Being Dad

I’d like to share the story of a young man, he and his family are actually one of the Case Studies in my forthcoming book “Saving Our Sons” A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Boys for Success.

“Dylan” was full of anger the first time we met. According to his parents his temper was “always” explosive (learned behavior from dad). When Dylan’s mom and dad separated and ultimately divorced, Dylan’s anger escalated. He would beat the walls of his room with a bat, break things in his path and lash out at anyone in his way.

Fortunately for Dylan neither his mom or dad was willing to give up on him. When they came to see me for help and see if The Quest Project® was a fit for Dylan, I began to quickly work with and focus on his relationship with dad.

Dylan needed his Dad. I explained to dad the importance of spending a minimum of 3-5 hours of scheduled one-on-one time with Dylan. Being present to listen in order to hear him, even during those times when Dylan wasn’t on his best behavior. Adolescent boys are innately hungry for Dad’s approval and attention. If they don’t receive it, it can be one of the most damaging experiences in their young life.

Many fathers today have forgotten or simply don’t know how important they are to their boys. If you’re a Dad I can’t stress enough just how important and needed you are to your son. He’ll look to you for basic things like how you handle situations, how you fix the squeaky door, how you treat his mom or simply by osmosis. All the while he’s figuring out the man he wants to be, and you’re the example.

Dylan was fortunate that his Dad was determined to recover and be the best dad he could be. He learned how to model and release anger in a safe way. He not only made adjustments and committed to the one-on-one time, he made it his routine. He allowed Dylan to talk about the things that made him angry; and he simply listened. He began his own personal work too; ultimately he didn’t have an example to follow as a young man so he was “doing the best he knew how.” My advice, seek out a wise elder to be a mentor.

A man is defined as a man in a “circle of men.” Healthy men that is! Becoming a man means growing, learning and understanding-not sitting on the couch playing video games (though this can be fun bonding at times).

You’re not, nor should you accept labels. “He’s a bad Dad,” or He’s such a good Dad.” The best dad and what your son needs from you is to be a responsible dad! A responsible Dad is a nurturing Dad, which includes “tough love” when necessary.

Being a Dad is an honor. I encourage you to treat it that way.


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Clayton Lessor MA, LPC

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