Not a father, but a man

Not a father, but a man
Not a father, but a man

A father is a mirror for a child. If a boy does not have a father, another man should become a mirror for him

Not a father but a man

According to statistics, in Russia there are almost 800 divorces for every thousand marriages - according to this indicator, we occupy one of the first places in the world. It is clear that the result is numerous incomplete families. But how in this case can a boy know what a man is? psychologist Igor Pavlov talks about this.

When I worked as a psychologist in a kindergarten, then, being the only man in this institution, I was never deprived of attention … no, not teachers, but children. And most of all, boys from single-parent families pestered me (in a good sense of the word) with their communication. Whether they were looking for me to replace their absent dads or trying to compensate for the lack of male attention is a question I often thought about in those days.

Filial Instinct

Boys are drawn to men. They watch unfamiliar adults with interest and with great pleasure communicate with close or simply familiar men - relatives and family friends, teachers and coaches. This craving is especially noticeable in those boys who grow up without fathers. Some kind of filial instinct seems to awaken in them: the boy is looking for an object that can satisfy his need for a father. I used to be such an object. Boys around me got the attention they needed, felt a sense of belonging to the male "tribe", could confide in their boyish problems or complain about women - obsessive mothers, overprotective grandmothers and insensitive caregivers.

For some boys, the need for a figure that can replace an absent father becomes more pronounced with age, for someone less. The former are looking for any opportunity to be close to an adult male. The latter are not so assertive, but they will not miss the chance to grab a portion of male attention on occasion.

The reality is that today more and more children are growing up without fathers. This does not mean at all that they become problematic - the terrible word "fatherlessness", which once, like a shameful stigma, was awarded to children from single-parent families, now sounds like a relic of the past. Advanced psychologists and educators are in no hurry to put labels on such children, because there is optimistic scientific evidence that most children from single-parent families grow up to be prosperous and psychologically he althy people.

But it is also known for certain that many of these boys experience an acute lack of communication with the male half of humanity, especially if their ties with real fathers are completely severed, and the immediate family environment consists almost entirely of women.

Read more: Why does a boy need a man?

Why does a boy need a man?

Each boy is looking for something different in communication with a man: an opportunity to take a break from female guardianship, satisfy the need for attention and interest in the world of adults. But most of the guys, among other things, are looking for in men … themselves. Back in the 19th century, the greatest Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard wrote that a father is a mirror for a child. And, if a boy does not have a father, another man should become such a mirror for him, peering into whom, he will compare himself with him, evaluate how manly he looks and whether he behaves like a man enough.

It won't be long before any little boy from an incomplete family will have to learn the science of male behavior on his own. There will be no dad nearby who would direct his actions and set the tone for imitation. Therefore, the boy carefully observes different men, seeks communication with them, strives to be like those of them who most correspond to his ideas about the ideal father

And if a boy does not see a good example in his immediate environment, he finds it in books, films or computer games. And then his "father" becomes a superhero, because he is so strong, brave, resourceful, invulnerable - in general, a real man.

But almost all superheroes have one major flaw. They will never be able to tell the boy that being a man is not only about saving the world with fantastic weapons or mystical powers. Being a real man is, first of all, being able to solve your problems without violence and cruelty, not being afraid of your weakness and vulnerability, and at the same time being able to take care of loved ones without harming others. A "live" man is always more versatile than any fictional character. He can show the boy different patterns of behavior in different situations, explain where and when he should behave this way, and where he can behave differently. Superheroes are unlikely to teach this.

Read more: remarriage - how to become your child?

How to become your own

Some women decide to remarry. As a result, their personal life is arranged and the child, in theory, has a father. However, often the boy begins to protest in every possible way against his mother's new boyfriend. This does not necessarily mean that the boy does not need to communicate with an adult male at all. They may be driven by completely different motives - jealousy and fear of losing their mother's love.

And the contender for the most intimate thing that a boy has - the attention of his mother, has to endure the test of children's whims and tears, reproaches and hateful looks, silence and defiant ignorance.

It may take a man more than a day or two to win the trust of a child and dispel his fears. Without haste and pressure, gradually he must join the boy's life, without immediately trying to take the place of his father. It is best for a man to start becoming a friend of a child, find a common language with him, and only then take on some fatherly duties.

Children, especially those who keep in touch with their real fathers or keep the memory of their real fathers, may negatively perceive another man's attempt to take their father's place. And, even if they like this man, they are afraid that by accepting him into their family and calling him dad, they will commit a betrayal against real dads. Therefore, a mother should not try to compare a man with a real father: to say that, unlike his father, he is kinder, more secure, more responsible, etc. The result may be the opposite.

It is very important for a child to have a positive image of a real father, no matter what kind of person he may be. Psychological research shows that children from single-parent families who have fond memories of their father develop more successfully than those who have a negative image of their father.

And if the boy is not threatened by the appearance of a new dad in the house or relations with him did not work out, then mom needs to make sure that someone from close people can at least partially satisfy the need for a father. It’s good if there are grandfathers, uncles, older brothers, etc. “at hand”. It’s even better if they pay attention to the child. And it's just great if the child respects and loves one of them.

Read more: How to find a real friend for your son?

Mustachioed babysitter

There is another way to get a child a little male attention and communication - to enroll him in some sports section or circle, where the coach, leader is a man. In general, there is a catastrophic lack of men in our education system. Therefore, if you find a good male teacher for your child, consider that you have found a treasure.

True, here the question arises: how to distinguish good from bad? Frightened by stories about pedophiles and alcoholics operating in kindergartens and schools under the masks of athletes and Trudoviks, mothers are wary of men who pay much attention to other people's children. “Do they really have nothing better to do than take care of the kids? And for such a ridiculous salary? - the imagination draws the image of either a chronic loser or a psychologically unhe althy man. But, fortunately, there are still real enthusiasts among male teachers who believe in their work and achieve great success in raising children. Such teachers, coaches, leaders of studios and circles are truly happy when they manage to make the life of someone else's child even a little better. Children feel no less happy next to them.

However, of course, this does not mean that parents should not be on their guard. Even the most reliable person at first glance can have negative intentions at the expense of the child. Distinguishing a teacher who is a sadist or a pedophile is not so easy. Studies show that most of these people do not stand out from the crowd, are often respected in society and have the status of law-abiding citizens.

Therefore, it is much more reasonable not to try to teach a child to determine by eye who is who, but to teach him to distinguish between dangerous and safe situations. The child must know exactly what an outsider should not do: come to his house when he is alone, invite him to visit him, touch where it is not supposed to, etc.

And, no matter how trite it may sound, it is important to be sensitive and attentive to your son, to have a very close and trusting relationship with him. Then you can be sure that your son will not hide from you what kind of people surround him at school and beyond, what he thinks about them and what he has to do in life without a father.

What to read:

• Figdor G. Children of divorced parents: between trauma and hope. Moscow: Nauka, 1995

• Figdor G. The troubles of divorce and ways to overcome them. M.: MPSI, 2006

• Froer J.S. Eerily loud and extremely close. Moscow: Eksmo, 2009

What to see:

• "Man without a face". USA, 1993 Dir. Mel Gibson

• Dear Frankie. USA, 2003 Dir. Shauna Auerback

• “Triumph. The Ronnie Clark Story. USA, 2006 Dir. Randa Haynes

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