By Carl E. Pickhardt
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Extra resources for The Connected Father: Understanding Your Unique Role and Responsibilities during Your Child's Adolescence
While he feels disconnected from his daughter by her adolescent change, his wife (more deeply connected and committed as a mother) seems to be more accepting of this necessary loss, more able to process the pain, make parental adjustments, and move on. At this inevitable separation point, what matters most for the future of his fathering involvement is how he deals with the grief such loss can bring. Honestly acknowledged, openly felt, and fully appreciated, this pain can be accepted as a normal part of growth: For child and parents, growing up requires giving up and letting go.
To a degree, his job does make requirements he cannot refuse, as he should explain to his teenagers so they understand why he cannot always be present in their lives as much as he or they would like. “When I sell my services to an employer in exchange for salary I’m paid, I give up some personal freedom. Now the organization has bought my time and effort, and I have to work on terms they set. ” You must ﬁnd a balance between the minimum commitment required to hold your job and the maximum effort needed to get ahead.
Indeed. In our highly diverse, individualistic, complex, changeable society, adolescence is not some overnight alteration that suddenly confers on a child the readiness to assume adult status and shoulder adult responsibilities. It may well be in simpler, smaller, more homogenous, more traditional, 43 44 THE CONNECTED FATHER more stable societies, that children can accomplish this adult transformation through a short ceremonial rite of passage, and emerge prepared to inhabit and carry forward the same social and occupational roles as their parents.