Moreover, whether by nature or nurture, fathers are frequently less open than mothers about their feelings and emotions, says Neil Chethik, author of (Hyperion, 2001).
“There’s a self-containedness about many men,” Chethik says.
“When we’re not reconciled with our fathers, there’s something inside of us that remains restless, and there’s also something that remains kidlike,” Chethik says.
“We don’t really grow up until we have come to terms with our fathers.
As painful as it is for both parties, this adolescent mutiny is an important part of a boy’s development, says Lewis Yablonsky, Ph D, professor emeritus of sociology at California State University Northridge and author of (Simon & Schuster, 1982).
“The son is building his own identity,” Yablonsky says.“We’re not usually overflowing with all kinds of words and emotions.” This reticence can deepen the divide between fathers and sons.Other forces conspiring against father-son bonding are cultural.“When we become fathers, we realize that our fathers may have messed up, but we are messing up, too,” he says.“So we begin to think of them as more human.” Even if you don’t have children of your own, recognizing that your father is just a man is the critical first step in building a better relationship.Releasing trauma and adopting a spirit of forgiveness, she continues, “mends our tattered personal boundaries, and empowers us to move forward with more hope and creativity.” “One man in his 50s had been estranged from his father for years.His father had even taken him out of his will,” Jenson remembers.Today, the 38-year-old furniture maker from Viroqua, Wis., has an open friendship with his pediatrician father. “When I was 12 or so, I wanted to go to church with my parents, but my T-shirt wasn’t tucked in.It was one of the biggest fights we ever had,” remembers Leonards.We need our fathers to bless us in a way that brings us into adulthood.” For many men, the work of reconciliation begins when they have their own children.That’s because becoming a parent is bound to change a man’s view of his own parents, says Chethik.