FTW.61 Are you a dismissive parent?

Fatherhood in a Technological World – Message #61

One of the most difficult parenting styles that children can spend a lifetime struggling with is that of the dismissive parent, or other authority figure.

The dismissive parent can be difficult to classify because the parent tends not to be self-critical; on the contrary, the dismissive parent tends to see weakness in the child and is critical of their being things like “too concerned” “worried” or “thinks too much.”

It’s not unusual for people of faith to be a dismissive parent, since they correlate peace with a requirement for only a simple understanding of many life situations. Let’s say, ignorance can be bliss for a dismissive parent.

As a child, you can be baffled by your dismissive parent since there is rarely any validation of your feelings, especially if your feelings run counter to those of your parent on a controversial subject.

Dismissing another’s feeling can be a sneaky way to diffuse and win an argument or a way to leverage a marginal understanding of a particular subject. In other words, “If your view does not fit into my understanding, then you don’t need to spend anymore time dwelling on it.’ At worst, it is like a case of closet-contempt, a move to maintain one’s personal power.

Another way of looking at it is, the parent plays the “What Me Worry?” Card (a play from the Mad Magazine Card Game). I don’t worry so you shouldn’t worry; therefore, let’s not talk about it.

Before you go ballistic reading about feelings again and why it’s important to validate people’s feelings although it may seem somehow un-masculine, I have to reemphasize: we do not need to nor are we required to agree with another’s actions, yet it’s almost always the right thing to acknowledge another’s feelings, particularly your children, because the act of validating another’s feelings is to validate their humanity.

If you can keep from dismissing your child’s feelings, that will improve your chances that they will not be afraid to come to you for help when they really need to.



About Fatherhood in a Technological World

Fathers of young children in today’s modern society are facing unprecedented challenges with the wave of technology allowing ever easier access to the internet. The effect on your children has and will have a great influence on their growth. As a parent, you may be feeling the anxiety of having to confront the challenges of being at the end of the rail of the powerful forces driving technology into the laps and hands of your children.

Your work is cut out for you are a father. Even though popular culture doesn’t do well to herald the value of the leadership role of men in the form of fathers, let me tell you right now, being a father in this time and age has never been more important.

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