My parents have been separated since I was 8. My dad has this girlfriend. He does everything with her, which includes going on expensive holidays. When he has my sister and me every second weekend, though, all we do is sit at his house and watch movies while he's on his phone. How do I approach him about how I feel?


The relationship with your dad (or anyone, for that matter) won’t improve unless you communicate. Before speaking to him, sit down with your sister and brainstorm things that the three of you would enjoy doing together. Make a list of 50 that are reasonable and affordable. They may include activities such as hiking in the woods, rollerskating in the park, playing Monopoly, doing miniature golf, learning to kayak, and going on a picnic.

Then approach your dad in a friendly, enthusiastic way and show him the list. Have you ever heard the saying: “You attract more flies with honey than vinegar?” If you’re accusatory with your father (“you always take your girlfriend on fantastic trips but only fiddle on your phone when you’re with us”), you'll probably cause him to become defensive.

Instead, frame it in a positive light. Saying something such as: “Dad, we’re getting older and want to create some special memories with you before it’s too late. We want to make a photo album of all the fun things we do together.”

If he’s unmotivated to spend quality time with you, talk with your mother. Some states allow teens to decide whether or not they want to continue visitations. You’re at an age when friends, studies, extracurricular activities, and part-time jobs are an ever-expanding part of your life. It’s understandable that you don’t want to be stuck at your father’s place watching movies when you could be engaging in pursuits that are fun and constructive.

Finally, know that you’re not alone. More and more young people today are complaining about their parents being on their devices instead of spending time with them. This is a sad state of affairs and shows how addictive and destructive technology can be. I wish you well in having this conversation with your dad and admire you for taking a proactive stand. Take care!

Updated on May 5, 2020

Original Article:

Fatherless Daughters: How Growing Up Without a Dad Affects Women
By McKenna Meyers

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