How would you describe the role of a father? Full of majesty, serious rationality, often concealed? The traditional concept of unbalanced division of labor in the family, and the absence of fathers from generation to generation, also limit children's imagination of family composition. How can these "absent fathers" be "reset"? Or who can "fill the place"?

What kind of image is "father" in your eyes?

It has been said that the father represents safety and protection; Some say that he represents authority and respect; It is also said that the love given by the father is the same as the mother, and nothing in the world can be replaced.

However, if we look closely at the surroundings of our lives, in the relationships that our fathers are missing, their existence has a completely different appearance: sometimes they are looming, sometimes they are watching the fire from the other side, sometimes they are like legendary ancient mythical beasts, invisible and touchable, but alive in the hearts of children.

The influence of existence and non-existence will not disappear, but will deeply affect every family relationship, alternating from generation to generation...

Who is the head of the family?

Even as the times advance, traditional ideas are still rooted in everyday life and have become familiar to you and me as a family imbalance script.

During the Chinese New Year, women are busy in and out of the kitchen, and men are drinking tea and gossiping in the hall; There is a gap between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, being a father-in-law is like a stone statue and silent, being a son is like a sandwich biscuit, and he is in a dilemma; The little granddaughter took the initiative to clean and help serve the dishes, and it was not easy to exchange for a moment of praise, while the little grandson sat on the huge sofa, with his mother feeding and his grandmother's voice.

Whether there is in your life, maybe in film and television works, maybe in relatives and friends, you must have witnessed the above situation, and in this natural selection that seems to be dominated by "gender", to be honest, no one is easy.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Looking closely, society generally requires more women in the family role than men, as if they need to do more and constantly prove themselves to be worthy of love, while men who seem to be cooling on the sidelines and waiting to be served, as if they were arched on the altar at birth, often have a blank knowledge of "how to live a good life".

Men who have lost many opportunities to learn and try are invisibly shaped as symbols of authoritarianism; Women's hard work and tolerance are infinitely expanded, and they are expected to fill all the voids of reality.

When young boys grow up and become fathers of their children, they know little about how to care for their loved ones and how to express their love and feelings, and they tend to be blurred by the dilemma of trying to shoulder responsibility and mediate their own contradictions.

How does the absence of a father affect family members?

For individuals with low self-esteem in contradictions, in the state of not being able to face challenges, choosing to be invisible is the most convenient choice and a manifestation of human nature. However, a family in which the father is not present can suffer as much as the butterfly's effect.

Complaining wife, anxious mother

When the two enter marriage hand in hand, they are not only lovers, but also partners on each other's life path. Finally, with the crystallization of love, the person who originally agreed to share hardships and hardships not only could not make a difference, but even fled on the verge of battle, in other words, how would you feel?

The anxiety of raising alone, the resentment of a derelict husband, and the sin of wanting to run away from exhaustion are all invisibly invested in the mother's love and care for her child, and she subconsciously expects to make up for the loss and shortcomings of the other half through interaction with her child.

In fact, support and love from the other half are not only irreplaceable, but false expectations may also distort the child's psychological state and pass on the regrets to the next generation in various faces.

(Same screening: Where is Dad going?) Why is it that our entire generation is looking for fathers who do not exist)

Photo by Zach Callahan on Unsplash

Children who lack imagination of family roles

In a two-parent family, if the father is absent for a long time, the child may encounter difficulties in the process of individual separation, and it is easy to lack diversified imagination of gender roles and division of household labor in the family.

In the case of sons, no matter how old they are, they may still have a little boy who depends on their mother in their hearts, or they may become what people call "mom boys", or try to explore various sources, generating a yearning for power and worship of heroes to satisfy their desire for masculine images.

(Same scene plus screening: Men's Counseling Room | Father Loss Syndrome: How do boys without fathers and men who do not belong grow up?

From the perspective of daughters, in order to share the mother's labor and pain, they may subconsciously suggest that they want to become strong, present more positive traits in their personalities to make up for the lack of fatherhood, and relatively more likely to feel frustration and insecurity due to the lack of feedback from their father during the growth process.

In the future, when forming a family by themselves, children who lack the companionship of their father may also copy specific gender concepts or expectations from their original family, but inherit certain oppression and shortcomings to their own family.

Let the father be reset in love

In Chinese society, it is not uncommon for unbalanced family relationships due to the absence of fathers, but from the moment we understand the context and observe the unusual, we have the opportunity to change in our hands. How can we, who are in it, help the hidden father to appear, both realistically and psychologically?

Families encourage positive expression and say things that really matter to each other

Parent-child conflicts and family disputes often come from the concerns and needs of both parties are not understood, and it is common for mothers and children to quarrel and fathers to be left aside. At first, he was reluctant to participate, then tried to mediate, spoke but no one listened, and finally let out a lion roar in a helpless, angry and powerless mood: "Don't argue!" to end the chaos.

On the contrary, if you can respect each other's ideas, practice nonviolent communication, replace negative emotions with positive expressions, create a harmonious family atmosphere, and supplement the encouragement of partners and children in every discussion, the seemingly authoritarian but actually vulnerable party can also feel safe in it.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Dad is gone, but he can see love in other places

Divorce, death or separation, physically absent from the father, how should you look as a child?

Actor Xu Weining was two and a half years old, her parents divorced, and she fell into the inferiority of not having a father since she was a child, and that vacancy was filled by her grandfather, who loved her deeply.

In her letter to her grandfather, she wrote: "You gave me a full sense of love and security, and never left me." Also write on the birthday card: "To me, you are like my father." Love her, teach her, care for her, so that her heart is no longer lacking.

(In the same scene: "Know how to show vulnerable men, more respectable" All father's confessions are precious)

Artist Xu Ruoxuan also comes from a single-parent family, three sisters live with their mother, and when they grow up, they reunite with their father Xu's father, but accidentally find that he has cirrhosis, and despite her absence during her growth, Xu Ruoxuan still spends tens of millions to save her father.

Years after her father's death due to illness, she never forgets to remember every festive reunion, and in 2022, she sang "The Man Who Misses" with Xu's father in a solo concert, and even wrote her thoughts of her loved ones into one song after another.

Some love comes intermittently, some people are long gone, but as long as you are willing to open your heart, you will find that "love" is not only a noun, but also the most powerful verb in life; It exists in everyday life and in our hearts.

Another landscape: Swedish "latte daddy" culture

In the Nordic countries, which are known for their social welfare, childcare is not just a household task for small families, but a top priority at the national level, and they pay attention to the participation of fathers in addition to the mother's reproductive care.

For example, Sweden, one of the five Nordic countries, has legislated to give new parents 480 days of parental leave, of which 390 days receive 80% salary, and the remaining 90 days receive a daily allowance; These 480 days must be divided equally between the spouses, of which 90 days are not transferable to the spouse each, and the child will be deemed to have been abandoned if it is not used up before the age of 8.

It can be seen that Sweden has systematically promoted gender equality in parenting and encouraged fathers to participate in the family.

Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash

In addition to parental leave and childcare allowance, Swedish parents have the flexibility to apply to their workplaces to reduce the number of working hours, up to 25% of the working hours, although it is not part of social welfare, but it is an individual's right to childcare, and even if the reduction of working hours will reduce wages, many people are still willing to fight for more time with their children.

According to a survey by the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, only 12% of Swedish fathers took parental leave in 1999, and in 2021 it increased to 30%.

With the significant increase in the proportion of parental leave, Swedish men have also reversed their concept of taking children at home, no longer feeling unseemly or embarrassed, but often Swedish dads push dolls carts, or walk on the street with one hand of vegetables and one hand; When the weather is nice, I will take the family to a picnic on the grass and spend precious and happy growing up time with my wife and children.

(Same scene plus screening: [Vision Renews] Men also have 480 days of parental leave!) Sweden becomes the most female-friendly country in the world)

Swedish fathers who are happy to take children, hence the cute title of "latte dad", which refers to young fathers gathered in coffee shops to chat, coffee in one hand, baby bottles in the other, baby scarves and jeans, full of affinity.

In the eyes of Swedish fathers, bringing up children and managing family relationships is the joint responsibility of husband and wife, and in front of children, they also change the traditional perception of majesty and distance, are the most faithful playmates of children, and are also an important source of safety and intimacy between family members.

"Every father learns how to be a father after the birth of his child."

Being a father is not easy, once embarked on a journey there is no turning back, but it is an adventure that explores life's fun. Perhaps fathers in Taiwan do not currently enjoy the same childcare benefits as Swedish fathers, but the heart of looking at the family and living with children is worth learning.

Every role in life is a self-cultivation intertwined with blood and tears, and those who are willing to face challenges and are fearless and persevering, in addition to seeing more diverse selves and experiencing everything from a new perspective, love will never be absent in his life.