Repairing Broken Relationship Between Father and Son

Repairing Broken Relationship Between Father and Son

Dear Yogesh,

Me and my father have not been in touch for many years. Why? Just ego or the so-called generation gap. Maybe it’s the lack of understanding, communication and time we spend with each other. My couple of attempts to approach him were thwarted. Now I feel what’s the need of even trying. Please help me how can I get out of this mental trauma?

Yours Sincerely

Dear Abhijeet,

The father-son relationship in India is generally confused. Before you think to give up and move on, let me offer a possibility of reconnecting. I am sure you’ll agree with me that at some point and time you thought to mend your relationship with your dad, thus tried making up things. Was it because you were tired of the status quo of mutually agreed distance/no communication? Or maybe you wanted to end it finally and have a normal peaceful chemistry between you and your father?

Your reason can be one or may be all of these, I still admire you for making that effort.

It’s not easy to mend a broken relationship, however conversations and efforts can make it happen.

The most effective way of judging how good you’re at managing these situations lies in the way you make efforts while staying emotional and strong at the same time.  For example:

  • Be more expressive in letting people know how much you love them, without having an expectation of revert. (Like our mothers do)
  • Offer care and support to people, even to those who have not been nice to you in the past.
  • Be friendly and show compassion even to those whom you feel are risky people and might find opportunities to harm you in some or the other way.

Let me make it simpler for you to understand. Do you remember the first time you started working out to get in shape or reach your fitness goals (be it weight loss, toning or muscle gain)? In the beginning you feel sore and stop going to the gym. Then, you see yourself in the mirror, motivate yourself, and kickstart your regime (irrespective of how many times you must repeat). But you don’t give up seeing merit in it, the sense of satisfaction and happiness for yourself.

In your situation, maybe you have taken initiatives and now you're thinking to give up. I am not being judgmental here, I just want you to understand how this bitterness is affecting your capacity to stay more happy, joyful and full of life. It’s time to get back to the treadmill until you achieve your goal (for your happiness only).

Before you judge your father, his perceptions and opinions (which may always differ than yours) I would also want you to understand that Indian families are different that the families around the world and so are the parents. Playing or taking care of a child or infants and playing with them is not what fathers in India do (exceptions can be there), their major role is to discipline the child. They don’t play often with their children but spend their time (whatever small window they have) in disciplining them, teaching them the do’s and don’ts of life. They end up spending very less playful time with their kids and similarly have lesser communication also.

Therefore, most of the traditional Indian fathers struggle to express their feelings. This does not imply that the Indian father-son relation is without any emotional rewards, a son in India learns a lot with his father. For example, a son of a shopkeeper learns may learn things better than a business school. Starting from the very basics of procuring goods, to managing accounts and learning minor yet effective techniques of dealing with customers, a son learns a lot of practical things from his father’s wisdom and experience. You might also have similar experiences.

So, before you think to move on completely, let me give you some tips on how you can make things work, for your own sake, and reduce the gap. For example:

  1. Be Kind and warm: Certain gestures speak more than words. Offering help while your father struggles with technology or accounts, or language, etc., or greeting him while he leaves or comes back home, or just helping him with daily chores, you have a lot to express your urge to make things work. But remember, your father will need time to absorb the change, rework on his emotions and acknowledge your efforts.  So be patient and don’t expect any immediate changes.
  2. Convey your true feelings: Next step is to have a word with you dad on the situation. In a polite tone, ask him for his time and let him know how much you hate this awkwardness between the both of you. Tell him that you don’t want to worry on the time and moments wasted but cherish the time you both can enjoy together.
  3. Behave responsibly: I am sure you’d agree that your dad alone wasn’t at fault. Think about what happened in the past and take responsibility of your rude behavior and ignorance, even if that was unintentional. Tell him that you take responsibility of your bad behavior and don’t want to hold grudges anymore.

But, also remember that most of the Indian fathers are poor at expressing their feelings, thus, wait with a lot of patience. Eventually, if you don’t see a much of difference, you can still be nice to them without indulging too much and being content in your own circumference (this you’ll decide as I don’t know the level of complexities).

Let me know how things turned.

Best Wishes,

Yogesh Sood

PS- This blog is inspired by thoughts of Joseph Grenny which he shared on 26th Feb 2019.

Have similar questions? Submit your queries directly to Mr. Yogesh Sood at -



Yogesh is the founder and CMD of BYLD Group. BYLD is the largest group in the South Asian region, offering value-added services in HR, Leadership /Organizational Development, Business Operations, Manpower Staffing, Technology, and Executive Coaching. He leads the board of Indian operations of Blanchard Research and Training, Door Training and Consulting, VitalSmarts (LCPL), YOMA group and Aspectum Consulting, Finland. These organisations have expertise in complete organisational development and performance enhancement solutions, including Consulting/Training/Coaching. Yogesh is an alumnus of Harvard Business School and College of Executive Coaching USA. He founded the first ICF (International Coach Federation) chapter in South Asia in 2015.



Share FeedBack