If you want a closer relationship with your son you must be deliberate about pursuing such a relationship.
How do I fix a relationship with my son, who has a better relationship with his mom than he does with me. It’s difficult to build a relationship after years of distance. I want to get closer to him, but he seems to push me away. Please help.
Having a close relationship with one’s spouse or children is way more difficult than most people imagine. Before getting married and/or having children, most individuals take it for granted that they will have a close relationship with their spouse and with their child or children. So your question is an important one that many experience in their relationships today.
We are pleased to know your son has a great relationship with his mother. This is something to be celebrated. For a son to have a better relationship with his mother than with his father is not unusual. Mothers tend to be the primary caregivers and nurturers of their children. So the special attachment developed between mother and infant through many contact hours of feedings, diaper changes, and being rocked to sleep while feeling warm and secure invariably translate to closer relationships in comparison to dads who may not be as involved with their children during these early weeks and months.
The fact that your son has a better relationship with his mother than with you should not preclude you from also having a close relationship with him. The objective is not to compare the quality of relationship your son may have with each of his parents. Rather, it is important for you to be intentional about developing the kind of relationship with him that you would like to have.
The Bible shares: “A man who has friends must himself be friendly” (Prov. 18:24). This means that if you want a closer relationship with your son you must be deliberate about pursuing such a relationship. Show a greater interest in being in touch with your son on a regular basis, invite him to participate in activities that he is interested in, and simply create more time to connect with him. These will help draw him closer to you.
We have a good idea about the challenges you may have in pursuing a more intimate relationship with your son at this point. But this is a noble initiative on your part, despite feeling that your son may be pushing you away. If your goal is a closer relationship with your son, you must pursue this ideal even more carefully than you would any other aspiration you are interested in achieving, despite the potential obstacles.
We applaud your desire for a closer relationship with your son, and we encourage you to make this effort a spiritual imperative. The Bible declares: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Mal. 4:5, 6).
Please count on our prayers in behalf of your relationship with your son; and be assured of God’s desire for this to take place not only in your experience, but in that of every father and mother and their children.
Willie Oliver, PhD, CFLE, an ordained minister, pastoral counselor, family sociologist, is director for the Department of Family Ministries at the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Elaine Oliver, MA, LGPC, CFLE, an educator, counseling psychologist, and clinical mental health counselor is associate director for the Department of Family Ministries. You may communicate with them at Family.Adventist.org or HopeTV.org/RealFamilyTalk.