encouraging closeness with dad

father relationship It’s tough and painful for me to admit.

My heart aches at times just thinking about it.

But when my kids were younger, I didn’t encourage the relationship between my kids and their father as much as I should have.

I was with them all day, so they naturally gravitated more to me.

And I liked that. Those words are hard to type.

As a young mom, I had deep, long-held insecurities and a need for value that my children filled. I didn’t even consciously know this — not until years later. But the result was the same: I encouraged my kids’ attachment to me in way that was unhealthy.

Because I was with them all day,  and we were so connected, I usually thought I knew better than he did what was best for them. Sometimes that was true, sometimes not.

[Tweet “I wanted to pick and choose when I allowed my husband to exert his role as leader and dad.”] 

When my daughter hit middle school, I saw the fruit of this. And it was rotten. She and I hit a very rocky patch in our relationship. She would have been so much better off during this time if I done more to cultivate a rock-solid united mom-dad partnership.

God opened my eyes. I knew something had to change.

I asked my husband for forgiveness and told him I was going to quit trying to always run the parenting show.

This was not an easy process for me. It meant I had to give up some control. I had to let go of my ego and my way of doing things sometimes.

And I drew closer to God than ever before as I asked him to help me develop a new way of responding and a new way of viewing my worth. It could not be rooted in my kids’ opinions of me anymore. It wasn’t healthy for them or me.

So how did I turn things around (and this is still an ongoing process, by the way)? 

1. I quit always trying to take the lead — even when I didn’t always agree with his method. This was so important, but incredibly difficult. And I know that it’s not a popular thought. Kids are better served when Dad assumes the leadership role in the family. I know that depending on the situation, this is not always possible. Dad may be out of the picture or not willing to take the lead. However, when it works that way, everyone benefits.

Does this mean that we don’t voice our opinions or that we have to consult him before every one of the 500 parenting decisions we make throughout the day? Clearly, no. But on the really important stuff, we should. I also had to step back and not jump in to respond to every conflict or misbehavior with the kids. I had to give him a chance to respond.

And if he wasn’t handling a situation exactly the way I would handle it (which is perfect every time, of course!), then I had to learn to keep my mouth shut. If I had genuine, valid concerns about his method/approach, I would talk to him about it calmly (not accusingly) behind closed doors.

When kids would come to me with significant questions or disputes, I’d often respond by saying something like, “That’s something I need to talk to your dad about first. Then we’ll give you an answer.”

2. Encourage him to have one-on-one time with the kids. I spent and spend so much time with the kids. Taking them to school and activities. My husband did and does, too, but I encourage him to take even more of these opportunities.

Right now, my daughter is learning to drive. My husband is taking advantage of this time with our daughter.  He’ll take her out for a “lesson” and will sometimes pair it with dinner or going out for a snack. It’s these everyday, shared experiences that build closeness.

3. Pray that God would build those relationships. I’m so glad that God has the power to “restore the years the locusts have eaten.” He can repair, restore and create bonds, even if we have made big mistakes along the way. I’ve seen Him do this in ways that I can’t, over and over again. As we being encouraging that relationship, the Holy Spirit works through our efforts. We just have to take the first step. It does get easier and more natural each time we do it.

We are so capable and important in our kids lives, moms. They need us.

But they need Dad, too.

And sometimes we just have to step back a little to encourage them to get closer. 

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  • Love this post and I was so guilty of holding him back early in Dino’s life. ONly I could do it the right way and then would complain when he didn’t help. Now I have learned to let him do it his way, and it will be okay. Dino loves his daddy and loves spending boy time with his daddy. I am able to do take time for myself now and it’s wonderful .

    • {Melinda} You are doing such a good job as a mom, Karen. Dino will so benefit from your efforts, more than you can possibly know right now. <3 Keep it up!

  • How wonderful that you have the humility to realize the need and then to make the necessary changes! As long as we keep trying and love our children we will not fail as parents.

    Thank you for sharing that!

    • {Melinda} Yes, Reyna, we’re not going to be perfect, but if we are doing our best, we have to trust that God will work through our imperfect efforts. I know He has for me time and time again. 🙂

  • OKAY! This hits me where I live. It is so hard to let go of the reigns and to not be “the center of everyone’s universe”. I love your three important strategies to be a relationship builder.

    • {Melinda} Thanks, Lori! This has been a hard journey for me, but SO worth it. 🙂


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i’m melinda


I’m a woman who was radically changed when the God I thought I knew since childhood opened my eyes to the overwhelming depth of His love for me. I love speaking, writing, and pointing women to the Father so they can experience for themselves the healing power of His incredible, captivating love.

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