One large mistake that many fathers make with their sons is…

In a post from a couple of weeks ago I had written that many parents of today had lost touch with what is happening around them concerning the attitudes of many of our adolescent children. Physically they are growing much faster than we ever did. Unfortunately this fact has been translated into a belief that they, our kids, should be able to do what adults do much and do it sooner. Afterall, people keep telling them that they are grown up now so they had better start acting like it. For the most part many are just not equipped, in an emotional, mental and an experiential sense, to make healthy adult type decisions around relationships, parenthood, their personal behaviour and alcohol use. They don’t seem able to deal with the ramifications of those choices when the stuff hits the fan either. Many young men are challenged to own the outcomes and with no strong, healthy male role model in their midst these fatherless sons struggle with the learning aspect of maturing. Think about how many parents today make excuses for their kids and try to place blame on others for what their kids have brought on themselves. Talk to a teacher when you have the time to see what I mean.

Some social scientists are estimating that 40% of families are likely to split up at some point. Dads are likely the ones to walk away for a variety of reasons some of which are well founded but many more which aren’t. The ensuing tragedy is created when they leave their sons and daughters behind to survive on their own with mom trying her best to keep it all together. Many dads, however, only offer or provide minimal input or support as fathers. Some of this is about legalities. Some is frustration but most of it is anger oriented. In any case while the parents are struggling to stay ahead of each other in the anger and resentment departments the kids, most often the sons, are the ones who are without an important spiritual, emotional, mental and physical support and influence. The fathers of the sons are the ones, for the most part, who are looked to for this and who are needed the most and they are not there.

Now the one big mistake that many of those fathers who do decide to have contact with their sons make is that they become dictators and rulers of the ‘realm’. This often occurs out of a sense of guilt, shame, anger, a need to re-establish some control or feeling that, because the son has jumped the rails, Dad feels he is responsible in some way. Meanwhile Junior is acting out by quitting school, starting to use alcohol or drugs, perhaps experiencing a few more meet and greets with the police, perhaps hanging out with other guys who don’t have a great deal to get up for in the morning. Maybe he is exhibiting a disrespect for himself. Over the top tatoos, disinterest in personal hygiene or not respecting other people and their property would be some indicators. When dad recognizes this or is made aware of this happening he feels as though a strong hand is needed where there hasn’t been one and he becomes a dictator and a ruler instead of understanding more about what the son is trying to tell him. Dad needs to be a teacher not a ruler and if he doesn’t understand the difference he needs to learn what that is from some other men who can help him. Young men don’t just act out in negative ways because they want a change. It is usually a signal or a statement of some kind that they are in trouble and they need to make sense out of what is happening around them. Things are changing so quickly that it is hard for them to keep up with the expectations made of them. Serious questions loom on their horizons. Things like will they be able to get a job? What will they do? Will they have a family, can they be a good parent? What does that mean? Who is going to look after them when they fall down? Dad isn’t there now so who will show me what I don’t know? The list goes on. They feel the world is moving on without them and they don’t know how to jump on board. For many, hopelessness sets in and they give up trying to make sense of anything except what goes on today. One thing for sure though is if you push them–if dad tries to be ‘the only voice to be heard’ then junior will surely push back and now you have a whole other type of ball game going on. It is one that will have no winner. Junior needs a parent-not a dictator to guide him and he needs a teacher not a ruler to mentor him.

That’s the way I see it, anyway


If you agree or disagree with what I’ve written please let me know. If you can forward this to as many of your friends as possible I’d appreciate it–with thanks

1 thought on “One large mistake that many fathers make with their sons is…”

  1. Jim, Thanks for your insight. You touched on one particular issue that I believe is at the core, along with other things, that being the shirking of responsibility. This starts with seeing dear old dad blame all of his problems on others. “It’s my boss, it’s my coworkers, mommy fault (but don’t tell), blame, blame, blame. This mentality has even reached into the highest office in the land. It’s a cultural shift that can only be re-shaped in the home.


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