I have to admit that over the last couple of years, young (in terms of age) fathers have come a long way in terms of their attitude towards psychotherapy, demanding to become more and more involved in the whole process, to ask for help and advice (which is quite uncommon, based on the experience I have had so far, as it was usually the case that mothers
seemed more eager to attend, to help, to be more active…). And I have come to the conclusion (which has not been measured scientifically, of course) that there is an increasing number of fathers who would really like to develop a closer relationship with their children. And that is usually because they wish to break the pattern that existed in their nuclear family; that is they, themselves used to have very distant or even no relationship with their own fathers… Therefore, their own previous experience has been so profound and “traumatic” at times,
that they take every necessary action against repeating the same kind of behaviour and attitude. They are concentrated on how they could promote a closer attachment to their children, as they are afraid that they might unconsciously make the same mistakes, or even worse, they are afraid that they haven’t got the skills, since they hadn’t had a similar experience, to imitate, to relate to!
Fortunately enough, they have realised that through the psychotherapeutic process, they are able to acknowledge previous patterns, become more conscious of their current behaviours and focused on the result they are aiming to achieving; that is to build consistently more solid and close relationships with their children. Initially, it seems as a rather long, nerve racking experience, but as time goes by, fathers become more and more confident about themselves and about their true and honest intention to learn new skills, new attitude in life, for example nurturing their children, being able to express verbally their emotions, etc. In effect, they are aiming at “adopting” mother’s affectionate behaviour, only to
adjust it to their own standards, as at times, fathers has seen the effect this behaviour has on their children. They feel better at ease, understood, appreciated and loved. .
Sometimes though, what most fathers have not understood, is the fact that, they need to apply a “individually tailored” kind of behaviour, depending on the children’s needs; that is, it is the father’s responsibility to use appropriate type of behaviour or language when interacting with their kids, as opposed of expecting the children to grow up and get into their shoes! Otherwise, the father’s effort seems to go to waste! For example, I have heard a father complaining about his 4 year old daughter, who seemed to fly off to her mom, every time he would tell her a story, because (what dad had not realised was that) the vocabulary was too difficult for her to understand!!!
Another example is when the father is behaving rather clumsy and child inappropriately. For example, instead of expressing how the father really felt about his son, (which made dad feel uncomfortable)… he would make negative comments about him, yelling at him, basically stating the exact opposite!
Therefore, I would like to congratulate fathers, for being there, for caring, (sometimes in their own “unique” way…) for wanting to learn from their mistakes, for setting the
right example for their children, but most importantly for wanting to make the most of their time with their children. Fathers are greatly wanted and definitely needed!
Happy father’s day to all of you!.