“Yes, Daddy Issues Are A Real Thing—Here’s How To Deal”
I’ve been thinking lately about my own experiences with being a dad. I’m not talking about the good old days when I was a kid or even now. No, what I mean is that it seems like there are so many things going wrong in our modern world right now that it would be nice if something were working perfectly well.
Like some sort of perfect storm of problems. And I think one of those problems is that men are increasingly becoming less involved fathers.
And I don’t just mean they’re not doing all the housework anymore; I mean they’re not really participating at all. They might be helping out around the house, but their primary role is still playing video games, watching TV and surfing the Internet.
It used to be that dads did all these things because they enjoyed them. But nowadays, they seem to feel like they need to escape into a virtual world from reality. (Well, maybe not entirely escape, but certainly disconnect.)
So why aren’t men taking care of themselves? Why isn’t the traditional model of masculinity being challenged by today’s women?
Well let me tell you why: Because it doesn’t make any financial sense! It makes no economic sense whatsoever.
Nowadays, men have to be well-rounded, and it isn’t just for their own sakes. It’s also because we need fathers who can help raise their children. Dads who can play an active role in their kid’s lives; being attentive, caring and loving; and most importantly present.
Why are people with “daddy issues” so common nowadays?
It’s almost like they’re the hot new trend.
The truth is that it isn’t a trend, but rather a long-term issue that’s only going to become more serious as the years go on. And it’s not just women who have daddy issues (and I don’t mean that in the colloquial way either). It’s everyone, and we’re talking about both men and women here.
Why does this happen?
Well, it’s a combination of things really. But at the root of it all is a combination of several issues, namely:
Parents who don’t know how to be parents
Parents who don’t want to be parents
Parents being complacent and uncaring about their children
There are many factors at play here. But in reality, it all boils down to one thing: We don’t want to treat our children with the respect that they deserve. If we did, we would care about them.
But what is it that we don’t treat them with respect?
We don’t give them boundaries. Children need a set of boundaries in order to become functional, well-adjusted adults. If you don’t set these boundaries for them while they’re growing up, they’ll go astray and not really have any idea of how to live their lives.
We don’t give them love. The old saying is that “actions speak louder than words.” However, it’s very true that if you’re going to express your love for someone in any way, you should do it verbally as well.
Otherwise, it can make things confusing for the other person. If you want your child to know that you love him or her, tell them.
We don’t give them attention. Your kids need your time and attention. Not just when you feel like it or when it’s convenient for you or even just because the law says you have to.
But because they’re your kids and they deserve it regardless of what you do for a living or who you are as a person.
We don’t give them consistency. Children thrive on routine. It makes them feel safe and secure to have things remain the same most of the time.
Introducing unpredictability to a child’s life can cause them to feel anxiety and fear. While some degree of this is normal, you shouldn’t purposefully try to scare the hell out of your kids just to get a laugh.
We don’t give them freedom. Now, I’m not saying that you should allow your children to do whatever they want no matter what. But there’s a difference between freedom with limits and no freedom at all.
Children need play time. They need to be able to explore and try new things even if they’re wrong sometimes. Most importantly, they need to learn from their mistakes; even if that means getting into trouble for doing the wrong thing.
We don’t give them education. I’m not just talking about book smarts either. I mean teaching our children life skills that they’ll actually use later in life.
For example, how to cook a healthy meal. How to clean things. How to do basic maintenance around the house. How to save and manage their money. How to interact with people from all different walks of life. There’s so much more that we should teach our kids before they head off into the “real world” all by themselves for the first time.
We don’t give them love and attention AND we give them too much freedom at the same time. So what happens is we end up with a bunch of kids that have no idea how to do anything except what they want, when they want, and we still don’t treat them like the small humans that they are. So then these kids grow up into “adults” who continue this pattern because hey, that’s just what they know and that’s what everyone else does too.
But why do I say we do too much?
Because in this day and age, kids are allowed to do almost anything. They talk back. They disrespect their parents and other adults. They disobey authority figures. They don’t respect their elders or people in general.
If you’re a parent reading this, ask yourself: “Am I treating my children like the little humans that they are?”
If the answer is no, then you NEED to make some changes immediately because your children will never succeed if you don’t.
Now, I’m not saying that you should drill the alphabet into their heads or that you should force them to clean their rooms. I’m not even saying you need to give them a 1,000 page book of instructions on what you want them to do and what you don’t want them to do.
Instead, I’m saying that you need to give them love and attention on a daily basis. This is your job as a parent, even if they’re disrespectful to you or say they hate you. You need to treat them with respect and love, and teach them that actions have consequences whether they like it or not.
Also, you need to be firm in what you want from them. This means laying down the rules, following up on those rules, and then rewarding them when they do what you’ve asked. It also means there MUST be negative consequences for breaking the rules.
Sadly, I’ve seen far too many parents (myself included in the past) give in and give up on parenting their children because it’s inconvenient or hard work. If you ask me, this is when the problems begin.
I always tell people: It’s not easy being a parent, but it’s also not supposed to be easy. In fact, it’s probably the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do in your life. However, this also means it’s one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do in your life.
That said, if you really want to raise strong, independent, and confident children then you need to stop doing for your kids what they can do for themselves and start teaching them how to do it on their own. It really is that simple.”
Chapter 2: The Kids Aren’t Alright
“Now here’s the thing. I’m not saying that the parents are at fault for all of the issues that our youth have. If anything, I’d say most of the issues come from the lack of parenting they get.
That said, I also believe there’s more to the story than just “bad parents” and “good parents.” There’s also something to be said about the effects technology have on our youth these days.
You see, I knew a boy once. Let’s call him Tommy. Tommy was in my grade growing up and he was a bit of an outcast (as most geeks tend to be) but he was a nice kid.
He was smart in school and decent when playing games with the other kids (he always chose to play the game correctly while others would cheat).
The thing is, I remember there was a time when he wasn’t that way. In fact, when we were in grade school, he wasn’t really a “geek” yet and was actually pretty social and somewhat of an instigator. He would get into trouble for minor things like pulling girls’ ponytails or stealing people’s… well everything.
In other words: He was a normal kid. He had his share of issues and problems, but nothing serious. Everyone kind of knew he was a bit of a troublemaker, but no one really minded too much.
Then we hit middle school and everything changed. Tommy started becoming withdrawn and keeping to himself. In fact, none of us really saw him anymore.
He was still in our classes and we knew who he was, but he just stopped interacting with anyone.
When we started high school, we would sometimes hear rumors about him.
You know, the usual stuff: “Did you hear that Tommy got arrested for stealing a car?”
or “I heard that Tommy got caught hacking into a government computer.”
Needless to say, this was very out of character for him. As I said, he was a pretty smart kid in school and, while I wouldn’t say I was the best influence on him, I don’t think the other kids in our class were either. So for him to go from minor troublemaker to criminal mastermind was a bit of a shock.
After high school, a lot of us lost touch with each other (as tends to happen), but I still kept an eye on Tommy out of curiosity. It seemed like every time I heard about him, he had done something else. Each incident was always worse than the last and it just didn’t make any sense to me at the time.
Now however, I believe I understand what was going on.
You see, I had a similar experience to Tommy. Not exactly the same, but it had the same effect on me. I was also a bit of a troublemaker in grade school and that continued into middle school.
However, when we hit high school, I started to withdraw and keep to myself.
I got really into the computer and would spend all my free time on it. Some people might say I became a “computer geek,” but frankly I just found it fun. Didn’t hurt that I also found it to be a relatively easy way to score good grades (I was a bit of a perfectionist).
Again, some of you might think that I just turned out to be a “computer nerd” but I still had friends and I still had fun. In fact, most of my time on the computer was spent with friends.
Yep, you see it now. That’s right. I was one of those kids too.
Just like Tommy, something about the way I was raised made me into the person I was today. My school years were pretty much devoid of the things kids that age want: Friends, fun, and acceptance.
Now here’s the thing; I’m not blaming my parents for this. They did the best they could under their circumstances. It’s just the way it was.
I’m sure if they had their lives to live over again, they would have done things a lot differently (and probably would have ended up in prison for killing each other).
What this all means though is, I think I can help Tommy. I know how he’s feeling and I know he’s not going to listen to anyone else. Yes, even if his parents or sister tried, he’d just shut them out.
I’m his best hope for getting through this.
I’ll try to explain it to him in a way he’ll understand. Hopefully, I’ll be able to reach him. If not…well, I guess I’m just going to have to be there for him in any way I can.
I never thought I’d ever have to do this for anyone. Then again, I never thought I’d ever lose someone important to me either. I think that’s why I’m taking this so hard.
It’s almost like I lost my sister all over again…
And that’s not a feeling I ever want to experience again.
Later that night…
I’m standing in front of the old abandoned house again. I can’t believe it took me this long to come back here. Guess it’s been a little busy for me what with dealing with my mom and all.
Then again, that was sort of the point of coming here in the first place.
I always felt a certain solitude when I was in this place. Kind of like I had my own place away from all the stress in the world. I guess that was part of the allure for me.
Not to mention all the good times I had with Sam back in the day.
I’ll never forget the first time I kissed her in this very spot. I had been planning it in my head for weeks and I was so nervous I nearly threw up. In fact, I can’t believe she didn’t notice how nervous I was since I’m sure it didn’t come off as natural.
I was probably a really bad liar at the time too since I gave everything away with my body language.
She still agreed to kiss me though.
I’ll never forget that either.
As I stand here though, I start to feel sadder. Not just for myself, but for Sam as well. Because I know she’s the one who really wanted to do all this.
She was the one who was going to become a doctor. I was just going to be some office drone, but she was going to make something of herself.
I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me before now, but I think her suicide has been affecting me more than I thought it had.
I guess my desire to isolate myself a bit is so I don’t end up like her…
Is that why I came back here?
I shake the thought out of my head. No, I’m not going to end up like her. I’m not. Even if I’m feeling down now, I’m not going to do what she did and throw it all away.
I take a deep breath and head towards the old house.
There are no ghosts here, but there are echoes of the past. I’ve always liked that saying. There are no ghosts here.
When I first came here with Sam, I was really scared by all the rumors I heard about the place. I was raised to believe that this was someplace haunted by demons and monsters and whatever else. I was so afraid the first time I came here, but Sam knew I liked mysteries and had a knack for getting myself into trouble. She said if I really wanted to be a detective like I told her I wanted to be, then I had to face my fears.
I always loved her for that.
She was such a good sister to me…
I open the door and close it behind me. I’m greeted by darkness, but I don’t bother turning on the lights. I know exactly where the light switch is and I don’t need it right now.
The memories of countless conversations I had with Sam are flooding back right now and I can’t stop them. It’s like my mind is somewhere else completely.
Are you sure we should be doing this?”
What, you’re scared of the dark?”
“No! I just…
I don’t know.”
You’re not afraid of ghosts or whatever rumors are going around about this place, are you?”
I shake my head, but that’s only because Sam can’t see it in this darkness. I AM afraid.
Sources & references used in this article:
Monologue as problem-solving narrative by CF Feldman – Narratives from the crib, 1989 – books.google.com
What got you here won’t get you there: How successful people become even more successful by M Goldsmith – 2010 – books.google.com
Dealing with difficult people by RC Lilley – 2006 – books.google.com
” Something’s Missing Here!”: Homosexuality and Film Reviews during the Production Code Era, 1934-1962 by H Mandel, J Young – 2010 – Bantam