THE ’10 MOST IMPORTANT GIFTS’ THAT A FATHER CAN GIVE HIS SON was designed to provide fathers who want to either remain in their son’s life while not being physically or emotionally present or to become a part of his son’s life after leaving the family for any variety of reasons. I know–easier said than done. That’s exactly why I created this simple, straightforward and workable approach to re-creating or re-establishing a healthy 2-way relationship between father and son. Is this easy? No it’s not. Does it always work? No it does not. A great deal depends on how the separation or the estrangement happened in the first place. It also depends on how interested either party is to working on building a new and healthy relationship. If both sides don’t want the same thing then it is a much more difficult proposition.
If you, as dad, ‘walked’ away then it will be up to you to begin to make it right. If ‘Junior’ moved away,either emotionally or physically, as sometimes happens, it will be up to you, as a father, to make the move to reconcile the relationship and to address all of its flaws. You are the parent. You are the one with the knowledge and the experience to know how to do this. If you don’t know how to do this then you will need to learn how to do this. This 10 point program outlined below can go a long way to help you in this regard. Remember that ‘Junior’ just didn’t decide one day to give up on the relationship. I have studied this father/son relationship for many years and all I know about them tells me that sons want nothing more than to have a father teach them what they need to know about how to live as a man in the world today. The social scientists tell us that sons crave their fathers’ attention, acceptance and to be proud of them. For him to leave meant that, in some regard, the situation became intolerable and unbearable for him. This explanation is not meant to blame anyone for what happened but it needs to be understood on some level in order for the solutions to begin to piece the relationship back together again can become more apparent. Simply put–Most times relationships fail because one or both of the folks involved weren’t getting their needs met and after several efforts to rectify the short comings one or both sides just gave up on the deal and everything fell apart after that.
As with most relationships, reconstructing a relationship is very difficult and time consuming work but with patience, honesty and perseverance they can be reborn. Below is an outline of how to do this and where to start. Rebuilding a broken relationship not depend on an ‘event’ but rather following a process. The ’10 Gifts Program’ is built with that belief in mind.
It doesn’t take luck–it does take skill, patience, love and a willingness to see the world differently–all the best–Jim
“I talk and talk and talk, and I haven’t taught people in 50 years what my father taught by example in one week”
10. A son needs his father’s time. It needs to be sincere and uninterrupted.
9. A father needs to learn how to listen. He needs to be quiet, not offer judgments and not to be critical of what he hears.
8. Be a father and a teacher not a dictator.
7. A son needs to be shown and to hear that he is loved and valued-that love does not have conditions attached to it.
6. A father needs to make sure that his son feels connected at all times. A son needs to know he has a place at the family table.
At this part in the process, hopefully, a sense of trust is beginning to grow. It may have taken 6 months or a year to get here. It doesn’t matter how long it has taken but rather that each can feel a reduction in the stress, anxiety, discomfort and/or the anger that was present when the process began. The important part, then, is that a sense of trust is more of a possibility and has begun to grow. If either father or son hasn’t experienced a positive change in the relationship (you’ll know it when it is real) then go back and start again. IT won’t take near as long this time around. The likelihood is that either father or son is not quite ready to give what the process needs to be successful. If it’s time to continue then start in at #5
5. A father needs to be sure he is presenting himself as a father and not a friend. What his son needs now, more than ever, is a father role model in his life not another friend. He’s likely got lots of friends. What he needs is a parent to role model healthy and appropriate behavior and to provide some clarity around issues that come up that challenge him around his identity as a man in the world and the need to be respectful of others rights to make their decisions which may not be in sync with his.
4. A father needs to be able to say ‘NO.’ It is a complete sentence. However, if dad needs to say ‘NO’ then he also needs to explain his reasons for saying ‘NO’. This is how his son will learn about boundaries and the value of consequences concerning decision making. It also helps his son learn about his father’s value system and what he stands for. ‘NO’ can be a valuable teaching tool.
3. A father needs to help his son know and understand the importance of tolerance and acceptance of other people regardless of race and gender.
2. A father needs to impress upon his son the importance of competing for what he wants or believes to be his truths. He needs to understand that competing and wanting to win are very important aspects of transitioning from boyhood to manhood. It’s OK to win. It’s OK to be the best at something and to be acknowledged for that accomplishment. Not everyone ‘gets a prize just for coming out. There are no free rides–hard work is necessary to be successful. However, a son also needs to learn how to accept both victory and defeat with dignity and respect for all those others who compete as well.
1. A father needs to provide his son with an opportunity to experience a rite of passage ceremony of some kind. The ceremony is held in the company of other men and those significant others who are deemed important. It marks the acceptance of a son into the realm of manhood by those other men who have done ‘their work’ and recognize that the son is now ready to accept the responsibilities of conducting himself accordingly with regards to his family, his home, his community and his peers.
If you have any questions or comments please contact me through this web site. Just click on the ‘contact’ page and following the easy instructions. Thank you for your interest and your efforts–James