An insightful comment came to me from a reader of my article last week about the secret of becoming a real dad. This person put ideas into words that I’ve heard expressed many times as people react to my Real Dad premise about what a man must do to create happy and highly productive children.
One of the comments I received said that two points are valid…
- “Though it is true our father and mother impact us a great deal as children, we cannot blame our parents for our current failures…” (I agree!) I’ll explain more in a moment…
- “We have to take responsibility for the adult choices we make.”
(I totally agree with this also.)
I openly admit that I believed the same thing for many years. I would make comments to others when the subject came up. “Well, you know you can’t blame your parents for all your troubles. You’ve got to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps and make something of your life.”
General statements sound good and seem like common sense but they are vague. We still don’t have a solution. The Real Dad message is aimed at creating a solution.
What I was trying to do with the Real Dad article is give fathers a target or goal that they can strive to achieve. That target is the simple definition of a Real Dad.
I hope you didn’t get the wrong idea about the Real Dad article simply placing 100% of the blame on fathers….that was not my main objective.
Blaming someone for your pain is something that people do to gain a sense of relief when they know they’re wrong but can’t seem to change what they do.
The Real Dad message says that what your father did or didn’t do doesn’t matter any more. It’s history. There’s nothing you can do to change your past.
So should your father be blamed for dumping his bad values on you? What good would it do?
Since your father can’t repair the damage he did, placing blame on him is only a temporarily emotional relief that will quickly wear off. And where does that leave you? That’s right. Back to square 1 – stuck with your emotional pain once again.
Bottom line? Don’t blame your dad for what he did back in your childhood. He did what he did based on what he knew at the time. (Actually, what he learned from HIS father.)
The Roles of a Mother and Father
The mother creates a child’s emotional make-up, shows concern for feelings and is tuned into emotion. Compassion, wisdom and education are her first concerns.
The father has a very different role in the first ten years of a child’s life. He will work on the outside of the child. He will work on behavior – his children’s actions.
Mothers = focus on inside emotions and create outside social skills.
Fathers = focus on outside behavior and create inside emotional security.
The definition of a Real Dad accurately portrays exactly how he must raise a confident and successful child….
A Real Dad will be consistently tough but fair. He will take a genuine interest in the challenges, opportunities and joys of that child, while treating this particular child as a unique individual.
Our society has put all the weight on mothers to be the emotional foundation for children and if the kids turn out troubled, we tend to look at the mother with our first suspicion.
But fathers? Our world thinks of them as what they were before the 1960’s, minus any respect they might have won. Fathers are just the bread winners. They might be called providers, but with half of all women working, not even that seems to give them much respect.
This is the reason why fathers need to hear these two messages…
- You are desperately needed in your child’s life because it is you and you alone who will determine how emotionally secure that son or daughter is as an adult.
- You must focus on one single definition that will keep you going in the right direction as you raise your child, the future of our society.
The more anger or fear a child has in the first ten years of his or her life, the more trouble they are or have today. Those first 10 years determine if the child will be an asset to our society or if they will become a liability.
(Note: I will be referring to the first ten years of a child’s life as the most important throughout this article because that’s when the child’s brain is first forming. The child absorbs everything around him/her and this shapes his/her way of life as an adult.)
If a son has a strong temperament at birth, a troubled father who is abusive will cause him to live with angry emotions for the rest of his life. As you might expect, that angry son becomes an angry man who causes trouble for all of us who surround him.
Then there are the fearful children. These are the softer natured children who deal with their fears by running away. If a son has a softer nature at birth, a trouble father who is abusive will cause him to live with fear for the rest of his life.
Again, you can expect that this fearful son will cause trouble, not for others, but for himself as he keeps running from what he perceives to be dangerous situations…a job with more responsibility, a larger new home, a new circle of friends, etc.
How we can bring this message of positive parenting to the people who need to hear it…
Every day I work with parents who have troubled marriages. They come to me because they are in danger of getting a divorce. They are angry and blaming each other and they have no ability to fix what is wrong.
I get involved with couple after couple and hear the story of their troubled fathers in every case. Remember how troubled fathers = troubled children?
There is only one kind of person who is an exception to this rule. I call them the “buckers”.
These are the people who grow up with a troubled father and decide with great determination that they will go the absolute opposite way and work hard toward creating a better life. Most buckers do succeed, though with some side effects of quirky behavior.
I call them “Buckers” because they are “bucking” their father’s value system. They create a life of their own with new and improved POSITIVE values. (This goes for women also.)
Unfortunately, most sons of troubled fathers are not “Buckers”. The purpose of my Real Dad article is to reach men and simply let them know that:…
- You are desperately needed in your child’s life because it is you and you alone who will determine how emotionally secure your son or daughter is as an adult. Your wife is not wired to do it.
- Focus on the Real Dad definition. It will keep you going in the right direction as you complete this important job of raising a confident and successful child who will contribute to our nations’ future.
So please, spread the word to the men you know about what a Real Dad is and why it is important to become one. I do not want to put emphasis on BLAMING fathers, but instead on what we can do to stop the vicious cycle of troubled fathers creating troubled children.