New England Region
Mark Gofstein, MA, LMHC, of Boston, is a Counseling Psychologist who has worked with kids and families for 28 years.
The value fathers bring to a family is balance. When you are very young as a male, you need mom energy as a means for a boy or a girl to develop a foundation of confidence, kindness and compassion for others. In an ideal world, the rudiments of a strong male foundation are created by the relationship between mother and the boy as a diad during the formative years of 0-5. A father works behind the scenes, keeping the family safe and secure so the mother can work her magic.
Eventually, with boys, fathers begin to take more of a growing role in developing a confident young man in the adult world.
For girls, a father’s role is similar in terms of providing safety, but different being an effective co-parent. A father’s primary role is to be the support staff. A father needs to be reassuring to both daughters and the mother so that they feel that they can handle things with minimal insecurity and maximum confidence. If a father is doing his job with a mother, she feels more support to get things done effectively with her daughters, and all are happier as a result. This is especially true during the teenage years when a girl needs to find her way to womanhood and may engage her mother; the mother will have more success if there is a supportive man to help her to keep her composure.
By nature fathers are at their best when they are more logical and solid, and then counterbalance a mother who may be emotional first and logical second. This balance in nature helps a man give a wide space for a woman to be how she needs to be for who she wants to be, becoming a woman at her best. When a father is emotional first and logical second it can show why some in our society see men as impossible, or even useless, to work with as a partner.
If children are going to thrive regardless, fathers and mothers have to step up to the plate and stop being children themselves. The idea that fathers don’t need mothers or mothers don’t need fathers is ignorance. The notion does not take into account the fact that the two genders actually are built to counterbalance each other. The offsetting tools are that help the opposite gender learn from and be more well rounded parents and partners. If we only took the time to pay attention … which most people today are too busy to do…