Recently I have been stunned how many American fathers undermine their own sons, neglect them, and treat them bad. I first noticed this with a guy I worked with who repetitively saw everything his son did as ‘stupid’. There was no understanding, or effort to understand, and no support. He would then would glorify his daughter, as if she were a goddess, but his son, never! Once I noticed this I saw this pattern everywhere. In fact, overall, I have often been stunned how American fathers are such poor and terrible fathers.
My general feeling is that a lot of this is a result of the times in which they were brought up. Many were brought up during the social rebellion that took place primarily in the 1970’s (though it also extended into the 1960’s and 1980’s). As I once said:
“What do you expect? This generation rebelled against authority, morality, responsibility, society, their parents, the government, etc. What did you expect them to be . . . responsible moral men and model fathers?”
Well, many aren’t.
This rebellion created certain qualities in this generation, which include:
- A sense of contempt.
- A lack of respect.
- A sense that everything is bad.
During the time of the social rebellion these things were directed toward society. As they grew up things changed: the influence of the rebellion faded and they were forced to ‘grow up’. Because of this, these attitudes slowly began to turn inward. As a result, these attitudes changed form becoming directed toward themselves creating qualities in themselves such as:
- Contempt of self.
- Low self-respect.
- Self-defeatism (I wrote an article about the American male and self-defeatism called “Thoughts on the self-defeating quality in the post-WWII American male – the coming of the ‘nothing male’” if you’re interested).
These different qualities created a male that was, in a way, down-trodden and undermined and worthless . . . a nobody. In some cases, he even became self-destructive. He turned into an insecure unstable person with no culture or society to be a part of. This is because the 1970’s rebellion destroyed all that. Many males found themselves just ‘another cog in the wheel’ of society, a nobody, which is a common sense in this generation. These feelings became quite common after the glory days of the rebellion ended though no one will admit to it (at least that I’ve seen).
When these guys became fathers what happened is that they took these inner attitudes and basically projected them onto their sons. In effect, they treat their sons how they feel about themselves deep down. As a result, it made many American fathers treat their sons in ways such as:
- They do not support their sons. They don’t seem to care.
- They belittled their sons. Often, their main activity is to find fault with them.
- They downplay what their sons do, as if it was nothing. In many cases, they ignore them.
- They will criticize their sons for things they did when they were younger. Its OK for them to do it . . .
- They have contempt for their sons, seeing everything they do as ‘stupid’ or ridiculous.
- They don’t teach their sons anything.
- They offer no role model or example.
Because of this, many American sons have no support from their fathers at all (assuming they have a father in this great highly advanced and progressive society!).
Is this any surprise?
Being part of an anti-establishment generation these fathers became, in a way, anti-father, for the father is part of the establishment. Rebelling against their parents they became anti-parent and did not play the part of a parent. Rebelling against morality they acted immorally. Rebelling against responsibility, they acted irresponsibly. The net result: something like an “un-father” was created. These types of attitudes dictated their associations with their sons and how they treated them. As a result, it was as if “transferred” to them, the “un-father” created the “un-son”, so to speak, a projection of themselves.
THE SON AS AN OUTCAST
What this has done is that it turned many sons into something like an ‘outcast’ . . . of their father. Since children see society as a reflection of their parents it is only natural for them to see themselves the same way. Its for this reason that the son began to view himself as an ‘outcast’ of society. Many will have reactions to this such as:
- Some will be unable to fit into anywhere in society, unable to find their niche, and as if wander through life.
- Some will never grow up. Some, for example, will find ‘refuge’ in computer games and similar things.
- Some may even continue their ‘fathers tradition’ of blind rebellion.
I know many young American males in similar situations and I know where it comes from: a direct result of the 70’s rebellion. For many males this is becoming a serious crisis and a problem. In some respects, it has brought many young American males to a halt in life. Being an ‘outcast’ they have become ‘nobodies’ and live ‘off to the side’ of society. Being an ‘un-son’ turned them into ‘un-people’. Its created a generation of, frankly, abandoned boys, who are outcasts, all stemming from their fathers poor view of themselves.
If anything, this shows the importance and need of a father in a boys life. It shows how the father needs to be “there”, as a person and human being. He needs to demonstrate himself as an upright and stable person. When this is not there it can affect the son in adverse ways.
In addition, it shows the destructiveness of rebellious attitudes. Since the social rebellion around the 70’s was a media affair, it affected a whole generation (and probably the one that followed), creating many attitudes and points of views that became part of the peoples character. When this happened it turned into a ‘rebellion culture’, a way of looking at the world and life. As a result, rebellion became ingrained into who they are. The attitudes permeated their ways and points of view . . . it infiltrated everything.
But, more importantly, it shows that a “father” is not a person who rebels. In fact, rebellion and a “father” mix like oil and water, they are like polar opposites. I have always believed that the natural character of a “father” is one who tends to teach compliance and a ‘working together’ attitude. If a person does disagree, or has a reason to rebel, the “father” generally teaches to do it in the correct way (which usually means not getting out-of-control with it). In short, the character of a “father” is not about making a life out of rebellion. Because of this, much of these guys, with their rebellious ways, do not have the character of the “father” to begin with. No wonder they don’t emulate it . . .
SON VERSUS DAUGHTER
Not only was I stunned how many of these fathers treated their sons but I was also stunned how many would treat their daughters like gold and a saint, often putting them on a great pedestal.
Is it any wonder?
Again, it reflects the time in which they were brought up in. Isn’t the time of this rebellion a time that they glorified the female, her body, and sex? Wasn’t this the era of the ‘sexual revolution’? Didn’t the female represented every boys’ desire – the ‘sex symbol’? Because of this, the female or, more specifically, her body became the symbol of what every boy wants, the symbol of what’s desired in the world. With this ‘indoctrination’ its not surprising that they would look at their daughters in a similar way, a symbol of what’s desired in life. While the son became an “un-son” and outcast the daughter was elevated as if in compensation. Because of this they’d naturally see more in their daughters than in their sons. Basically, their internalized reaction of this rebellion filled themselves with contempt, which turned to self-contempt, which turned to contempt of their sons. Their daughters, on the other hand, were part of the ‘sex symbol’ image of this era . . . to be glorified, a symbol of what’s desired in life.
This glorification has gone to great lengths. I know many fathers who make their daughters out as these great people, almost as saints, reflecting all that is best in humanity. In fact, I’ve seen cases where they created a son versus daughter relationship. That is to say, the son has become the “idiot” of society, the daughter the “saint” of society. The sons “can do no right” but their daughters “do everything right”. I’ve seen cases where many fathers treat their daughters like sons, playing ball with them, and inspiring them to do things, but their sons . . . nothing. For some sons this is nothing but another avenue for degradation from their fathers as I, myself, have seen. I’ve seen many variations of this and feel it is part of the ‘hidden’ aspects of American society.