The importance of a father’s impact on his son cannot be underestimated. The father-son relationship is as important as it is underestimated in the successful development of a man, who becomes a partner, husband and parent himself.
For a lot of men in our culture, men are either physically absent, or emotionally absent. The problem is that a lot of men don’t have a clue about how to be emotional, or to use the tools that they don’t have to solve relationship or communication problems. With that inability to use the necessary tools to create and navigate successful relationships, men get into trouble, and then unconsciously pass down to their sons the things that creates problems for themselves.
One example of what I mean is the ability for men to connect to their anger. Men traditionally either explode in rage and anger to get what they want, or will internalize their anger, and let it turn into anxiety, depression and a host of other secondary problems. Depression and anxiety have other roots and causes, but interpersonally, anger is created a lot of times and then suppressed when our needs for love, affection, importance, to be seen, etc. are not met.
Men pass these things down to their sons, who then get modeled these ineffective and destructive ways of being in relationships. They learn to not meet their needs, quiet their voice, and generally suppress their various needs within a relationship and in their lives. To the extent that women are emotional beings, men could learn a thing or two about how to connect to and speak from their emotional pain.
Men can be good at doing the things that they do well: teach a kid how to fish, shoot hoops or change a tire. Men can be supportive of their sons, and provide a model in a lot of ways. Men can model being good fathers, but unfortunately, men don’t know how to model being a well-rounded man. A lot of our culture says that to be emotional is not ‘manly’, and is responsible for this, I believe. This is a problem, and a myth.
Until we accept that connecting to our emotional selves is not a bad thing, and is not “unmanly,” I believe we are only operating with half of our full selves. I think that it’s time to break the generational cycle that fails to hand down all the tools needed for personal and relationship success for men.
If you think you struggle with not having the right tools that you need for your relationship (for example, you don’t know how to communicate with your wife or girlfriend, or you avoid conflict at all costs), I ask that you contact me for an appointment at 602.309.0568.