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Creating Something from Nothing: Fatherhood Edition
Can you be a good dad, when you didn't have one?
Growing up without a father figure can be a difficult experience, but it doesn’t have to define how you, as a man, raise your children. There are many ways a fatherless man can provide a loving and healthy home for his children.
It doesn’t matter what your scenario was:
Always Unavailable Father
“Never Good Enough” Father
If you decide to take the “Art of Fatherhood” seriously, then whatever happened to you, or whatever example was set for you, it needs to be tossed from your mind because you are now working to be the father you needed, not the one you did or did not have.
You Are the Missing Puzzle Piece
Many adults are still hoping and praying that “Dad” will come back, find his way, commit to lasting change, or want to foster a relationship with them; quite a few of these adults have children of their own…
It’s been my observation that time spent looking back is wasted, and not only is it wasted in that the result will never be reached, but it also prevents you from committing to the next phase of your life. Looking to dad, wishing he’d “man up” keeps you in a perpetual state of adolescence/childhood, always seeking validation or a justified apology. In that frame, men are kept from assuming the role of father and being the man their children need them to be.
To assume the role of being a great father to your children, you must cut free the link to the anchor that your father is/was.
Your father wasn’t there, or he wasn’t what you needed, and while you may feel obligated to the man for giving you life, at the end of the day, he made his choices, and those decisions of his come with consequences for him to own, not you. It’s time to take the weight of your father’s failures off your shoulders and move on without him.
Your dad wasn’t a good role model, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be one to your children. We often speak of generational wealth and trauma, but what about generation-changing transformations?
I recently watched this video of Ed Mylett where he spoke of transitional characters, and in it, I saw a lot of myself:
The piece of your life puzzle that has been so elusive, the one you thought was your father, that “piece” has been your peace within.
When you choose to assume the role of being the father you needed and no longer allow the one you had, be it one who skipped out on your life or brought hell into it, the moment you transcend from that victim mindset of how it happened to you and become a man focused on never allowing that to happen to another again, that is when you will find what you’ve sought, self-love and a real bond with the children of your own.
Your father got it wrong; now you have a template for getting it right.
Three Steps to Be the Father Your Children Need You to Be
First, it’s important for a fatherless man to understand his own emotional needs and to find healthy ways to meet them.
This means being honest about his own emotional wounds and taking the time to work through them. This self-awareness and emotional intelligence will help him better understand his own children’s emotions and needs and provide a safe and secure environment for them.
My friend and business partner Anthony Migliorino brings everything back to childhood, so much so it’s become a running joke within the Fraternity of Excellence. Jokes aside, he’s right, and that is why this is the first step to becoming the father your children deserve. You must face the demons within you; from the anger to the feelings of abandonment, you must come to terms with and bring peace to those voids within your character and past.
Speaking of new fathers, my friend and Sober Buddy Ed Latimore had his first child in 2022, and he’s recently created his own Substack:
Second, it’s important for a fatherless man to create strong relationships with other positive adult role models for his children.
These can be relatives, friends, or mentors, but it’s important that they are reliable, responsible, and good examples of how to live. This will help provide his children with the father figure they may be missing and will help give them the guidance they need to grow up in a healthy way.
I had a father growing up, but it ook me to be around other men who were focused on being great fathers so that I could become my best self as a father. From learning about their experiences, what to expect as my kids grew, and things that worked/didn’t work for them, having a group to grow with and share my experiences with put me in a position where I had the right answer more often then not and was best prepared for the curveballs parenting throws.
At the end of the day, your day wasn’t a great role model, but that doesn’t mean you cannot go out and find the role models you want to emulate.
Third, it’s important for a fatherless man to be proactive in his own parenting.
This means taking the time to research and learn about child development and learning what kind of parenting style works best for his family. It also means understanding the importance of discipline and setting consistent boundaries to help his children understand the limits of acceptable behavior.
Finally, it’s important for a fatherless man to understand the importance of communication and to be open to talking with his children about any issues or concerns they have. Listening to his children and understanding their feelings is key to creating a strong bond and providing them with a loving and supportive home environment. Let them know how your childhood was, and let them see how you overcame adversity and why you are so committed to being a great example for them.
Raising children without a father figure can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be considered impossible.
With the right guidance, a fatherless man can create a loving and healthy home for his children. It just takes a bit of self-awareness, commitment, and understanding to make it happen.
- Zac Small