We now live in a culture where fathers are encouraged to be an equal partner in raising a child. Simply being in the household is not enough.
Jasmine Grant and Susan Reid are in their late 20's and both their parents have been married for years, but somehow the relationship with their fathers are almost non-existent despite living in the same household. They have 'daddy issues.'
Grant blames her father's nonchalant attitude for the gap in their relationship. "He is not very attentive, I doubt he even knows the subjects I took in CXC," Grant tells Outlook passionately.
"I won't say he doesn't have good qualities, because he knows what he wants and we do a few things together, but now he is like a wall," she explained.
This has affected her relationship with men, and none seem to meet up to her standards.
"If I see a smigget of my father in a man, I run. I wouldn't want a lifelong commitment with someone who just doesn't try at all," Grant added.
Nonetheless, Grant said that she still loves her father dearly. She does not blame him completely for the strain on their relationship, because he never had an example to learn from. "I think it is partly (beacuse he did not really have) a father figure in his life, so he had no one to learn from how to be a father," Grant disclosed.
Reid's relationship with her father just recently went sour. She told Outlook that she was always daddy's little girl until she started university.
"I was his tail every time I saw him, since he was a busy man. When things slowed down for him, we got even closer, sharing similar creative passions, and he was always my source of discipline and reason," Reid shared.
"I loved the arts and when I found myself drowning in a life that consumed me, it was he who came in and rescued me, and for a moment, I thought we were improving. But then, we sunk back into the routine of not speaking to each other," Reid confessed. Reid said her father no longer understood who she was.
He even helped her get her first job, but that turned out to be more of a roadblock in their relationship than a means of reconciliation. Her long work hours caused him to accuse her of being a party girl, something he found to be unacceptable.
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Reid believes that this breakdown of their relationship is as a result of the problems in her parents' marriage.
"I am just like my mother, so he would up and malice me, and I would not know why," Reid added. She feels having similar characteristics to her mother, made her father resent her.
The irony of her situation is that she also shares similarities with her father, and that also puts her in hot water. They are both very hot headed, and their passionate personas have them holding on to their opinions instead of one person standing down.
Both women are willing to try and bury the hatchet and Clinical counselling psychologist Dr Calvin Young, noted that it is natural for a father and daughter to have relationship issues, however, one has to be willing to break the ice and make the change.
In Grant's case where her father portrays a 'don't care' attitude, Dr Young said that she should try to educate her father and keep him in the know, so he can relate to things that interest her. "Sometimes fathers feel that because their daughters are more educated than them, they get intimidated, so it seems like they don't care, but it's the opposite, they just don't understand," the doctor explained.
He also notes that her approach will have to change. She would need to look for the qualities she wants, and follow that and not compare men to her father.
In Reid's case, Dr Young believes that she needs to have a talk with her father. "She needs to tell him she doesn't like when he judges her and it is not healthy, as well as remind him that she isn't her mother. It is not fair that she has to be feeling the brunt of something that does not concern her," Young explained.
He also recommends that she changes her approach towards him. "Find some different ways to make it work. You will get a better result with a calm approach when you are pleasant." Young added, "Sometimes no matter what you do, some people will decide to stay in their ways."
He recommends that another approach for Reid, is to force communication with her father. "Sometimes if you want people to change, you have to make the change. Change your approach and interest with him. Find more time, if you can, to interact with him on good terms," he advised.
At the end of the day, fighting fire with fire will not work, so Young believes that sometimes we have to be the change we want to see.
Dr Calvin Young is a counselling and clinical Psychologist. He can be contacted at Tel: 798-9484.