By Richard “RJ” Jaramillo
Founder of SingleDad.com
As the editor and life coach on SingleDad.com, I have noticed a growing number of members who say that they are getting lost with their identities and roles in their household environment. Whether an issue of parenting, fatherhood, or just manhood subjects, we are experiencing a problem today in identifying with these gender roles.
This is not a conversation on how to “man up” under certain situations, but rather asking the bigger question, “What does being a man mean today in your household?”
Now many of you dads out there are experiencing some form of challenge on this subject. SingleDad is going to offer some explanation for today’s state of confusion on the subject of manhood, fatherhood and parenting.
The “Who Am I Now” Personality
Life is in motion and we have to understand that our lives are in constant change as a man. This change can be brought on by divorce. On average, 50% of all marriages end in divorce and more than half of those marriages that end have children involved.
When you are dealing with divorce, you are also dealing with the new form of fatherhood identity. This new identity carries a few labels in society and many of them are negative.
If you are a newly divorced father, society looks to you with an abundance of skepticism. It doesn’t help that most of the time, bad fatherhood behavior overshadows the good role models with the media. There is a lot of anxiety created in this whole new role in life and the general question arises to most divorced men, “Who am I now?”
“Now” is meaning the new role and lifestyle as a newly divorced dad. The everyday stress and pressures of balancing your joint custody schedule and keeping a career intact in today’s economy are at an all time high. Living paycheck to paycheck and making sure that your household finances are keeping up with child support, alimony and your own household bills is enough to drive a man crazy.
This daily pressure makes it easy for a man to compromise who he is and what he is feeling. Keeping the peace to avoid more costly family court time and time away from work is the only alternative in this environment.
There is no room for error or being outspoken with unhappiness in the life of a single parent. No time to think and no time to identify feelings at this stage of our manhood, fatherhood, and parenthood. Staying quiet and moving forward is better than losing a job and causing conflict in the co-parenting relationship.
The “who am I now?” is the new fatherhood personality that a man has adopted because his survival skills have kicked in to protect his fragile environment. His manhood and fatherhood has turned transparent to the pressures of his economic environment.
The Bar Is So Low… On Parenting
The bar has dropped so low in regards to the standards of parenting our children these days and I want to blame technology. Technology has killed the family environment because it is caused the distance and disconnect in our parental relationships with our children.
Dads need to wise up. We just don’t see the growing relationship gap that technology is causing. I see too many families in restaurants sitting at tables attached to some gadget.
It’s tragic to see the way these families function together. Daddy is busy screening work calls. Mommy is busy on a three–way text with her girlfriends. Johnny is busy playing the newest warfare game on his portable PSP and his sister Suzy is busy reading the latest e-book at the dinner table on her iPad. You get the picture. Nobody is connecting.
We have lost touch with our children and we are living in an age of the cold, detached, Internet family. The bar has been placed so low on parenting these days that it doesn’t take much to improve on it.
We need to take back our place in the leadership role and lead by example and put technology in its place and away from family time. Stop the madness and show your family that the most valuable family resource is quality time together.
Dads need to unite and take a stand to this family crisis. Just say NO to technology during family time. Every father needs to take a stand for parenthood and that time is now.
Hopefully, the time to rescue your family from technology will not be one of tragic circumstances; it will be a moment you choose to make a difference in your legacy as a man, father and parent.
Since the bar has been so low on parenting, it will not take much to see and feel a noticeable improvement in your family. Fatherhood is about leadership. Leading by example is the one true virtue on getting life back in order. I have seen the results in my family and I know you can do it, too.
I am optimistic on the state of manhood, fatherhood and parenthood. I believe that our current state of the economy is going to change for the better and this change will create a positive platform for all fathers to rediscover their manhood. A new, re-energized voice for manhood and fatherhood is coming soon.
Life is about change and parenting follows the same, unpredictable path of change. The stage is set on what we have to deal with in today’s parenting environment. Too much of a good thing like technology can hurt us and we have discovered how it has caused distance and dysfunction in the family.
I believe that most fathers will recognize this parenting problem and know how to address this issue. Leadership by example and setting a better example as a parent will bring the connected family back from the Internet family.
Richard “RJ” Jaramillo, 45, is the founder of SingleDad.com, a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single father with children. RJ is a self-employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents “Make Life Happen…Again!”