Dads, with Father’s Day on the horizon and with summer break nearly upon us, there are ample opportunities for some one-on-one time with your children. Don’t squander it! Even though you still have to work, when you get home you should make it a priority to spend quality time with your kids.

For fathers of sons, it is important to build a foundation of trust and communication that will last a lifetime. With generational divides, it can be challenging to find ways to connect with your son. He may be consumed with the hottest video game while you wouldn’t know a Xbox from an X-ray. But there are ways to find common ground.

How to Bond 

Take an Interest in His Activities

That video game is bound to be pretty cool. Maybe your son will show you how to play and it will become a bonding opportunity. Sometimes just asking a few questions of your child can open pathways to strengthen relationships.

Think About What You And Your Son Have in Common

Do you have a mutual love of sports? The outdoors? Working on cars? Building stuff? Music? If you can find activities that you both enjoy, it’s a lot easier to discover things to do together.

Teach Him Something

There are bound to be things you can teach him that he might like. If you have a particular skill that you believe your son might have an aptitude for, ask him to join you for an outing. Take your time and show him to fly fish or how to conquer a bike trail.

Ask Your Son What He Wants to Do With You

He probably has some adventurous ideas of his own of activities that he’d like to share with you.

While Engaged in An Activity, Use the Time to Talk

You don’t have to get deep or probe his innermost thoughts and feelings, but there will be openings to find out how he’s doing beyond the standard “fine” we get from our kids most of the time. Those moments are precious and it’s important not to be too judgmental. Allow him to feel safe opening up to you or asking you questions that he might be nervous about asking. Always reassure him that he can come to you with any problems or issues he might have.

When our sons are little, they often idolize us. They aspire to grow into a man like us, with a commanding strength and presence. At least that’s what they see as children. As our sons grow up, they see our faults and failures. It’s okay for them to know that we are fallible. It will help them recover when they falter, too.

To that end, there are some things to avoid when conjuring up special bonding time with our boys.

What to Avoid

Give Him Space

Try not to be overbearing about spending time with your son. It might not be high on his to-do list, depending on his age. However, make sure that he knows how important this is to you and how much fun you will have. In other words, don’t take no for answer, but be prepared to do a sales job.

Don’t Put Too Much Pressure on It

A father-son outing is cool and memorable, but try to avoid building up the event too much. This should be relaxed, low-key and enjoyable for both of you. If he’s old enough, ask him to assist in planning and preparing for it so you both take ownership.

Don’t Try to Be Something That You’re Not

I’ve seen lots of dads who try way too hard to be cool and fit in or impress their kids. It just doesn’t work. Kids can smell a phony from a mile away. Simply be who you are and allow trust that your son will accept you. Plus, by being honest your son will likely respect you more and will feel more confident in his own skin.

Don’t Expect to Be His Best Friend

There are boundaries and topics that might be off limits for a while. But the more trust you build, the more your son will feel comfortable sharing his thoughts, goals, and fears with you.