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Dads and showing affection, or lack of, for sons

(10 Posts)
jamie000 Tue 15-Oct-13 09:27:51

When I was very small (not 22 I promise!) my dad made it clear to me he did not want to be called daddy and that holding hands was also not for him, nor hugs, chatting or silliness. He would sometimes talk about politics tho, and do stuff like fix my bike etc... i.e. he was there, but in a distant way. He was like this until I was an adult, when suddenly he became quite 'pally' which I found odd and immensely grating. I rarely see him now, and although i feel guilty, there is nothing there that is fatherly, and I don't want a mate, even tho somehow I feel both sorry for him and angry at him.

Ring any bells for anyone?

cakehappy Tue 15-Oct-13 13:26:50

Doesn't ring any bells, but sounds really really painful snd confusing to deal with as a childsad Your dad doesn't sound like he was a good father in many ways. I would be really upset with him, have you ever spoke to him about it?

Venushasrisen Tue 15-Oct-13 13:45:44

Try to find out about his childhood, are there any of his siblings you can ask, you can't turn the clock back but you might feel more forgiving if you find that he had a difficult childhood too.

jamie000 Wed 16-Oct-13 12:00:54

Thank you. I think he was a good person, but a hopeless parent i suppose. Yes, I think if I could find out what his childhood was like that may explain a few things, but even so, I had a pretty lonely anxious time as a kid but as I am aware of it I was able to make a conscious decision to change that as a parent myself. I find it quite difficult to show affection through hugs or praise etc, but the point is I try and force myself, cos thats normal and nice (for me and the kids).

TheCrumpetQueen Wed 16-Oct-13 12:02:25

Good for you for breaking the cycle, always difficult but definitely the right decision for your children.

So sorry your father was like that.

Dahlen Wed 16-Oct-13 12:12:00

How old are you and what kind of family background did your father have?

My DF wasn't at all hands-on when I was child. He would help me with my homework and I learned DIY/mechanics from him, etc., but I don't remember any cuddles or kisses. I found him rather a remote figure in many ways, though he was never cold, uninterested or unkind. I would occasionally look at friends running around being chased and tickled by their DFs and feel a pang of envy, but I can't say I felt hurt or damaged. My wonderful DM and my GPs (DM's Ps) more than made up for hands-on involvement.

Like you, when I turned 18 and left home, my DFs relationship changed with me. It was as though now I was an adult, he could relate to me properly. Up until that point, he saw his role as father to a child to be one of providing and educating, rather than nurturing (which he saw as my DM's role). This was very much the way he was brought up.

Both my parents are now long dead, but in the years after I turned 18, I developed a very close and loving relationship with my DF. It started out more as a 'friendship' in that we would do mutually enjoyable activities together rather than talk, but eventually I became something of his closest confidante - even helping him identify potential dates (my DM having died several years previously, which I think also affected his relationship with me - for the better).

Despite considering my DF a really great man and a good father, like you I made a conscious decision that I wanted my DC's father to be much more hands-on (cocked that one up, but can't have it all I suppose).

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 16-Oct-13 12:20:41

What you're describing is what I'd call a 'Victorian Father'. I think they love their kids but they don't know how to relate to children. In their eyes caring for children in a practical sense and any emotional/tactile/'mushy' stuff (hugs chatting and silliness) is the womenfolk's department and they see their role as to put bread on the table, fix bikes & maintain a certain distance until the child is old enough to have a serious conversation with. Generations of people used to grow up with Dads like that and it's thankfully gone out of fashion but, if your Dad was raised by a Victorian Father himself (or a Victorian Mother with a nanny) , then that would be the only model he had to work on.

Josie1974 Wed 16-Oct-13 14:50:11

Hi yes I can relate to your post. My father was vaguely loving but not active in any sense, unfortunately even now I'm an adult he's very distant.
Unfortunately too in my case my mother is an ignoring narcissist so I never really had either parent.
It's hard, I feel huge anger and bitterness at the lack of parenting I've had and continue to have. I've found it even harder having my own children - both coming to terms with my own parents disinterest in my dc and unwillingness to provide any kind of support and also just realising, now I'm a parent myself, how incredibly rubbish they've been.

All I feel I can do is throw my whole being into being a full and loving parent to my own dc.

jamie000 Fri 18-Oct-13 10:28:31

Thanks Josie1974. That situation sounds quite familiar! Best of luck to you.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Fri 18-Oct-13 10:58:06

Hi jamie. My Dad could have been like yours, but his BIL had a quiet word. Because he had no real relationship with his own father, it simply didn't occur to him that dads could and should show affection for their children.

He got quite good at it, although Mum wasn't pleased when he let my 2 YO DB hand feed an elephant.

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