LIFESTYLE
28/05/2014 13:58 BST | Updated 04/06/2014 06:59 BST

How To Tell Your Dad You Love Him (Without Actually Saying Those Words)

Troels Graugaard via Getty Images

If you're slightly nervous about telling your dad you love him on Father's Day, you're not alone.

A recent survey by Wilkinson Sword revealed that 43% of us think we should say those three words more often, while almost a quarter admitted to never saying 'I love you' at all.

But why have our relationships with our fathers' stalled?

Surely in this emotionally literate age, it should be the parents who are scared of expressing their emotions, not their younger, more self-aware children?

Psychologist Anjula Mutanda explains: "There is a lot of love for dads, however, these results identify how awkward and uncomfortable Brits can feel when it comes to actually directly telling their dads that they love them.

"Young children generally tend to express love and affection towards their parents more freely but, from the pre-teens onwards, the hugs and the 'I love yous' between parent and child can diminish.

"As time goes by, we can then fall out of the habit of saying 'I love you'. The longer this goes on, the more avoidant we can become."

But the good news, says Anjula, is the more we say 'I love you', the easier and more natural it becomes to express it.

"We not only ditch the awkwardness, but also get to show dads real appreciation, which makes them feel good."

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Just google the phrase 'How can I show my father I love him?' and you'll soon find out how widespread this problem appears to be.

You'll also discover that there are many men with children who are struggling to express their own feelings of paternal affection.

In a beautifully insightful HuffPost blog, Roland C Warren points out four key lessons that any dad should learn.

:: "Does my child know that he matters to me?"

:: "Does my child know that I love him?"

:: "Does my child know that what he does is important to me?"

:: "Does my child know how proud I am of him?"

Warren suggests that a dad (particularly in the case of father-son relationships) must habitually reaffirm these points, if he wants to create a long-lasting bond.

So if you're struggling with emotional intimacy, it could be time for both you and your dad to put some work in.

Here is a selection of simple tips to help strengthen your relationship -- and perhaps put you and your father in a safe space to say those three special words.

7 Ways To Tell Your Dad You Love Him