Emotionally aloof and less expressive dads are real! Before you get it wrong, remember that they have very different ways of communicating love. The more you grow up, the more you catch on the bigger picture.
We all know that the 21st century cool dads we see in movies and TV shows aren’t real. Seemingly, they have burst the bubble of patriarchal expectations and are super engaged in their children’s lives. They kiss their wives before they leave for work, play with their kids, express both verbal and physical affection, and have gone beyond the conflict between masculinity and intimacy. As much as we would love to have chill dads like those reel heroes, it hardly occurs in reality.
Super Heroes Without Emotions?
Dads are our superheroes but when it comes to showcasing their emotions, they will go through a thousand deaths rather than sit and talk about their feelings. If you have ever been shut off by your dad, then you probably have faced his ‘I don’t wanna talk about it’ mood- a deadlock situation. They need to suck it up every single time and man up while facing tremendous roller coaster of emotions inside their hearts. Why can’t they just let it all out?! Well, they can’t and here’s the catch – they have been told not to.
Mothers Are Celebrated. Dad’s Are “Man Boxed”
They have been told that men show affection and emotions differently. Our dads have been mentally conditioned for ages. They learn to do this mind-heart disconnect from an early age. Why? Because the patriarchal mores put them inside the man box and teach them to not think outside of it. You might wonder what’s the ‘man box’. The man box represents a set of social expectations, and perceptions of what is a ‘manly’ behavior. Real men don’t cry, Real men don’t show their weaknesses, Real men take care of their kids, Real men do this, Real men do that, blah, blah – the stereotypes keep building one above the other! This constant struggle to be the ‘Real Man’ makes very little of manhood and fatherhood. Either ways, you need to take care of your kids if you are a parent. But, what does it have to do with being the ‘Real man’? Probably, nothing. And that’s why it is very weird when these rules consider the downplaying of emotions as the right thing to do in case of our dads.
If you have wished for or craved for more emotional support from your dad, well, you are not alone. Most of us have seen our dads being real cool with his colleagues but when it comes to enjoying being a dad, they rather take it a little more seriously and the ‘fun’ part often vanishes from the equation.
Count the Actions. Not the Words.
Dads are often under the impression that they need to be emotionally distant. Why? Because they think, that way, his emotions aren’t able to get the better of him. Dads often think of themselves as the only pillar that holds the fort strong. These personal notions also have led them to slowly suppress their emotions. Conventionally, our men have been badged as the bread-earners of the family. And that actually comprises of much more than the “bread”. The fine balance between emotional vigour and fangs of workaholism goes for a toss, as a majority of the men keep pushing themselves to work harder and longer. With the intangible aspirations of ensuring a better life for the family, a better school for the kids, a better vacation, a better apartment, a better medical security and a better future.
Research shows that like women, men too feel emotions but they tend to be lot less responsive than women. Very often, for our dads, showing love and affection is more about what they do for us than what they tell us. So, they just have a different way of expressing their love. What he does for his family is every bit meaningful as hugs, kisses, and words- which are the conventional ways of expressing love.