When family life oppresses the father, the relationship can be put to the test – what to do?

Becoming a father requires many adjustments, from relationships to life and meeting friendships. Then difficult feelings and thoughts also bubble to the surface.

– Having a baby is a huge transition into adulthood for both men and women, according to a staff member in charge of MASI, a support service for fathers with depressive symptoms. Henry Hittinen Miessakit ry says.

While mothers already experience changes in their bodies during pregnancy, fathers often start parenting from behind. Parental instincts often only begin to develop properly in boys when they are children, Hytinen explains. The father's role becomes even stronger when the child's food supply is not solely dependent on the mother.

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Many fathers are also taking advantage of parental leave opportunities these days. However, during that time, feelings of loneliness and alienation may arise.

– Many fathers say it's good when there are places you can go with your baby. But the challenge is that there are very few men among them.

It is often easier for mothers to maintain their friendships and networks already during pregnancy. Hytinen noticed that men either don't or at least they don't talk in children's groups on Facebook.

Caring for children and other daily responsibilities cut into the evenings and entertainment may diminish. Many men maintain friendships precisely through entertainment, so their disappearance may lead to reduced social ties later in life.

Working life and maintaining a relationship becomes a burden

Combining work with the often exhausting toddler phase is also one of the reasons behind men's anxiety.

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– In working life, should act as before. But Hyttinen wonders how he can do that with even two hours of sleep a night.

He somehow encourages families to get even a moderate amount of sleep for the commuter. Different rooms would be a good solution. Sometimes Hytinen found men shy about going to the sofa, but she didn't mean to be shy.

Hytinen also says that many fathers who experience anxiety related to work can function in work life but are inhibited at home and as spouses. While the father keeps his emotions in check from work all day, the spouse also has to deal with bad feelings.

In saving a relationship from the father's anxiety – usually from the time of the young children – what the state of the relationship was before having the children is significant. All situations are temporary, so it's worth giving the other person time, space and understanding on both sides. Couples therapy can also be effective, though not necessarily in bad hormonal couples.

– A client recalls with a smile how he dragged his wife to couples therapy during the last months of her pregnancy. However, this may not be the moment when you need to go over the dynamics of a relationship in a big way.

Childhood memories come to mind

While there are many causes of anxiety, Heittinen points out two other things that vary from person to person.

In his own work, he has met many men who struggle with the fact that life in a family with children is not as predictable and logical as it used to be, but reacts and changes circumstances.

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– It's quite an adjustment when things aren't going the way you're used to. It's like a new ball for a juggler who doesn't follow the same rules.

Another challenge is the many types of locks that are often born in childhood and learned to live with as adults. However, with children, they become more active, and the search for self and one's identity may occur as in adolescence.

– Family memories from childhood come back to mind, especially with the first child, both good and bad, Hytinen says.

My way, dad, not my mom's way

So how do you get help for anxiety? How should loved ones, especially the partner, react and be supportive?

Hyttinen insists that distribution of parental leave is often a way to help. Mother returns to work life and roles change. Man can realize his Father more freely and in his natural way. She says she asked for a practical tip: At the beginning of the day, you're allowed to trash the list your mom made.

A client recently told her that she found fathering challenging because she didn't know how to throw herself into the sandbox or floor games. But then they started going to the hardware store with the baby, for example, building things together.

– A parent should also do things they enjoy with the child.

You can gain perspective by talking to other fathers and family members

You can't overdo the conversational connection either, Hytinen reminds. He encourages serious adults to talk about things on your mind with your spouse and children, even at work.

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– Fathers also speak out in social media groups. There are many anonymous ways to participate in the discussion.

Already at the initial stage, you should be open-minded about the fact that you are on the edge of something new when you become a father, talk about your own feelings and look for perspective.

– If you have a good relationship with your parents, talk to them about how your childhood was. It's easy for us to narrow our perspective and think of something unheard of. But through conversation you realize that other people's family lives also have many things in common.

Sometimes there are subtle changes in daily life that bring balance to the mind. For example, could you gain more time off by switching to a job with more flexible working hours? Hytinen emphasizes that it is important to accept and realize that in parenting, everyone needs their own time.

– The need for one's own time does not go away with the Father. If you don't have time for yourself or the relationship, it starts to reduce satisfaction.

Additionally, you should always take advantage of all the outside help available, from child counseling to occupational health and other organizations.

read more: Researchers have found a link between father's stress and child's emotional problems – however, one important question remains unanswered.

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