Uncovering the Sources of Fatherly Estrangement

It’s Father’s Day weekend and peak wedding season; which after years of pandemic postponements may include some elaborate celebrations.  But not everyone is able to enjoy these gatherings of family and friends because of estrangement, and research has found that fathers are less likely to reach out for help with reconciliation and more likely to give up sooner than mothers in working to end an estrangement. 

According to a recent article in the University of California Berkeley Greater Good Magazine, on average, women are 10 times more likely to seek help if they are struggling with the estrangement of a child.   Men seem to feel that in showing humility by taking responsibility for their part in the disconnection, they lose respect or miss the mark for traditional masculine ideals like being obeyed, in control and self-reliant.   Showing empathy, acknowledging mistakes and accepting responsibility can clash with these ideals. 

Over the past several decades, however, more men are spending the time to create close relationships with their children that can survive adulthood or even a divorce.  Men are increasingly more emotionally involved with their children and with a little humility can overcome the issues that often lead to an estrangement.  Addressing past neglect or pain and practicing empathy can help pave the way to reconciliation.   

Today’s fathers may have a very different relationship with their adult children than previous generations. Aggression, guilt, anger or criticism won’t help build a healthy relationship.  Mutual respect, healthy boundaries, and a willingness to learn can allow for healing and growth within the parent-child relationship.  Support from therapy or a group can also be beneficial.  Sometimes, however, reconciliation is not in the cards and the best people can do is forgive, move forward, and look for ways to find meaning, purpose and joy in life. 

Learn more by following this link to StandAlone – online support for estranged people.