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As hard as LEO life can be on you, it can be even harder on kids.  Here are 5 tips on how to help your kids have a better relationship with a police officer dad!

More often than you’d like, your husband’s job has probably had to come before your family.

I get it.  I mean, just 8 hours after our son was born, my husband was back at work because of mandatory training.  Seriously, I think I’d barely come out of full sedation before he was getting ready to go!

I know what it’s like to feel resentful of the job (and sometimes my husband by extension), but I knew early on that kids can pick up on that, too.

Especially now that my son is older, I’m very aware of the effect law enforcement life will have on him when my husband returns.  He loves when Daddy comes home every day.  He loves the predictability.  He doesn’t remember a time when that wasn’t the case.

Bright side, he now really likes his Uncle Paul’s police car, and has said a lot how he wishes Daddy had one.  So that’s good!

Nonetheless, I know it’ll be hard on everyone to get back into the swing of things.

I know I can’t protect my son from all the pain in the world, and I know the difficulties of police life aren’t things I can fully take away, but the one thing I don’t want is for it to affect his relationship with his father.

So it got me thinking – how can I encourage their relationship and help him cope with the fears and uncertainties (and yes, the occasional resentment)?

5 Ways to Help Kids Feel Connected To Their Police Officer Dad

Set the example.

My son copies everything I do.  If I’m on my phone, he wants to be on the phone.  If I’m cooking dinner, if he’s not hanging off my leg, he’s pretending to cook, too.  If I yell at a car in front of me – well, you know what, you get the picture.

It makes me realize that if I want him to have a good attitude in the face of difficulties, I have to model what that looks like.  He can’t learn how to be even-tempered and resilient if he doesn’t have anyone to show him how.

That means resisting the urge to kvetch when my husband gets home late because of a stop.  It means taking a deep breath, regrouping, and planning something else instead.

It means keeping my cool when I’m frustrated and overwhelmed, and maybe calling in a babysitter/helper if I need an extra pair of hands instead of complaining about how I’m doing it all alone.  

It means a little more focusing on the things I can do rather than the things I can’t, because all the complaining in the world won’t change the bad stuff!

I mean, it’s not going to happen every time – but the more often our son sees me have a good attitude when plans change, the more likely he is to do so, as well.

 

Talk to them about what their dad does (and why it’s important).

My son kind of gets it.  He knows police officers catch the “bad guys.”  He knows they drive cool, noisy, light-up cars.  He watches Paw Patrol with the best of them.

He’s been a little confused before because of the LEGO Movie.  He once saw an officer and excitedly pointed at him saying, “Bad Cop! Bad Cop!”  Yikes.

Anyway.

At his age, he isn’t going to fully understand the significance of law enforcement, but that doesn’t mean I can’t start talking to him about it.  I can talk to him about how his daddy helps people.  I can tell him (without going into too much detail) how he stops people who are breaking the rules so we can stay safe.

As he gets older, the conversations are going to be different, and the topics are going to get a little stickier – but for now, that’s all he needs to know.  And all he has the attention span to learn about 😉

The great thing, though, is you don’t have to have a formal sit-down conversation about it.  You can incorporate it into your play – which probably comes naturally to your kiddos, anyway.  Whether it’s playing with LEGOs or Nerf guns, there’s an opportunity to talk about what your husband does!

 

Read lots of books.

I love reading books to my son, and, of course, he loves being read to.  When there’s cute pictures and a fun story, it’s much easier to teach him the stuff I want to teach.

Plus, it’s just good, solid bonding time that doesn’t require running around (win!)

Some suggestions: (and p.s. – these are affiliate links)

 

Get them involved.

My son gets so excited when we visit my husband at work.  It happens pretty regularly these days since he works not to far from our home, and it’s something I’d like to figure out how to continue when he’s back on the job.

The nice thing about visiting his dad at work is we always find an excuse, whether it’s bringing him a treat or something my son colored for him.  It gets my son thinking about what makes other people happy, and enjoying doing those things.

I know when I’m feeling irritable, doing something nice for someone else makes me feel a lot better.  So I know helping my son do the same thing for his father is great for their relationship, and will only have more of an impact (and be more important) as he gets older!

Pray as a family.

One really great way to feel connected as a family, no matter what’s going on, is to pray together.

My son is still too young to really participate, but we’ve talked to him about why we pray and who we’re praying to.  He hears the things we express gratitude for and the things we ask God to provide for us.

As he grows up in this uncertain world, my son needs to know who he can turn to for help and for comfort.  He needs to know the One that provides the good things we want and need.  He needs to know his parents love and serve a God who loves him even more than they do, who can provide comfort when he needs it most.

By leading your children to God, you can help provide the strength they need to face any number of uncertainties.

 

While law enforcement life is hard on everyone, it doesn’t totally preclude a good relationship between kids and their dad.  It just means having a few work-arounds to facilitate bonding time 🙂

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Having a police officer dad isn't easy.  I grew up with one, too!  I want to make sure my kids grow up with a good relationship with their father! These are great tips.

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