It’s clear that the link between parents and children is emotionally very strong. Usually those emotions are positive but sometimes they are negative. There is no doubt, however, of the remarkable and undeniable link.
Child/parent conflict often arises because of a lack of communication resulting in misunderstanding. There are good men who are poor fathers, usually for that reason. But there are very few ‘bad’ men who are good fathers. Strangely, some irresponsible men have better relationships with their kids because they are “good-time Charlies”, looking to be friends or to impress - not willing to be firm, have standards, or to guide their children. These irresponsible men can breed irresponsible children. They pick up the bad habits or questionable values demonstrated by their fathers.
Good men who struggle with fatherhood can be better fathers with a little help. All they have to do is to ask someone or pick up a book and be open to the possibilities. I consider myself a good man, but I think back to things I did incorrectly or didn’t do well which occurred out of simple ignorance. The most dangerous ignorance is the ignorance of not knowing you are ignorant, as in unaware.
Men don’t ask questions about directions or how to parent. It’s just how most of us are hardwired. It takes an awareness of men to realize this deficiency and acceptance of the fact that we don’t know everything. It’s okay! No one does.
Give yourself and your kids a break. Don’t assume you are a wonderful dad just because you don’t hear complaints, or don’t believe the complaints when you hear them. Think about what you’re doing once in a while – as a father. It couldn’t hurt and it can certainly help.
“The Power of Dadhood”, i.e. your Dadhood, works both ways, for good or for bad. Use your power wisely!
Michael Byron Smith
* Bureau of the Census