If you want true closeness with your kids, it’s up to Dad,’ professor says
It’s time for Dad to step up to the plate and take charge of his day rather than sitting back and waiting for the gifts to roll in, says Mark T. Morman, Ph.D., a Baylor University expert in family communication.
“Too often, it’s Mom that rallies the troops. She gets stuff for the kids to give to Dad,” says Morman, professor of communication in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences. “This year, he might say, ‘I got this. Don’t worry about it.’ Father’s Day would be better served if Dad flipped roles and got Mom off the hook.”
While “guy activity” might be expected between fathers and sons, one of Morman’s studies showed something unexpected: that the most frequent turning point of closeness in father-daughter relationships is shared activity — especially sports — even ahead of such pivotal events as when a daughter marries or leaves home.
Besides enjoying sports together — whether watching games, playing a sport together or having a dad serve as coach — working together and vacationing together also were mentioned as turning points by fathers and daughters who took part in a 2013 study, published in the Journal of Human Communication.
Regardless of whether a father is dealing with a son or a daughter, sharing activities is what’s called “‘closeness in the doing’ — the masculine style of building closeness — while the feminine style generally is talking, or ‘closeness in the dialogue,’” says Morman, who has done extensive research on family communication.
“Get off the sofa and put up the laptop,” he advises fathers. “Have ice cream, grill hamburgers or go to a movie, Six Flags or the beach. There’s not a specific activity that’s the golden ticket. If you want true closeness with your kids, it’s up to Dad.”
*Morman also has done research on mother-son and father-son relationships; relationships with future mother-in-laws; expressions of affection between men in same-sex friendships; and same-sex affection in friendships.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.
ABOUT BAYLOR COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES
The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University’s oldest and largest academic division, consisting of 24 academic departments and 13 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines.
photo credit – Max Khokhlov