Growing Challenges of Fathering Issues
Do you feel as if you often become stuck in your relationship with your children?
Don’t you wish your kids came with a “how to” manual for parenting? From infants, to toddlers, to adolescence, all aspects of life come with evolving challenges. As you experience your children learning new lessons in life, does it seem as if they are in a place where they either do not need you or nothing you can say is right? I’m sure you have a lot of frustration centered around wanting to be a good father, but just cannot seem to avoid exploding in anger or even isolating yourself from the family. Maybe it feels like your partner doesn’t support your parenting style, often resulting in explosive arguments.
What does a positive father figure look like?
Have you ever felt forced by your father or society to be a “real man?” Maybe you had an abusive father or no father at all. Maybe you grew up thinking that you’re going to be a better dad than yours was to you, but now find yourself struggling and making some of the same mistakes. How do we do it? Do we act out in rage? Do we act out in anger? Do we show multiple signs of depression? Maybe what we do as men is we chose to isolate from everyone else through substance use or even through video games or television. Often, what goes unrecognized to us as men are societal constraints, often used as expectations, that stop us from actually being the father we want to be.
Why is parenting so difficult?
I cannot speak for the women out there, but speaking for the men is something I can do because I am passionate about helping men see the power of vulnerability in relationships. I too had to learn how to be a parent, a father, and a man with little to no teaching from male influences in my early childhood. Fortunate for me, I had great women in my life who lead me to discover great men who have fathered the boy inside, and afforded me the opportunity to explore male relationships. These relationships have not been without their damages and wounding that often rose to the surface. What draws men to look for and bond to other men, but fail to meet the needs of their own children? What about our own needs as men?
So, you had a bad example of a father, now what?
There is actually more hope out there than you might imagine. Many, many men simple say, “I had a worse father than my children … they will turn out ok!” In actuality, children are pretty resilient, but how will you manage to go on knowing the wounding your father created in you is being created in your children? You also probably think just because you are not as mean as your dad, then your children will just magically be better. This is known as a fallacy. In order to make certain your children are unscathed in adolescence, it actually takes what I call ‘intentional communication’ with them, and maybe a little faith they’ll turn out ok. Learning how to effectively express your parental dreams to your children can be part of the healing language they may need to hear.
There is no reason we have to pretend as if we have all the answers to fathering.
Fathers who come to me for support look for encouragement in their parenting techniques, but are often thwarted by their partners. Additionally, many men express a desire in learning how to:
– stop shaming their children
– stop blaming their children or spouse
– how to show emotions related to family without feeling as if they are weak and insignificant
These challenges are not so easy to accomplish. It takes courage, commitment, and continual reach for support through your family. All of this can be done as we engage deeper in the process of psychotherapy. With men, I listen intently to their story and try to offer supportive, empathy that honors their journey thus far. When men feel supported by another individual, true inner work begins.
Son. Husband. Father. Psychotherapist.