in the yard and play catch.

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