The Role of a Father in a Young Man’s Life

In my previous article, I wrote about divorced fathers and their children.

I put across some really important research that helps you know and understand just how vital your presence, as a father is, in your child’s life now and way into the future.

I am writing this new post after watching an episode of Dr Phil in which he is dealing with a family where dad is…not being very nice to put it extremely mildly.

Dad, in this episode seems to be completely oblivious to what the role of a father truly entails.

His behaviour, words and actions are absolutely destroying his children and the sad thing is he doesn’t seem to see it.  He just doesn’t seem to know or realise what he is doing to his children.

In this episode, Dr Phil has invited Dr Zimbardo, a well known and very, very experienced psychologist and author of The Demise of Guys, onto the show and after listening and watching for a while this is what Dr Zimbardo had to say about our young men and boys following his research findings.

Very scary…

“One of the things we have discovered is that boys are failing. Boys are really dropping out of life. They are failing academically, socially and when they get to be men, they are failing sexually. And we have identified some of the reasons, some of the culprits:

  •  It’s excessive isolation of playing of video games. They become addictive.
  • It’s excessive isolation watching pornography online which is addictive 
  • The absence of fathers.

40 – 50% of all boys in America are growing up without a father, from divorce, from separation, from father’s being absent and boys need fathers more than girls need fathers. Girls get what they would need from mothers.

Boys need guidance, they need boundaries, they need motivation, they need role models…

To have an abusive father is worse than having no father.

To make somebody feel that he is worthless, to undercut his sense of mastery, of course he’s going to fail. You never, every undercut their sense of self-esteem…because what you’re doing is destructive. You are harming them psychologically and even physically.”

So if you’re an absent father or an abusive one then know what it is that you are doing to your children.

You’re not just hurting them now, in this present moment, you are harming for them for life.  You are changing who they are and getting them to be who they shouldn’t be.

You can change that.  It’s never too late to repair the damage caused.  Start with the small things.  Become aware of how destructive your words and actions are and don’t feel too big to apologise and make it right.  Admitting that you didn’t do the right thing by your child or children is one of the first and most important steps you can take in this healing journey.

You, as the father may have had an abusive relationship with your own father.  You may have been a victim of hurtful and soul destroying words and actions and it’s true what they say, you cannot give what you don’t have.  But once you know that this had been your own journey, is it not time to fix it?

As Dr Phil puts it in the show:

“We have an old saying in Texas that sometimes you have to rise above your raising.

You maybe raised by people that aren’t doing a very good job but there’s a point in which you’ve got to rise above your raising. You’ve got to say, “you know what, that’s just something I’ve got to do.” That’s just something I’ve got to do on my own.

Sometimes, the sad fact is that we have to give ourselves what we wish we could get from somebody else.

And you may have assumed some kind of a role and you can sit around and say, “Well the guy that could have picked and lifted me up didn’t,” and I’m sorry that that’s your experience of him. But you are firstly approaching adulthood and you’ve got to give yourself permission to believe in who you are because the more you know who you are, the less vulnerable you are to what other people tell you who you are.”

So yes, know, accept and realise that that has been your journey into manhood.  Rise above it and get to know you who you are, who you truly are.

Do you?


And here’s Dr Zimbardo’s talk –


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