Don't be fooled into thinking that dads aren't all that important.  Kids need dads to validate their self-worth.  Many problems can come to a family and to future relationships for the children when a dad is absent or not as involved with his kids as they need him to be.

Not only does an absent dad make it hard on the mom - who then has to play both roles - but it is also confusing to the children. Mom the nurturer becomes mom the authoritarian, and the kids begin to feel a void in their life that can create relational minefields in their future. 

What about a dad who is there, but he remains disengaged? This too can be a problem; maybe an even bigger problem than an absent dad. It can lead to a loss in a child's self-worth and identity. They begin thinking that they are not important or not worthy of dad's attention, or worse yet, they're a burden to him. As a result, they can develop insecurities and anxieties and may never feel they measure up or are good enough - not to anyone. 

Each parent has a separate role when it comes to building a child's self-esteem. Moms instill value in her children and dads validate it. If mom is doing her job, but dad is not right behind her doing the validating, a son may enter into inappropriate relationships to do that for him, or a daughter may go out to find a boy or even an older man who will do the same. They want someone to validate their self worth; but they can only get that from dad. 

But what is validation?  It's kind of like a stamp of approval.  It tells the child that they are loved and accepted for who they are, regardless.  It validates that they are a valued and important part of the family and that they are a beautiful person worthy of the adoration of a father.  Can't you just tell a child that?  Of course you can, and you should!  But actions speak louder than words. Validation comes from showing you are interested in the child and not only willing to spend time with them, but that you cannot wait for the next time you two can spend together.  It's a very special and important part of your life. 

What if the Father is Absent?

If your child does not have a father, or someone to fill that role in their life; it is important to ask your pastor or youth minister, or other family members to fill that void in a positive way for your child. 

I knew a man who was slowly passing away from terminal cancer. Before he passed, he asked six different men to look after his children when he was gone. Now that is dedication. This man understood the importance of the role of the father. He wanted at least six men to be looking out for his children, to be sure they would have the support and validation they so desperately need, especially after the loss of a father they loved so much. 

My Teen Doesn't Want to Spend Time with Me

Not every dad knows how to be a good father, because they didn't have a good example in their own life. That could be why there is a rift in your relationship.  A shift in your parenting to become a validator will allow you to experience something you may never have had before in a relationship. 

Perhaps you are struggling with your teen and sometimes just want to cut off the relationship and say "Enough is enough!" So maybe you've gotten overly involved in projects, sports or work and avoid your child.  But even unruly children want their dad to offer them the same amount attention and dedication. They may not say it.  They may even deny it with all their might.  But no matter how nasty they've become, they still need their dad.