In a previous post that I wrote for The Forge of Men, I explained about how you are raising the next “Nice Guy.”
I explained how ineffective and abusive parenting methods cause us to raise a boy that becomes detached from his own needs to gain acceptance from his parents. He quickly learns that if he is good, people will like him, and the Nice Guy is created.
This child will be depressed, suffer sickness, and lack confidence because everything he has done was for someone else. There is no real attachment to a true identity.
In adulthood, this man unknowingly displays weakness and avoids any conflict to be recognized as friendly. Only so long can he suppress his true desires and instincts without the outward projection of being an asshole.
It is a struggle to live in the shadows.
The faults of admiration.
What about the other boy who seems confident and is admired by everyone? If you take away this admiration, and he too suffers greatly.
This is another example of how our parenting methods can have adverse effects on our boys when we stay trapped in traditional parenting methods. It is often difficult to think back to what motivated us as a child because it was about the outcome and rarely about the experience.
Over praising and focusing on outcomes comes with a price. We train the child that his value comes from these qualities and are amplified only if he achieves success. Of course, the admiration is contingent upon our approval.
The child will now attach his self-esteem and value to certain qualities instead of focusing on the authentic nature of who he truly is. He will display an image of grandiosity and do whatever he needs to do, or not do, to uphold these unrealistic standards.
There comes great danger from a young man who displays false strength. Being able to perceive real danger and adapt to threats comes at a cost if there were only attempts to hide weakness instead of conquering them.
A different path but the same outcome.
Like the child who suppresses and hides his true self with hopes of being accepted, the child who exhausts himself to exceed parental expectations may suffer a worse fate. Their value is based only on talent, beauty, or achievements, which will create an overwhelming pressure to perform and a false attachment to progress.
If you wish to be free, your value cannot depend on the admiration of others, especially on systems that can suddenly fail. Because failure is inevitable, the child will try and display a superior status and avoid doing any tasks that would make them seem incapable. They now are conditioned to avoid anything which they think may expose mediocrity in themselves.
Parenting methods reinforced with conditional and traditional approaches will miss these signals and only enhance these outcomes. Unconditional love in childhood is essential but is also a necessary building block for your growth into adulthood. The unfortunate truth is you can’t resort back to your childhood and rewire your brain, but you can help yourself and your child by raising the standards in your parenting.
It is difficult to know you were exploited in your childhood for the instant gratification of your parents’ needs. You will forever be an adult trapped in this illusion if you are never allowed to reflect on that lost opportunity.
The effects of this in the world are damaging.
The institutions we have now prey upon those who lack any real knowledge of who they are. This is obvious in our current climate of rage, frustration, and anger amongst young people. These emotions are reflective of a child who had standards they could not meet from their parents, or they suffered from a constant fear of losing parental love.
The constant theme is to empower, not for the sake of the child, but the group’s acceptance. This regression can be attributed to being raised, as mentioned above. The groupthink provides an illusion that these suppressed needs can be meet by merely belonging.
With such illusions, no one can ever really express who they are without the mob’s criticism.
Young adults conform to the group’s ideas in the same way they did to their parents when they were younger. They are not themselves and do not know themselves, so this refusal causes distortions of who they should be. These lies hold them rooted in depression with the thought of never belonging or a grandiose attitude inflated by superficial acceptance.
Everything is done in the hope of making others love or praise them. They must adapt to survive. There is no individual sense of identity that would give them support—only support from the group.
The problem comes when they need this constant admiration from their peers. They surround themselves with people not based on values and morals, but rather on a craving for affirmation.
In society, we are now witnessing these young adults that have an unrealistic sense of superiority. They believe they should be awarded favorable treatment even when their actions are mediocre at best.
There is no real work being done, just outrage and intolerance.
A path every father should go down.
Whenever we suppress an impulse or unwanted emotion, it’s followed by depressive moods. Since a child’s feelings are so strong, they cannot be repressed without severe consequences.
When we allow our children to be authentic with themselves, we open up their awareness of paying attention to how they feel instead of burying it. Once they experience this a few times, it will bring about a constructive change in how they approach undesirable feelings in future dealings.
They discover that they no longer need to sit in this pain. They are now free to experience the pain and move on without it controlling their behaviors. It no longer needs to be hidden!
Teaching our children that they do not have to earn love will set them up with significant benefits in all future relationships. They learn to live according to their true self and can relinquish any attachment with those that exploit them.
Fathers must make sure we love our children unconditionally and not make it a constant thread in our child’s life that consists of shame, oversensitivity, and guilt. If our goal is to raise healthy and functioning children to adulthood, we need to become more aware of our influence.
It would help if you changed your mindset about failure. We have to start caring more for our children’s happiness than for their success. Children who know they are loved regardless of their accomplishments often end up more confident and more likely to take risks.
To combat the irrational behaviors we see around the world from young people, we need to start in our homes. We need to raise our children to be resilient and dare to face challenges. Teach them they can handle anything, and they are never the victim.
As a father, you should be continually encouraging yourself to push away from mindless parenting. Don’t accept inferior methods that replicate ineffective results.
A child who was brought up in a home that promotes self-worth will inevitably have a passion for self-knowledge and the strength to affect the world in a positive light.