I won’t wish you happy Father’s Day until it is one. Besides, Father’s Day is a false celebration.
It’s to balance Mother’s Day because otherwise it’s too obvious that we don’t value the role of fathers. We don’t even yet understand the role of fathers.
Dads are hugely important, but not even dads always understand how important. Men don’t even understand their role as fathers as fully as they should and can.
I’ve watched us grow as men, as dads. We’re very different now than the 1940s and 50s dad – pre-revolution era marginalized dads.
We’ve been poorly taught as boy-men in our cultural societies. Men became lost in their dominance, rippling our child abuse as children throughout history until now. It has been a violent world.
We began to awaken to the meaning of being a father, and a man, in the 1960s. Before that there were strictly defined roles, men worked, they were the “breadwinners” in a single-income family. The mother raised the children, she was a “housewife”.
There was no divorce. Women and children were the man’s property. Child abuse and spousal abuse were rampant. The violence in our families produced a lot of violence in our societies across all of time.
In a violent world, violence is adaptive. It was a violent world of trauma. We adapted.
We’re leaving the violence of our ancestors. They were insane in their Age of Kings & Empires, the ages of trauma and suffering they endured to reach this place for their children – us.
Men are reorienting now. Women are reorienting now. Cultures are encountering cultures. We are reorienting to our children. We are reorienting to what it means to be family.
Intact families, separated families, single-parent families, blended step-families, two-dad and two-mom families, all within a variety of cultural backgrounds of context, blending, shifting, growing, and evolving in contact.
Child abuse protection laws are recent. Our foster care system is nearly as abusive as the abusive home. Our education system is an abomination. We don’t value children. Not yet.
We don’t value fathers either. We try to, sort of, but we don’t. Not yet. Men and women are equal as parents – as moms and dads. Equality, what a concept.
There are four types of relationship in the family and they depend on the gender of the parent and gender of the child. Two are cross-gender relationships, father-daughter and mother-son, these are the high-affection bonds. Two are same-gender bonds, father-son and mother-daughter, these are the values and identity bonds.
Fathers and mothers are different for sons and daughters. Neither is replaceable by the other, neither is expendable, and both are of equal value to the child.
Equality, what a concept.
They’re different. Mothers and fathers are different because they can’t help but be different by their roles, one’s mom, and one’s dad. They do different things in different ways that only dads and moms can do – differently.
These four bonds are not replaceable by the other in the pair.
The same-gender father-son values and identity bond is not replaceable by the cross-gender high-affection mother-son bond. Dads and moms are different for their sons and daughters.
The father-daughter cross-gender high-affection bond is not replaceable by the same-gender values and identity mother-daughter bond. Dads and moms are different, they do different things for sons and daughters.
People are not replaceable. Dads are special and everyone only gets one dad. Moms are special and everyone only gets one mom. We don’t values moms. We don’t value dads. I wonder why that is?
We had it all worked out until recently, there were rigid gender roles we followed, and a strong religiosity in society to guide us so we’d all be the same or we’d be punished for being different than what we were told to be.
And no birth control pills. Don’t underestimate the powerful influence that birth control pills had upon the shifting social landscape in the last fifty years.
There were ‘rules’ and consequences in society to keep everyone in line with the rules set by the authority. Break the rules, and you’ll be punished.
But then that all got blown apart in the 60s. All the rules were broken. I remember. I was there. I watched it happen. Social rules were broken. It was excellent music.
It was a lot of fun too, except the part where the people died and stuff. There’s a solemn black marker in DC with names – names of people who died. Our parents were killing their children. They were insane from the traumas they experienced in WW-II and before.
WW-I and WW-II were tough times on the minds that were there. They carried those tough times within them when (if) they returned.
Things changed in the 60s, and by the 80s divorce became much-much more common as values changed toward increased authenticity and the need for love.
That fragmented the family. The single-income household vanished, and single-parent households appeared, as did blended families, and custody schedules of shared time with the child.
Every-other-weekend isn’t very much time for one parent, and equally shared time means a constantly shifting home-base for the child between two homes. Things were different.
A lot of things changed. We faced things we hadn’t faced before.
Men who have been brutalized into our gender-role were being set free as well. We were given token permission to love and be loved too. But not actually. We had to be men, strong, confident, and successful – and now soft and nurturing too. Expectations changed, yet didn’t.
The same can be said of women as they extended out into their roles, only different. Because men and women are different, equal and the same, but different in the way of things.
Men needed to find themselves outside of their gender-roles, just as women were also emerging from their gender-roles of the past to find their authenticity. Freedom for one brings freedom for the other, and it also requires a renegotiation from the authenticity of both… that can be challenging.
It’s a time of transition – bumpy – because we’re transitioning at some fundamental levels of us, who we are, and how we organize our world.
What’s it mean to be a father? A man? What do we teach our young boys as they become men about what it means to be a man, a husband, a father? What do we teach our daughters about what it means to be a man, a husband, and a father? What do we teach her about who she is and her intrinsic value of being?
Figure it out. That’s your job, dad. You’re the dad.
There’s no ‘rules’ anymore. You’re a dad, so whatever that is – that’s what it means. You define the role because you are the role. What does that role mean to you? Live into that role – because its you. You’re a dad.
They won’t allow that. I know. So it’s not yet a happy father’s day. I know that too. It’s okay, it’s not about days anyway, we’re not girls about the celebration stuff, we’re guys, but soft guys and it hurts all the time when we can’t be dads like we wanna be. I know that too.
So let’s do something about that to fix it, because we’re dads and that’s what dads do – fix things, especially when our kids need stuff fixed.
The family courts are in chaos because professional psychology has failed them. The field of forensic psychology, your own “special” psychologists just for you who don’t diagnose or treat pathology, is a failed experiment in service delivery.
A massively failed experiment.
Dads have found their voice through the challenges they’ve faced. Dads have come together in a common purpose – their children. Dads have called for equality – excellent. That’s exactly where we need to be.
Moms and dads are different – and equal to the child. That’s mom. That’s dad. Neither is replaceable. Neither is expendable.
Psychology is broken. We’ll need to fix psychology. Okay.
We need to end forensic psychology, it’s a failed experiment in service delivery. Okay. We’ll do that by holding them accountable, and we’ll just switch them out for clinical psychologists.
We need to get clinical psychologists here, the treatment psychologists, they need to come back. That will be Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT; Linehan) for the personality pathology, informed by the attachment therapy of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT; Johnson). Okay. Let’s get them over here.
We need to make it safe for them to return. Okay.
I’m a clinical psychologist working in the family courts, if they walk where I walk and step where I step, treatment not custody, they’ll be safe. That’s my job. I’m not unique, just the first to return.
I’m guy-wired because I’m a guy. I don’t talk round-and-round about problems. I like to do something about them to fix ’em… because I’m a man-dad guy and that’s how we’re wired… a kinda straight-ahead how do we fix things approach.
So that’s what I did. We’re on a linear path, we’re done with the round-n-round of fight-and-fight. We’re headed in a direction, and that direction is a solution so that every day becomes a happy father’s day and a happy mother’s day because that’s good for the child – a happy child day, and week, and year, and life.
Step-by-step. It is always the same information – the established knowledge of psychology – it is always the same request – a written treatment plan based on an accurate diagnosis. It is always the same ethical requirements, Standards 2.04 and 9.01, and failure in their duty to protect obligations.
Each time you educate the judge, you educate that judge for the next family too. Each time you hold a mental health professional accountable for incompetence, you clear away incompetence for the next family too.
Work for each other as you work for yourselves, fight for each other’s children as you fight for your own. You are not alone. You are more powerful than you know.
This is a marathon, not a sprint. Being dad is for a lifetime.
Do you know what I’d do if I were you? I’d talk to a special mom, I’d talk to Dorcy. She was that kid torn away and torn apart. She recovered with her dad, and then recovered a lot more kids with their moms and dads both.
She’s the most experienced professional over here at fixing things. I’d talk to her, and I’d listen. Get organized, get a plan, execute the plan.
You need a treatment plan. For that you need a diagnosis. You’ll need a local mental health person to diagnose (identify) and treat (fix) the problem (pathology).
I can serve as a second-opinion consultant through tele-health – hooray for the Internet. See? Solutions.
With Dr. C on one side and Dorcy on the other, and with you in the middle carrying the ball, let’s do this because it needs to be done, for all children everywhere.
Happy Father’s Day… pending completion of our current assignment… fix the family courts and child custody for all children everywhere. Okay.
Can you hand me that wrench.
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, CA PSY 18857