Sunday, 6 March 2011

Absent fathers

Psychologists claim that the rise in teenage drinking and other such maladies is mostly due ot the fact that there are no male members (i.e fathers) in the average household any more. Absent fathers apparently influence vulnerable teens into a whole heap of trouble. I don't believe the answer is so simplistic and errant fathers are not wholly blameworthy. 

From my own experience, fathers are usually absent. In fact, I don't know of many who want to be present and involved. Parental responsibilities interfere with many a male activity - sports / video games / internet / couch surfing / tinkering with the car / drinking / socialising etc. Very few of these actually contribute to being a positive role model (especially if the children don't have similar interests). Long after progeny is produced , the male ego massaged (from begetting a minature look-alike) and the cooing stage has subsided it's a different picture.
Men just don't know how to be fathers and some are too stubborn to learn!

My father was a male presence (he never left us and many times I wish that he had!) but he was rarely emotionally present. I was the only daughter in a family of four and I barely warranted much attention. - never the proverbial Daddy's girl!  Daddy was engaged in cussing his "burdens" to spare a thought for nurturing.
Sorry seems to be the hardest word
Emotional neglect leaves far greater scars.....from the tears on your pillow every night to the wanton search for a man to love. I spent a lifetime looking for a father's love and, in my maturity, I can safely say that I did not find it.

 I did marry but, over time, my significant other started to display many of the negative traits common to my father (and other abusers). I refused to live in this state of disaffection, as my mother had, and divorce was inevitable.

Others in a similar situation empathise. My cousin  (now a grandmother) once told me that her father only showed her any affection whenever she made him a cup of  tea (and that was with a little emotional coercion: "be a good girl and....".

A girl with an absent father (before she becomes womanly wise) fantasises about a male figure who will worship and adore her. This  train of thought only serves to set her up for men who see her as a soft target. A boy with an absent father develops an inner rage, often manifested in his own realtionships as cruelty and indifference. Poor parenting (as a giver and receipient) is at the heart of the problem and it takes a strong person to fight against their inner conditioning.

Absent fathers are a depressing statistic. Abusive and neglectful fathers, who are present, fare no better.

Society has not addressed the issue of helping fathers be present. Parenting is a tough job and many (of both sexes) are just not up to the mark. Daughters and sons need different types of fathering. Each of your children has a unique personality and individual emotional / psychological needs. To be a parent takes a variety of skills -counsellor, mentor and critical friend - but who counsels the counsellor? Who supports the parent when the parent is taking care of business?

An absent father is no bad thing. It's far better to leave a relationship / family out of honesty  than remain dishonestly. Children just want love and, for some fathers, love is leaving them with the truth.

Just like a flower, I'm growing wild



















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