Improving Father-Son Relationships: An Introduction
Do you know what the bedrock of a family is? Of course, love, emotions, and bonding play a role. But the strength of a family gets derived from its father-son relationship. How the men in a family gel with each other plays a significant role here. It decides how successful, prosperous, and happy the family will be. But when the son hates the father, it’s a complex, sensitive, and grave issue. Unfortunately, father-son relationships are the most neglected aspect of a family’s chemistry. This relationship nosedives from bad to worse in almost every family and nobody cares to intervene. No one tries to set things in order between the father and the son. Nobody seems concerned about improving father-son relationships. So, it’s time we lay focus on this critical area of a family’s existence.
What Is A Bad Father-Son Relationship?
It’s important to know what a bad father-son relationship means before we work towards improving father-son relationships.
So, what do we mean when we say that a father-son duo doesn’t get along well? What is a toxic father-son relationship? It can mean many things. There are different types of strained father-son relationships.
Firstly, it means that a father and son cannot be happy with or around each other. The warmth, love, and understanding are missing between them. To put it simply, they don’t enjoy each other’s company.
Secondly, it may also mean that the father and the son cannot work together towards a common goal. Whenever they do, it brings out the worst in both of them. As a result, they end up fighting each other. Also, the task fails to get accomplished, which further weakens their relationship.
Thirdly, a weak father-son relationship may also mean that they do not interact with each other much. The reasons can be many. Maybe they don’t understand each other well, or they mostly disagree with each other, which makes both of them agitated. It may also be the case where nothing significant comes out of their interaction which wastes their time & energy. Hence, they decide not to talk too much with each other.
Frequent Disagreements & Arguments
Fourthly, a disastrous father-son relationship could mean that they often get involved in heated arguments & discussions. Both may feel that their way is better in a situation and are just not ready to let that opinion go. Often, influential people get into a scuffle in the world. It is true even for a family where fathers and sons battle it out for an edge over each other.
And lastly, a chaotic father-son relationship may be a consequence of quarrels & fights between them. It is the worst possible case in an unsatisfactory father-son relationship. Here, they not only don’t like each other but are ready to fight each other off to eternity. Mostly, such cases are the result of a money, wealth, or power dispute between them.
Thus, when we talk about improving father-son relationships, we will be referring to one of the cases explained above.
The next thing that we need to know is the reason why father-son relationships go bad to worse.
Why Father-Son Relationships Go Sour?
Knowing why father-son relationships go sour is crucial when we aim at improving father-son relationships. When we know the precise reasons for an occurrence, we can think of its solutions and start acting towards them. We also need to know the psychology behind father-son relationships. It will help us manage this delicate bond better and guide it in the right direction. So, let’s get on with it!
Any father-son relationship doesn’t get on the wrong track all of a sudden. It has specific reasons which keep on boiling inside before coming to the fore. There are expectations, disappointments, failures, and breakdowns on both sides, which eventually lead to a poor father-son relationship. Similarly, a rough father-son relationship is not the fault of any one of them. Both father and sons are responsible for it in different ways. But there are also situations where it is nobody’s fault. Let’s discover these causes that shatter a father-son relationship.
Father is the top breadwinner of any family. In fulfilling this basic necessity, the father-son relationship gets disturbed. The father has to stay away from the family and his son so that he could earn money. He gets to stay close to his son very rarely, which brings an unbridgeable gap between them. And even if he tries hard to be around his son, he is still consumed in thoughts and actions by his work and work commitments. It further weakens his relationship with his son.
2) Work Fatigue
When the father finishes his work, he experiences tiredness emanating from it. The mental & physical exertion from work proves disastrous for his relationship with his son. Even after being with him, the father cannot concentrate, enjoy, or get involved with his son fully or enthusiastically. It makes the son feel that his dad doesn’t like his company. The father tries his best, but his sincere efforts are just not enough. Consequently, he fails to build a good foundation of his relationship with his son.
3) An Uninterested Father
In the long run, work commitments and work fatigue make a father uninterested in his son. Here, the father gives up on all hopes of being there for his son. He has accepted that he is not a good father and can never be one in the future. So, he stops making an effort to communicate or work things out with his son anymore. And due to this, he further moves away from his son that demolishes their relationship irreversibly.
4) Other Commitments
There are times when the father still realises his mistakes. He tries to mend his relationships with his son. He knows that not everything is lost, as his son still shows some interest in spending time with him. But other commitments & compulsions of the father ruins this window of opportunity. He has to look after many other responsibilities like other family members, parents, bill payments, insurance, investments, friends, etc. All these commitments don’t let him spare any time for his son, proving to be the ultimate nail in the coffin.
When the father-son relationship is lost forever, the father doesn’t feel like making a wasted attempt towards patching-up with his son. He knows that every effort to bond with his son will go in vain. The relationship feels to be well beyond repair to the father. He is also scared of the awkwardness of possible interaction with the son. He is in no condition to open up to his son and ask for forgiveness. So, he decides to live and enjoy his life rather than wasting time mending his relationship with his son.
Fathers and their sons generally believe that it’s the former’s mistake that their relationship got ruined. But this is not the truth! It looks like the way it does, but only because the father is supposed to be more responsible in building & nurturing the relationship. But sons are equally liable, if not more, for a bad relationship with their fathers. They too need to work towards improving father-son relationships. Hence, debating how a father should treat his son is not wrong but discussing how a son should behave with his father is equally important.
There are various explanations of how a son ruins his relationship with his father.
1) Preference To Friends
Teenagers or young people prefer the company of their friends more than their parents. They like to hang out, study, play, and adventure with their buddies instead of their dads. They are either ashamed, bored, or annoyed at their parents. To some extent, it’s not their fault either. A father buried under the weight of responsibilities doesn’t look too attractive to his son. On the contrary, it scares sons away. So, to relax, chill, and enjoy, they choose to be with their friends.
2) Craving Leisure & Alone-Time
Teenage is no joke! It takes a lot of toll on young people mentally and physically. They constantly have to toil hard in studies, sports, or extra-curricular activities. They are supposed to be at their best all the time and produce top-notch performances in everything they do. So, whenever they get leisure or some alone-time, they prefer being alone and not with their fathers. They want to reflect on their life, think about their issues, and just relax in their own company. It has nothing against the father per se, but this does bring gaps in the father-son relationships.
3) Pressure At School
Relationship problems between fathers and their teenage sons are common nowadays. Like fathers have the compulsion to earn the bread or money for the family, teenagers have upon them the pressure to perform academically. Mostly, sons are kept busy with tests, exams, and other academic compulsions. These academic obligations don’t give sons enough time to spend time or gel with their family or fathers. And even if they do, sons cannot meet them wholeheartedly, which prevents them from bonding with their dads.
When people are young, they haven’t developed their analytical skills too much. As a result, they believe almost everything they see or come across. It gives enough ground for misunderstandings to germinate. When a son doesn’t find his father around consistently, he assumes that his dad doesn’t like him. This misbelief keeps growing and ultimately takes the form of reality to destroy their relationship. So, a son’s misapprehensions about his father weaken & damage their relationship.
It’s trendy among the youth to be a rebel. It gives young people some sense of authority, power, and control. They may disagree or argue with their fathers just for the sake of it or to prove a point. Being a rebel may give sons the feeling of being mature & grown-ups. But it also harms their relationship with their fathers for no real reason. Rebelliousness may damage the father-son relation forever. Hence, it should be avoided by sons until they have some real concrete reason to do so.
Most sons keep thinking about why fathers are mean to their sons. They don’t realise that the actual problem might be lying within them. But weak, underdeveloped, or wrecked father-son relationships aren’t always the fault of the father or the son. Sometimes, the situations are just not correct for this relationship to blossom. It also means that we cannot blame any particular person for strained relationships between a father and his son. The only thing that is in our hands is to work towards improving father-son relationships. So, the bottom line is that circumstances also play a role in shaping father-sons relationships. Let’s find out what these situations are.
Separations & distance are never good for relationships. They damage even the deep & strong ones. When fathers and sons have to stay away from each other for reasons like divorce or work, they start growing lesser fond of each other. A prolonged separation wrecks their bonhomie forever.
2) Few Meetings
Any relationship, to become solid, resilient, and permanent, needs people to be consistently together for a decent amount of time. A few erratic & uncertain meetings cannot build lifelong relationships. So, when fathers and sons meet and stay together only for some time, they fail to erect any significant bridge between them.
3) Together But Busy
Sometimes, people are unable to build strong relationships even after staying under one roof. The circumstances don’t allow them to interact much, which prevents their relationships from blossoming. The son is busy in his own life, while the father doesn’t have the time to spend too much time with the son. Their stay at the house may also not match, which doesn’t let them mingle too often.
Whatever be the reason for an ugly father-son relationship, we cannot give up on it. So, the responsibility of improving father-son relationships needs to be taken by someone within the family. The bond needs to be worked upon and made stable, peaceful, & comfortable for both the father and the son. We need to give this valuable relationship at least one chance. That is because a bad father-son relationship has many ugly repercussions.
Consequences Of A Strained Father-Son Relationship
The importance of a father-son relationship is highly underrated in our societies. A damaged father-son relationship has deep, troublesome, and grave consequences for the family as a whole. Apart from affecting father and son, it has debilitating outcomes for other family members and the whole family. Hence, improving father-son relationships is unavoidable if we want to evade the nasty consequences of a substandard father-son relationship.
Let’s find out the consequences of a strained father-son relationship.
Consequences For The Father
A failed father-son relationship has critical and dire consequences for a father. If a father’s son doesn’t consider him his ideal, it’s the ultimate failure for him. It may make a father feel that he has failed in becoming a responsible, effective, and successful leader of the family. It may make him feel guilty about letting his son and other family members down. A man works for the happiness of his family. But when it doesn’t happen, he feels like a failure as a human being. As a result, his other relationships, including the one with himself, also suffer. It might bring his life to a complete standstill with no precise way ahead.
Consequences For The Son
Irrespective of whose fault it is, an awful father-son relationship leaves the son scarred for life. When he hates the person he should have loved the most, he doesn’t know how to love anyone anymore. He continuously curses his father, which actually turns his future dark and hopeless. The son doesn’t want to be like his father anymore. But he is doomed to become like him as he decides never to forgive him. He wants to be free of the pain but keeps getting trapped in it thicker and darker. Eventually, he develops the same tragic relationship with his own son that cripples his life irreversibly.
Consequences For Other Family Members
Disagreements, arguments, and quarrels in the house are worse for other family members than what it is to the father-son duo. They hurt you deep, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. You want everything to be peaceful, calm, and OK, but it’s no more in your hands. The situation feels too hopeless and out of your control. The strained father-son relationship turns the home environment depressive. It affects every other family member alike. And it affects their lives both within and outside the house. It instills fear, anxiety, and low confidence in people, leaving them helpless, fragile, and weak.
Consequences For The Family As A Group
A strained father-son relationship weakens the family internally. It makes the individual members vulnerable and disturbed. There isn’t any stability, resilience, or binding strength, within the members or in the family itself. As a result, there are too many too frequent internal disagreements, heated debates & arguments, quarrels, and fights. It doesn’t let them achieve love, happiness, or even gratitude, to begin with, which makes their lives feel worthless to them. As a disunited & weak family, they cannot cope, adapt, or face external challenges with courage or resolve. They succumb to conspiracies, manipulations, and traps laid out by outsiders, which causes the disintegration of the family.
Thus, it’s pertinent to build or at least work towards improving father-son relationships in families.
Improving Father-Son Relationships
Improving father-son relationships isn’t a piece of cake. It takes a lot of effort, determination, and dedication to even get the process started. It’s a tightrope, and one has to walk very cautiously to reach the desired destination. So, apart from utmost willingness, diligence, and perseverance from both father and son, every other family member needs to work hard and contribute towards this higher goal. We can do several things towards improving father-son relationships.
I) Improving Father-Son Relationships: End The Dispute
1) Control The Situation
So, how do you fix a broken father-son relationship? The first step towards improving father-son relationships and ending the discord between them is to control the ongoing ugly situation. The disagreement, arguments, or tussle need to end. We can do this in three possible ways or steps. Firstly, someone needs to intervene and take the heated exchange of words or emotions towards a halt. Now, both need to be calmed down, which can be done both through someone’s wise words or by giving the duo some time in peace. And finally, they need to be counseled expertly. You have to make them understand the futility of quarrels among the family and the need to come to their senses. It will minimise the tussle and bring about much-needed stability in the house.
2) Eliminate The Hatred
Once the visible animosity is under control, you need to target the hatred boiling within both or any of them. Eliminating the dissatisfaction from the minds of the duo again requires deep & intelligent counseling. It should be done by an expert professional, but it is better to let a respected older internal person handle it. Preferably, it should be the father’s father who is also the grandfather to the son. He will have the respect of both of them and can explain everything from his experience and examples. He needs to make both of them understand that it’s nobody’s fault really. It’s the circumstances that leave room for illusions, errors of judgment & misinterpretations, which we all fall prey to. It would surely end the hatred in the minds of the father-son duo, which will carve out space for love, understanding, and friendship between them in the future.
3) Restore Normalcy, Tranquility, & Sweetness
Next, what we need to do, is to restore the minds, hearts, & souls of father and son to their original states. It means we need to take them to the times before the discord started arising within themselves. We need to take them through memory lane, reminding them of all the good memories they spent with each other. They need to realise that still everything is not lost in this relationship. There are positive areas that can be built upon to make things better. Both need to remember all the good things the other person did for them. Once they realise, recognise, and learn about the positive aspects of their relationship, they will give up their anger, dissatisfaction, and resentment. They will become ready to mend this relationship once again.
Ending the dispute is the most crucial step in improving father-son relationships. It opens the doors for some wise, meaningful & peaceful communication between the father and the son.
II) Improving Father-Son Relationships: Restart Friendly Interaction
1) Breaking The Ice
Once the dispute is over, it’s time to try and make the father-son duo bond with each other again. The first step in doing this is to make them talk. But it’s never easy meeting or communicating with the person you fought so fiercely recently, especially if he is family. There is fear, guilt, and uncertainty regarding how to react to the awkward situation. One way to do this is to forget what had happened and begin talking about something new.
The initial aim has to be to get going with the conversation. It will give both father and son the confidence to converse without any disagreements. Once the situation gets comfortable, it is preferable to compliment each other and apologise for what had happened. They should show each other the willingness to start the relationship afresh. Communication really helps any two people forget their past and get ready to build a new relationship from scratch.
2) Finding Common Grounds
When the father and son get comfortable talking, they should then look to deepen this engagement. They should talk about something that interests both of them equally. It will let them open up more and also help them feel freer in front of each other. But they should be willing to accept each other’s views respectfully. If they can do that, they will strengthen their relationship and would also learn and grow as a person. Finding common topics of interest is a great way to heal strained ties. It can turn even enemies into buddies.
3) Accepting Differing Opinions
Talking on common topics of interest may be easy. But the real test is to accept differing opinions about common & sensitive issues. It is the most crucial point in improving father-son relationships. If they can learn to value the other person more than their personal views & opinions, their relationship will never fall apart again. One of them has to be aware of this fact. Accepting differing opinions doesn’t mean conceding ground or forget your views. It means to forward your viewpoint politely and be ready if it is not received well. When this happens, a relationship has prepared its ground for growth & flourish.
When the duo starts accepting each other’s differing opinions, it’s real progress in improving father-son relationships.
III) Improving Father-Son Relationships: Redevelop The Bond
1) Sharing Laughs
When you can accept differing opinions, you become capable of laughing them off. It prepares the ground for meaningful, sustainable, and true humour. Smiles, laughter, and happiness spread all around, which starts redeveloping the lost love between the father and the son. Laughing together makes them realise how futile their tussle was. It also tells them what has missing from their lives. Happiness is the best climate to mend any broken relationship. And, it is true even for improving father-son relationships.
2) Working Together
When laughs have laid the foundation of a reinvented & reinvigorated father-son relationship, we should utilise it to deepen this connection further. It’s time to act and work as a family. The duo should work together to make their individual lives and the future of the whole family bright. They should work towards improving the fortunes of the family and its members in every area of life. They should work together so hard that their family becomes the epitome of family relations and values for other families. It will deepen the father-son bond really strong and will make it almost unbreakable.
3) Enjoying Together
Enjoying together through parties, celebrations, vacations, etc. does contribute to strengthening the father-son bond. But it is something more than just that. It symbolises a bond that is beyond damage now. When you have seen the lowest in a relationship, you have also deserved its highest possible point. When you have struggled your way through to a strong relationship, your bond has probably grown the strongest possible. Enjoying together shows that the duo is happy in each other’s company during good times. It also tells us that they are willing to share or divide familial responsibilities between themselves. And what better way to strengthen a father-son relationship than to share responsibility?
Redeveloping the bond completes the process of improving father-son relationships, but it is only the beginning of deepening the tie limitlessly.
Improving Father-Son Relationships: Conclusion
Females in a family offer peace, love, and happiness. But these values may vanish if the males in the family don’t nurture relationships with stability, resilience, and strength. Also, the power of any family gets created from its bunch of healthy bonds, among which the father-son relationship is a crucial one. Hence, the whole family, including the father-son duo, needs to work towards a sound, light, and enjoyable father-son camaraderie. They need to work towards improving father-son relationships along with ensuring the best possible rapport between the two.
There can many types of father-son relationships which the duo may choose to develop. But the best relationship that fathers and sons should focus on evolving is that of a friend. If this one thing is present in a family, everything else will fall into place on its own. It will prepare and provide a strong foundation for the progress, growth, and success of the family and each of its members. As a result, the family will no longer be seen by others, as a father-son conflict example. It will be adored as an envious lesson of rich family bonds, relationships, and love!