Underappreciated? Men’s Tips for the Family Dynamic

I speak to a lot of men who, despite feeling that they place significant focus on their family life, feel underappreciated by their partners. The dynamics of any family can be unique and complicated, regardless of work schedule or life circumstance. But there are certain proactive approaches shown to help people re-engage with family and reaffirm the feeling of having a spot in the family dynamic.

See things from your partner’s perspective.

Perhaps your family fits a more traditional model where you work longer hours, and your spouse spends more time at home with the kids.

Your spouse may feel the brunt of household responsibilities and feel that you, despite your long hours, come home and feel your day is done in terms of “work.”

Conversely, you may come home and do your best to spend time with your family, from picking up the kids’ toys, to reading the bedtime story, and may love this part of your day, even if it takes an extra push of energy.

Getting a read on where each member of a relationship is, on a day to day basis, can help you work with each other to get the best out of your time at home.

Talk about it.

No matter how close you may feel, your partner can’t read your mind. If you’re feeling underappreciated, bring it up. Sensitively, of course. How each member of a relationship feels should be at the forefront of any relationship dynamic. And in any relationship, romantic or otherwise, communication is key.

Make a gesture.

If you’re feeling underappreciated, consider doing something nice for your significant other. Volunteer to take over bath-time, or assist with homework help for the night for your kids. Actions can sometimes speak louder than words (though words should probably come first). This kind of gesture might convey that not only are you feeling a certain way (perhaps like you don’t really belong), but you’re also working to fix it.

Source: Thinkstock/Getty Images

Break the daily grind.

Propose an activity that involves the whole family as a unit. Get the whole family involved in a game night. Have a pizza night on an otherwise normal Wednesday evening. Finding something that everyone is interested and engaged in can promote everyone’s feelings of belonging.

Create family time traditions.

Having a specific event that your family can look forward to and eventually enjoy together can create another stable sense of belonging. Make Sunday morning Pancake brunch day. Or, plan to have a monthly trip to a favorite store or park. Reserving these special events for your family and your family only can make everyone feel like they are a part of something important, and what’s more important than that?
 

Source: Thinkstock/Getty Images

Relationship and family dynamics can be difficult to navigate. Due to simple life circumstances, some men end up feeling like the odd-man-out. But working to become aware of these feelings, communicating them, and coming up with creative ways to make everyone feel like they belong can go a long way.

Stay Manly,

Dr. Lukin
 

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