How Can I Have a Better Relationship With My Dad?

Father Relationships

Father relationships can be complicated, frustrating, and painful. Depending on what you’ve been through, you may want to rebuild things with your father. Whether you’re longing for a greater sense of connection with your biological father, an adopted father, a stepfather, or a father figure in your life, I’m hopeful that sharing what I’ve learned can help you on that path.

Can I Have a Better Relationship with My Dad?

How much you are able to influence your relationship with your dad depends on the situation and the reasons for your feelings of father hunger. In general, I believe most any relationships can grow stronger or more stable if:

  • You feel a sense of physical and emotional safety that allows you to have contact with them or be around them
  • Your father is also willing to put time and effort into building and maintaining a relationship with you
  • You are able to acknowledge steps forward in your relationship, even if they’re small

If this describes your situation, I think it’s very likely you can improve your relationship with your dad.

How Can I Have a Better Relationship with My Father?

If you consider yourself in a place of safety when it comes to your dad, you can start taking small steps to improve your relationship. This could mean things like:

  • Sending cards: Send your dad a brief note or card for birthdays and holidays.
  • Calling on a regular basis: Try starting with once a month to see how your conversations go.
  • Start getting together: If phone calls help you feel more comfortable talking to your dad regularly, and you are enjoying the conversations, you can start getting together for coffee or a meal. I would suggest every few months, or around an important occasion. Meet in a public place and set clear boundaries around your time, so you don’t have to prolong an experience for any longer than you feel comfortable doing.

Will My Relationship with My Dad Improve?

Without knowing you or your dad personally, it’s hard to say how your relationship will turn out. But I like to encourage people to remain hopeful in the face of relationship challenges. You may be able to remain more hopeful by:

  • Praying about your relationship with your dad: Sometimes prayer helps us get our most raw and difficult feelings out in a place where we will never be judged, and we will always be loved. Praying and meditating on encouraging Bible verses may also help remind you of God’s unconditional love, which is often a great source of encouragement for people with tough family relationships.
  • Celebrating little wins: Small victories (like a good phone call, a pleasant visit, or hearing from your dad a little more often) should be celebrated. You can be grateful for every step forward.
  • Remembering he’s human: Sometimes your dad is going to make mistakes, even though he wants to rebuild a relationship. If you can, try to forgive your dad for the bumps in the road that may come up as you try to strengthen your relationship. Hopefully, he will be patient with you when you make mistakes, too. 

Who Can Help Me with Parent Relationships?

You can get support as you work toward a stronger relationship with your dad, starting here. TheHopeLine offers mentoring and support to improve family relationships of all types. Don’t wait if you feel overwhelmed by struggles in your relationship with your dad. Talk to a Hope Coach at TheHopeLine today.

Is struggling to forgive your dad getting in the way of having a better relationship with him? Find out if you should forgive and forget here. 

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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