Emotional Support For Dads

In the United States, it is culturally unacceptable (or at the very least, frowned upon) for men to cry. Men who outwardly display too much emotion, especially vulnerable emotions such as sadness or fear, are traditionally viewed as weak and unmasculine. However, the fact is that men are emotional beings too, and men who stuff their emotions in an attempt to seem “manly” can experience in emotional and psychological issues down the road.

We are currently in the middle of International Men’s Health Week, which culminates on Sunday, June 19th – Father’s Day. In honor of this special weekly observance, I want to dedicate this blog to some of the emotional aspects of fatherhood. As your online mental health counselor, I am here to tell fathers far and wide that it is not simply okay to express their emotions – it is absolutely essential.

The Emotions Of Fatherhood

Fatherhood is one of the most emotional endeavors a man can undertake. Starting from the minute they first find out they are going to be dads and continuing through the rest of their lives, men often experience a vast array of strong emotions and all the thought processes that go along with them. Here are just a few examples of the thought processes fathers may experience:

  • Will I be a good father?
  • Will I be able to support my family?
  • How will I divide my time between my career and my family?
  • Will my wife and I still be able to stay close as a couple while also being good parents?
  • Will I make the same mistakes my father did?

As you can see, some of these thoughts can be more challenging and/or daunting than others. No matter how benign or difficult they may be, however, it is important for every father to learn to express his emotions as they arise.

What Happens If Emotions Are Not Expressed?
Parenthood is a huge undertaking, and it should come as no surprise that every parent will experience a myriad of emotions throughout the process. While women in the U.S. are relatively free to express their emotions as they come up, however, men may not enjoy the same type of luxury. As a result of our social stigmas, men may feel weak and unmasculine if they allow their emotions to show. This can lead to them suppressing or “stuffing” their emotions. Unfortunately, suppressing emotions can lead to a variety of problems, including:
  • Depression
  • Self-doubt
  • Cynicism
  • Angry outbursts
  • Self-harm
  • Health issues

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