Why won't my kids talk to me?

I have heard Dads lament as to why their children (especially teenagers) won't talk to them. There are probably a hundred reasons, but there is a simple reason that has occurred to me. It doesn't seem all that deep and meaningful, but truth is truth.

Have you ever noticed how one company will own dozens of brands that they market their products under? For example, the conglomerate Kraft market products under the brands of Cadbury, Kraft, Tang, Maxwell House, Philadelphia, Oreo and tonnes more. Whichever product of these you purchase the money ends up at Kraft, and for the sake of simplicity it would be a lot easier to package everything as the one brand. It would make advertising a lot more efficient in some ways too. But in our minds, we trust different brands to do different things. I'm probably not going to have the impression that Cadbury mayonnaise is very healthy, and I equally wouldn't feel Kraft chocolate is going to be very tasty.

As a Dad, you may have put a lot of effort into building up your "Dad brand". It may be fit and sporty Dad, or hard working provider Dad, or strong and determined leader Dad, or funny and joking Dad.

There's nothing wrong with being any of these things to your children, and I don't advocate being a fake person to your kids to fool them into thinking you are something you're not. What I do advocate is allowing your kids to see ALL the sides of you that exist. It's highly likely that there are sensitive and caring aspects to your "brand" that you have not shown your kids because it doesn't help you keep them in control or because of some other reason. If your "brand" in the minds of your children is only one dimensional though, you will always struggle to get your children to feel they can trust you in any other area of their lives.

It is possible to gain the trust of your children on multiple fronts, even as a male. You can be trusted with their secrets, and trusted to be their provider and protector. You can be a trusted shoulder to cry on, and trusted with their silly jokes.

It just takes hard work and time. You need to be willing to put time in when it seems like a waste of time, to be around when the opportunity to share with them arises, and to NOT BURN your kid when they do decide to share something with you. You may feel like jumping on the situation straight away to fix the problem, but you may also lose ALL FUTURE POSSIBILITIES of your child trusting you with their secrets again.

There are some brands out there that people will buy whatever they put out. They have gained consumer trust, not with slick marketing or cheap prices, but by consistently showing that they care about their customers and the products they make. I hate to insinuate that your kids are customers, but you get my point.