I have heard very often how important a mother is to a child especially a young child. While this is true Dads are just as important to children and young children. I say Dad because any man can father a child, but it takes work to be a Dad to a child.
Because of the stereotype we have about men in our culture, Dads are often not considered that important. Because men work too much or don’t express emotions so they are not emotionally available to their children.
However, if we look at the stereotype it also demonstrates why Dads are important. Dads are the male role models to their sons. Dads teach their sons how to treat women, their wives and their children. They teach their sons how a man is supposed to act in a relationship.
Dads are also role models for their daughters. They see how Dad treats Mom and how their relationship works or doesn’t work. This teaches girls how they should expect to be treated by a man while dating and when married. If Dad was verbally and physically abusive, they expect their boyfriend or husband to treat them that way. It also often results in a girl having low self-esteem.
Boys look for validation from their Dads that they are doing a good job developing into an adult man. If their Dad is not emotionally available, many boys interpret this as they are a failure to their Dad and they become hurt and angry. Unable to express their emotional pain because men don’t express disappointment, they express anger. They project their pain onto others.
If we change our mind set and see how valuable a Dad is to kids then may be Dads can start meeting the emotional needs of their children and families. However, this requires men to take off the mask they have learned to live in.
I have a friend who was able to take of his mask and write a wonderful poem to his son. He wanted his son never to doubt how he felt about him and he wanted to make sure he shared it with his son. What a tremendous gift he gave to his son! Also what a fantastic role model he is being to his son about how to be a Dad.
I asked for his permission to print it here and he graciously said yes. I hope other Dads will read this and share a gift like this with their son or daughter. Also I hope it helps to eliminate the false stereotypes we have about Dads.
I never want this to go unsaid, about my son,
So here in this poem, for all to hear
There are no words to express how much you mean to me,
with a smile upon my face, and warm feelings in my heart, I must declare!
A son like you, always polite and full of joy,I thought could never be.
Since the day you were born, I just knew you were like a mini me,
from your first breath I knew,
God sent me a blessing- and that was you.
For this I thank him every day,
You are the true definition of a son, in every way.
Your kindness and caring with love for all,
you give my life meaning, for us to share.
Becoming your father has shown me a new sense of being.
I want you to know that you were the purpose of my life,
Turning everything I ‘am – into a happy place.
Always remember that I know how much you care,
I can tell by the bond that we share.
For a son like you there could be no other,
And whether we are together or apart,
Please do not ever forget-
You will always have a piece of my heart.
This is a fantastic example of a Dad!
Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist with 18 years experience working with children & teens. He is an expert in this area of treatment. For more information about his work or private practice visit his website at http://www.rcs-ca.com or follow him on Twitter @RubinoTherapy.