By Reverend Paul N. Papas II
May 24, 2021
“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm, but the harm (that they cause) does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.” — T.S. Eliot This may be the way fathers act, but it is certainly not the way Dads act.
A lot goes into being a good Dad: Coaching of your partner through pregnancy and birth to bond to with your child is good. Learning to play with your infant even though he’ll never remember, is good. Counseling your teenage daughter about making smart choices is good.
Children are not helped, but rather hindered by the performance of mechanical acts of fatherhood. Being present is an empty suit without legitimately caring for your children and modeling good behavior. It does however model a bad parenting model.
Perhaps most importantly, Dads need to realize that their children are always watching, and that what they do matters. How well a Dad parents influences a child’s psychological, cognitive, and social development, and strongly steers them toward adulthood. How Dad and Mom disagree, discuss, argue, and then make up is important for children to learn things such as conflict resolution and the strength of the family unit.
Because Dads really do matter to their children’s present and future.
Depressed Dads can create emotional wounds in their children. Depressed Dads may be able to perform the mechanical acts of fatherhood. Dadhood requires an “all in” boots on the ground engagement with their children. Dadhood can’t phone in or mail in their vote of ‘present’. Dadhood requires boots on the ground, in the trenches engagement with their children.
Studies show mass shooters had difficult childhoods and took Ritalin. Not all who took Ritalin become mass shooters. Have you read the warning labels? Medication is no substitute for Dadhood. Some children appear to be ‘difficult” then get diagnosed with ADHD and fed Ritalin. Quite often the child is really screaming for boots on the ground, in the trenches engagement with dad. In addition, “American psychiatrist Leon Eisenberg, who was the “scientific father of ADHD” and who said at the age of 87, seven months before his death in his last interview: “ADHD is a prime example of a fictitious disease”” (1)
I have seen depressed Dads withdraw and pour themselves into their work resulting in a family in crises. I have also seen depressed Dads markedly improve by taking a break from work to focus on and truly engage with their children. Instead of focusing on their own depression they put their boots on the ground and jumped in the trenches and engaged with their children. The more anyone focuses on their depression, the more likely they will spiral downward into themselves. Each time depressed Dads exhibited Dadhood they shed some depression. This boots on the ground all in engagement can start by simply spending time with your children sitting or walking outside in the fresh air. This can work for depressed moms as well.
An effective way of teaching is to continually point the child back to foundational principles rather than to list a set of dos and don’ts. Positive reinforcement is very effective for seeing continued good behavior.
Children can be at a greater risk if Dads live a far distance from their children, for any number of reasons. In that case a Dad figure can fill the gap.
Jesus was raised by a step-dad and he turned out well.
Here are some well known symptoms of depression which can include any of the following:
- Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities, including sex
- Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling “slowed down”
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
- Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Low appetite and weight loss or overeating and weight gain
- Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
- Restlessness, irritability
- Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and pain for which no other cause can be diagnosed have been attributed to depression.
Here is a helpful source of information about Depression at the link below:
There are still many resources available to assist in becoming and remaining a Dad as fashioned as originally intended. Some of the most fulfilled Dads I know are the ones who put their boots on the ground, jump in the trenches and engage their children.
What have you got to loose, give it a try.