Happy Father’s Day. Sounds hollow, doesn’t it.
I’m a dad, so I’ve got all sorts of counter-transference stuff about dads, and the role of dads in the lives of our sons and daughters.
That’s what’s important to understand, this isn’t about a parent-child relationship – its more individual, and gender specific.
There are four primary relationships; father-son, mother-son, father-daughter, mother-daughter. Each of these is unique. Each is essential to the healthy emotional and psychological development of the child. None are replaceable.
Fathers aren’t replaceable by mothers, nor are mother’s replaceable by fathers – and sons are different than daughters – so all of these relationships are entirely unique unto themselves – and important.
With this family pathology surrounding divorce, we have fathers and mothers who want to love their children – but are being stopped from loving the child.
That’s not good – at all. Children need the love of their mother and from their father. That a father or a mother wants to love a child and can’t – that’s not a good thing at all.
That the child is saying, “I don’t want my father to love me” or “I don’t want my mother to love me” is just patently absurd and ridiculous. That anyone would believe the child when the child says they don’t want love from a father or mother is simply stupid. Weren’t they ever a child? Don’t they remember how much they wanted to be loved by dad? By mom?
I guess not. Which says a lot about their own childhood trauma doesn’t it, that they don’t remember how much a child wants to be loved by mom… by dad. Of course children want to be loved by dad, all children.
Even though this is father’s day, I’m including moms in the discussion, because it’s not a gender thing, even though it is. Moms support dads, and dads support moms. That’s the way it’s supposed to work.
I know that’s not the way it’s working in all of your families, but it’s the way it’s supposed to be – moms support dads and dads support moms. So with us, in our community of parents – that’s what we do.
Kinda like St. Patrick’s day, when everyone become Irish even though you’re not actually Irish. Well, same thing. On mother’s day we all become mothers, and on father’s day we all become fathers – through our love – through our love for our own fathers, through our love for our spouses, through our love for our sons who are fathers, or who will be fathers someday.
Same thing on mother’s day. We are united with our moms, and wives, and daughters, because that’s what love does, it unites us and brings us together.
I’m a dad. I certainly stand with dads today, in your grief, and in your struggle. Because I know you’re fighting for your kids. Of course you are. You the dad.
Dorcy has a wonderful story about her dad showing up at a track meet to watch her run in High School. At first she was angry, but as she made her laps around the track, she began to wonder more about why he continued to show up, even though she was so mean to him. It’s an important story from the voice of the child – continue to show up.
Your kids are lost and confused right now. We’ll help them rediscover their authenticity. No worries. We’re standing together – moms and dads, and now-adult children too – to bring an end to separations and grief, and to restore love in father-son bonds, father-daughter relationships (mother-son, and mother-daughter). With moms too. That’s what dad’s do, we support moms.
We stand in one voice. Today, we acknowledge the absolute central importance of a father in the life of his son, and of a father in the life of his daughter.
That others in professional psychology and the courts don’t see – well, they are bad people doing bad things. A child receiving love is always a good thing.
Separating children from a parent’s love is not a good thing. Not good at all.
I know your heart breaks. I’m not a separated dad, but mine does too, for you. And for your kids. We’re working on it. Dorcy and I are doing everything we can to bring this to an end as fast as we can. Even for the parents of now-grown children… and for all future parents who will face the pathology of an ex-spouse surrounding divorce.
Dads, we stand holding you today with love, and every day, all us other dads and moms too. You are not alone in your struggle to simply love your child. Bad people are doing bad things, it’s not your fault. We know that.
And dads… you’re more than a dad too. You’re a full and rich and complicated human who deserves your life. Don’t let the trauma captivate you. If your kid’s in quicksand, it doesn’t help for you to jump into the quicksand too, then there’s just two people in quicksand and in need of rescue.
Stand on the solid ground of your emotional health and center, then throw the kid a rope so they can climb out. Continue to show up, I know its hard to endure the supposed rejection – supposed. It’s not authentic. We’ll work toward recovering authenticity. It’s just buried, we’ll find it.
In the meantime, find your authenticity and joy. You’re important. We know the sadness, and you have the right to be happy too. It’s okay to feel happy. You are a dad, and more. Be a dad, love, be there, do what you can right now. And be more, be you.
Moms, give a big shout out to these dads of love and suffering. Moms support dads, dads support moms. It’s what we do.
Your kids love you. No worries on that. We’ll help them rediscover their authenticity. Oh, and get hug. You need a hug. Somebody give that guy a big hug.
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857