Why Dads are Needed
Dads are more important than ever in raising healthy kids. Long gone are the days when Dad would return from work and be greeted at the door by his wife holding a martini and the newspaper. Dads are expected to be more involved in raising their kids and they want to be more involved.
Many Dads did not have a father that helped with baby care or early childhood. They wrestled, played, and read stories to their kids but they were not changing diapers or giving their kids baths. The cultural and social expectations at that time dictated strict gender roles.
As more women entered the workforce and younger generations became more open-minded, gender roles shifted. Women want their male partners to help them raise their children from birth and beyond. Women were pissed about working all day and starting their second shift by parenting their kids without much assistance from their partners.
Modern parenting is becoming more egalitarian. Men and women share more childcare duties than in past generations. Men are excited to be included in their children’s lives and their involvement is helping to raise one of the most socially and emotionally healthy generations of children.
Dads and PMADS
PMADS are perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Basically, dads feel anxious, worried, and upset about their babies before or after birth. They may feel sad, angry, rageful, or shut down. At the extreme, they can have violent fantasies of wanting to hurt or kill their children. Many dads report wanting to flee the family.
Many people are familiar with Postpartum Depression (PPD) but do not realize that men can be diagnosed with PPD as well. Men are at greater risk if they have had a mood disorder or if their partners have been diagnosed with a mood disorder.
Men may feel confused about their feelings especially if they are unaware that they can also suffer from PMADs. Men may cope in unhealthy ways such as drinking heavily, smoking pot, watching porn, or playing video games to an excessive extent. Some men retreat into their careers and spend longer hours at the office as a way to avoid the stresses of family life.
Common coping methods for men
- Video Games
Social relationships are a wonderful coping mechanism and women often have them. Women have their friends, mom groups, FaceBook communities, etc. However, men struggle to maintain authentic relationships with other men. They may feel isolated, too reliant on their partners for social support, and lonely.
Dads groups are less common than moms groups.
Dads’ symptoms of anxiety or depression may increase due to isolation and lack of validation. Moms need Dads to be emotionally healthy in order to help share the burden of child-raising.
Men and Therapy
It’s becoming more socially acceptable for men to seek therapy. Back in the day, men were expected to “man up” and not rely on others for help. It was seen as a character flaw if a man needed help from other people.
The strong, silent unemotional man was romanticized in movies and television. You would never see John Wayne cry but you definitely saw him hitting the bottle after a brutal fight. The times, they are a changing! It’s more common to see men cry in movies/tv today.
Shows like In Treatment help to destigmatize men going to therapy. America is behind with acceptance of therapy in general and men are at a greater disadvantage than women.
Therapy can be thought of as a spectrum. Some men seek treatment to better manage symptoms of a mental health disorder. They need treatment in order to stay safe and not end up in the hospital. At the other end of the spectrum, men seek self-discovery. Most men fall in between these two.
Dads who need extra support during the intense transition into fatherhood should be seen as role models to their children. They are showing their children that it’s okay to ask for help and they may not be able to handle everything on their own (nor should they be expected to).
Moms feel appreciative of partners that take their mental well-being seriously. They know these fathers love and care about them and their families deeply.
Ways Therapy Helps
- Gain understanding and awareness about thoughts, feelings, and behavior
- Learn how to communicate better with wives/partners
- Engage in healthier coping mechanisms
- Increasing comfort with vulnerability and openness
- Modeling appropriate behavior for kids
- Healing childhood wounds from past traumas
People were forced to do therapy differently during the pandemic. Teletherapy has been around for years and used by the Veteran’s Administration (VA) to treat that population. Teletherapy became a necessity during the COVID 19 pandemic.
Research studies have shown that online therapy is just as effective as in-person treatment. Teletherapy works well with most of the population, however, it is not recommended for those who suffer from a seizure disorder.
I meet with people over video using HIPAA compliant software called Simple Practice. If we do have tech issues we can do a phone session.
You will need a decent internet connection, private space (can be your car when not driving only), and headphones/air pods if desired. Your babies and pets are welcome. I love meeting family members.