How Fathers Can Be Close to Young Adult Kids

Staying connected to young adult kids can be difficult for some parents, and often more for fathers than mothers. Here are some ways for fathers to maintain a relationship with both sons and daughters.


Learn to Text

Young man at a party texting, in private home

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Fathers, if they haven't already, should invest in a smartphone and learn to text. Young adults are more likely to respond to a text than a phone call, giving fathers an easy and convenient way to chat with their kids on a regular basis.

"Fully 68% of 18- to 29-year-olds say that they texted 'a lot' the previous day, which plunges to 47% among 30- to 49-year-olds and 26% among 50- to 64-year-olds." — Forbes.

Just a brief "how's your day?" is enough to elicit a response from busy millennials who live on their phones. Bonus points for using emojis correctly! 


Go Easy on the Advice

Mid adult man talking to senior man

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Fathers—and mothers as well—like to give advice. A lot of advice. Parents see their grown kids making choices and, in their opinions, sometimes mistakes, and want to share their wisdom with them.

While that's a good instinct — and a natural one — it's wise to hold off on expressing your opinion before you're asked for it. 


Keep Talking, Whatever it Takes

Father and son standing in street

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Men and women are different in the way they interact. Typically, men like to do things side by side, women like to do things face to face. It's not always easy for men to talk freely with their grown children, particularly daughters, about personal issues. A good way to open up a conversation is to find things to do together.

When kids are growing up, some of the best conversations can be had in a car, when looking straight ahead and not at each other offers a sense of anonymity that can open up conversations to more serious or intimate levels.

Fathers can do things to facilitate this kind of interaction with their grown kids by sharing activities, such as running, cycling, attending sporting events or even watching movies together. 


Learn to Like Significant Others

Couple walking with bicycle in park

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When young adults choose a person to commit to, whether for a year or for life, parents will, no doubt, have an opinion about it. Fathers—especially when it comes to their daughters—must remain openminded and accepting of that special someone, no matter how they may feel about the person who has captured their child's heart.

Welcoming your young adult and his or her partner into your home and life with warmth and generosity will go a long way to creating a good relationship that may be for a lifetime.


Start or Continue Traditions

Three generation males decorating gingerbread house at Christmas
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When you ask anyone about what they remember with fondness from childhood, it is often connected to family traditions. Sunday night dinners, annual family road trips, festive holiday celebrations or even a good night ritual—all of these things are what make up the moments that stay with us for all our lives.

Continuing traditions—even if they are adapted to adult children—will help fathers stay connected to their young adults. Creating new traditions can be even more effective.

As families evolve, incorporating new members into old traditions can keep everyone feeling close and wanting more time with fathers — and mothers, too.


Take Up a New Hobby

Father and daughter fly-fishing

MoMo Productions / Getty Images

Fathers and their young adult kids can find a common interest and start exploring it together. Whether it's photography, yoga, baking, gardening, traveling or anything else that sparks interest, learning something new together is a great way for fathers to maintain a close connection to young adults.

If distance gets in the way of actually doing something together, doing it separately and then talking about it will also encourage communication and connection.

Fathers and young adults may start out talking about changing the tires on their racing bike and end up talking about the challenges of raising children. The point is to keep talking. 



Family looking at the family album

Hemant Mehta / Getty Images

Fathers shouldn't be afraid of getting sentimental with their young adults. Raising children is a busy, overwhelming experience, and sometimes the moments get lost in the activity that swallows up time together. Share your reminiscences with your young adults—you may be surprised by how touched they are that you have such fond memories of their younger years. And if you're lucky, they will share their good memories of you, too. 

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  1. Howe, N. Why Millennials Are Texting More And Talking Less. Forbes. Published July 15, 2015.