what teens need from dad

What Teens Need from Dads, part 1

Dear Mr. Dad. I’ve got 12-year old boy-girl twins. I’ve already noticed that my relationship with them has changed, but I want to make sure I’m doing everything I can to stay involved as they enter the teen years. What do they need most from me and how can I gently steer them in the right direction?

A: Great question! There are all sorts of things that have an influence on your teen’s behavior: you, his friends, the media, his teachers, and himself. Unfortunately, you have control over only one: yourself. Fortunately, though, how you treat and raise your children will have an influence over how much credence they give to the other things in their life. Even though your teens will never admit it, they need you now more than ever. Boys are looking at you to show them what it means to be a man, what men do in our society, and how they treat women. Girls are looking at you to model the way they should expect to be treated by the men in their lives. Here’s what you need to do to be the most involved father you can be, as well as to reduce the chances that your teens will engage in risky or dangerous behavior:

  • Be There. As much as you can, as often as you can. Teens want to know that their dads care about them, and your physical presence is incredibly important. Having regular family dinners is a major sign of involvement. Be there when they come home from school if you can. Kids (including teens) who are left alone after school are more likely to drink or do drugs than kids who have adult supervision. Be there in spirit too. Turn off the TV during dinner, check your email and read the paper later.

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Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

Armin Brott

View posts by Armin Brott
Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, mrdad.com. You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.

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