Dads Telling Their Kids “I Love You”

A year and a half.

There’s no denying it. An active and involved dad in a kid’s life is a big deal.

But beyond the bare minimal cliches like showing up for ball games and ballet recitals is a dad who cares enough to tell his kids “I love you.”

And “I’m proud of you.” Regularly.

I think about the token Freudian question, “How is your relationship with your father?”

Surely we are all aware that where there is anger or mistrust or distance or absence in regards to one’s father, there is a higher risk for a tougher version of life in general for that individual.

I’ve pointed out before in “The Positive Re-branding Of Fatherhood” that today’s modern American dad is either very much a part of his children’s lives or he is completely not in the picture at all. The typical Generation X and Y dads are not likely to fall somewhere in between the two extremes.

Therefore, I think it’s safe to say that a dad who is in the picture is not afraid to emotionally express those words that every child needs to hear.

As for our own dads and their dads, were they told “I love you” by their own fathers? From what I’ve gathered from real life conversations and movies starring Kevin Costner, I am led to believe the answer is no.

I don’t think I’m odd for telling my son I love him and for kissing him on the cheek at least a handful of times each day.

That’s normal and expected. And though I won’t kiss him in public as I’m dropping him off for school by the time he’s in Junior High, my physical and verbal affection for him will still remain strong.

It’s interesting to try to sort out what is masculine as opposed to what deserves a man card being pulled.

(I tried writing a blog post about it once but it turned out really lame, so please don’t go back and read it because I’m very embarrassed by it! I so seriously wish I could delete it from The Dadabase.)

So while I will admit I’m not the kind of dad who will likely become “that dad” in worst of ways, embarrassing and emasculating my son in front of his friends by overly expressing my easily earned love and approval for him, he will be able to give a positive and endearing answer when it comes to answering the question:

“How is your relationship with your father?”

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  1. by KevinESanchez

    On June 1, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with you on us as dads showing affection to our kids. I think many times as men we are afraid to show affection to our boys especially as fathers. I am very affectionate by nature, and physical touch is my love language. (if you haven’t read the book I HIGHLY recommend it.) I’ve noticed that each of my kids are different. I have 3 boys and 2 girls, and each of them have very different needs. My oldest which is now 9, just admitted she’s embarrassed to hold my hand in public now. I was crushed inside, but knew that she was changing and I need to let her develop those boundaries that she is comfortable with. What she doesn’t say is she loves for me to cuddle with her at night, which I am going to enjoy as long as I can, cause before you know it she is going to be all grown up!

  2. by Nick Shell

    On June 1, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    You’re a cool dad, Kevin. And yes, The 5 Love Languages is a great book!

  3. by Lee

    On June 1, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Great article, I agree it should be regular. Unfortunately I don’t remember hearing the “I’m proud of you statement” a lot growing up, but I sure do want my kids to know that I am proud of them and that I do love them.

  4. by Joe

    On June 1, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    I’m right there with you, Nick. More dads need to see this.

  5. by Michelle

    On June 4, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    I have never heard my dad say I love you. I know he does, I truly don’t doubt it but it is hard to have never heard those words. I’m so glad that my husband says those words daily to our son. My son will never doubt that his daddy loves him. I had to doubt that growing up, i understand it now but as a teenager struggling with her relationship with her parents, I didn’t know it and thats sad. I’m glad that fathers these days are willing to say I love you and I hope that never changes!