I like to joke around with my teenage son, Chance. On school days, I take my coffee and join him in front of our house to wait for the bus. These minutes are precious because I can check in, ask Chance questions, and connect with him. Here’s the fun part …
I do it in my bathrobe.
As the clock ticks, Chance becomes more and more horrified. His world would end if he were caught with his nerdo dad. Of course, I make it back inside before the bus arrives …
But just barely. Muwhahaha!
Why do I do it? Having fun is one of the joys of fatherhood, and it helps maintain rapport during those awkward teenage years. Plus, your teenagers are going to think you are out-of-touch anyway, so why not have fun with it?
Joking around reminds Chance that our relationship is deep. I’m not simply an out-of-touch old guy. I’m a fun-spirited old guy!
That said, I try to never go too far. As we relate to our children and coach them to be responsible adults, remember there’s a lot of room for humor, energy, and fun. Teasing kids brings excitement to life. But be sure to balance this with self-control and humility.
I tell this story in one of my chapters in The 21-Day Dad’s Challenge. This brand new book, written by myself and a collection of other authors, gives dads 21 ways to improve their relationship with their kids. The first assignment? Have fun with your kids!
And be sure to send me your ideas for teasing kids (and connecting with them in the meantime!). I need more ways to harass Chance … Email me, or leave a message on one of our sites:
Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding 6.5 million fathers who will make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need. Subscribe here to receive our weekly email tip.