Q: I have a hard time speaking directly to my grandchildren. I’ve never been someone who expresses their feelings easily or was a great communicator. My wife usually acts as a “translator” for me. My grandkids spend a lot of time at my house, but I travel a lot and keep late hours. It seems as if I’m becoming less and less important and useful to my own family. What can I do?
A: Your complaint is quite common. In the past, men usually worked outside the home and relegated the household tasks and child-rearing to the women. When Dad came home from a long day of work, he was deferred to as an authority figure, although in truth – because of his absence – he was detached from his home life. Today, technology allows many people to work from home or at least do some work remotely.
Sit down with your children and grandchildren and tell them you would like to be more involved in family life. Make an effort to take the time to participate in family activities. Call the children, e-mail them, use SKYPE often to touch base with everyone. Have your grandchildren visit you at work. The more time you spend in direct contact with each member of your family, the better you will come to know them.
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