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Phase 2 of the Father-Child Relationship (years three to nine or ten): Consolidation of Affection and Solidarity with an Eye to the Future

Tags: , , , , , , , adolescent sexuality, boys, child well-being, community, culture, family, fathers, generations, love, MARRI, marriage, men, men, mothers, parenthood, parents, Pat Fagan, sex, sexuality, Uncategorized No comments

From age three onwards the infant gradually becomes a boy.  And this is most noticeable in his play.  

All children love to play. Most boys like ball games: Kicking and throwing. They love horseplay (as long as it does not get too overpowering… a judgement call by the father, child by child). The goal is confidence in Dad as source of fun and protection. The horseplay is for the enjoyment of the child– not the father. It really helps consolidate the boy’s sexual identity as male when done with common sense.

The observant father now will begin to spot the different inclinations of his children (and draw on his wife’s observations as well). Their inclinations and strengths become occasions for father to affirm his son in these (be they quarterback-football or tiddlywinks or drawing).  To be affirmed in his strengths by his father is one of life’s great experiences for a boy. And it lasts a life time.

Gradually, over the next years the father tells his children about his own inclinations and gifts: What he enjoys doing, what he is good at, what he likes in his hobbies, his friends, his fellow workers (learning about persons and life). What he loves about his life: His wife– their mother, about his children, and his friends. He does this not to boast but to illustrate to them that it is good to revel in the gifts life has granted him so that they too will revel in the gifts life has granted them. He follows this with his own reveling in their gifts. Thus, he grows confidence deep inside his children. This capacity for confidence and appreciation is the foundation of a great sexual relationship with his spouse later on—twenty years or more from this phase.

Children love to be read to, and the books the father chooses will have quite an impact on them.  If he knows books, he can direct their reading. His wife also plays a big part here. If they don’t know books they can use my wife’s “A Mother’s List of Books”[1] which contains decades of experience in choosing books that are interesting (they have to be enjoyable for the child) yet model good character (or at least not undermine it as most modern children’s books do, especially on the role of the father).  If you do not believe me: Go and check out the books in the children’s section of your local public library.  The tentacles of NOW reach deep into all crannies of child formation including this one… and have for a long time.

If ever in doubt classic fairytales are a good bet. Young children love them— that is why they have survived.

Though they love having stories read to them they are absolutely taken with stories their father creates for them— no matter how corny, no matter what his level of skill in creating or telling them. What they love is the love he is showing them. They will ask for more and more. And father can compose the outlines as he travels and works.

During this phase another great theme and attitude is laid down by the wise father: Modesty. 

Father will lightly form their attitude towards the bodies of others: Privacy of all in the bathroom, especially those of opposite sex. Boys do not enter their sisters’ bedroom, nor girls their brothers’. None enter their parent’s bedroom. Even with parents present, they knock and wait to be invited. 

A boy learns from his father that nobody else ever touches the private parts of his body… except Mother or Father when ill or the doctor in his office. No one else! And he is trained that he should tell his parents if anybody tries . Anywhere! Anyone! Father or Mother or both will deal with that person. And if an adult is the one who touched them his parents will ensure that person goes to  jail. And they will make sure their child knows that they are never at fault or guilty in such a situation. It is always the adult, never the child.  It is a pity, but in this day of sexual license and sexual abuse parents have to both protect children more and teach their children how best to protect themselves.

The boy is taught by his father to treat his own body well: Not touch his penis except at toilet and washing. He learns to keep it private: Hence these parts of the body are called “private parts.”  (This is laying the groundwork for teaching him about masturbation when he is comes into puberty.  Self-control during puberty, in turn, is remote preparation for the male being a great lover of his spouse later on. This is not neurotic anxiety but quite the opposite: It is preparing his son to be great in bed — without talking about it at this too early stage).

It is a pity but during this phase fathers now have to begin preparing their sons to handle pornography — by shunning it the first time they see it and coming to him with any question the experience provokes (and there will be all sorts of questions).  Father gets across that the body is sacred —-  always sacred, but that some wicked people exploit this.  He lets his son know his confidence in him that he will know when a picture is not right, and to always feel free to come to  him – or his mother – for they are the experts on the body. Again, with the breakdown in sexual mores and taboos this initial education in pornography is now needed as early as eight years of age… maybe even sooner!  It is a judgement call best arrived at by discussion between both parents.

Somewhere along the way… listening to his questions about babies and where they come from— father or mother give enough information to satisfy the questions asked, but do not go overboard. A light touch builds confidence in the son— confidence in approaching his parents on these issues— that father (or mother) will be his guide on this and he can always come to his father with any questions.

With an eye to the coming teenage adolescent years:  Making friends with other families you really like. 

When children are young they make friends with ease. Put them together and they play easily. Wise parents avail of this phase so that their children have good friends BEFORE they reach their teenage years.  Then when puberty hits, they have the friends of early childhood as their peer group in adolescents – all from good families, families who help each other through their children’s adolescent years. These early friendships will transfer easily to the teenage years and from these will grow many of the deeper friendships that emerge in adolescence, and among whom mixed groups will be natural  among the brothers and sisters of those they played with in single sex groups during this phase two.

Parents who neglect to do this will realize their mistake when it is too late to do much about it and their children have made friends the parents are not happy with, but at time when it is too late to do what could have been done with ease five years earlier: Shepherding them towards good friendships with children whose parents know how to cultivate character.  This has nothing to do with family income or status, but with the character of parents who know what character is and how to form it in their children.

The next phase covered will be early adolescence.


[1] I know it is a plug, but her  booklet is a classic — owned and used for decades by thousands of mothers across the country.  Email her at tafagan@juno.com for more details.  It is a plug.  But if there were a better one to plug I would do so.  There is not!

Rebuilding Our Nation One Son at A Time

Tags: , , , , , , , abstinence, abuse, adolescent sexuality, boys, child well-being, Dating, fathers, love, MARRI, marriage, men, parenthood, parents, pornography, pre-marital sex, rights of children, sex, sexuality, Uncategorized, youth No comments

The way to rebuild our nation is to do what all good men have always done: raise their sons to be great husbands and fathers.

As his newborn son is placed in his father’s arms for the first time, the young father (even if he cannot formulate the words) says to his son:

I give you my heart always and give you my time early in your life—  to bind you to me with affection (when it is easy to do).  On this foundation we will build the rest. Nothing else compares to this, not a successful business, nor great honors —-nothing else — except loving your mother.

My greatest task is to make a great husband and great father of you.

I will teach you what paths to walk so that you will desire to be good.

In your growing years I will be your guardian and protector.

I will protect you from sexual abuse.

I will teach you how to protect yourself from sexual abuse.

I will protect you from pornography within our home.

I will teach you how to protect yourself from pornography anywhere you come across it.

I will teach you how to treat your own body.

I will teach you how to regard the bodies of women.

I will teach you how to listen carefully to women and hear what they mean .

I will teach you how  to treat all women, so they will know you are a man of good intentions.

I will teach you how to spot and win the sexual battles that will take place inside your head and your heart.

I will teach you why you should not masturbate. (Your wife will thank me — without ever telling me).

I will teach you how to have the sexual control you will need for your marriage bed.

I will teach you how to date well, and how to select and court a great wife from among all the beautiful women you will meet.

My little one, because of all of this you are going to make a great man of me.

As men put this into practice, by taking sex-ed out of the schools and back into the home where it belongs, all of society will adapt around this strategic shift.  By exercising this basic natural right, every father will cause society to rearrange itself around his actions — in ways that restore social order.

The solution is simple though taxing: Fathers raise their boys to be great husbands and great fathers.

Rebuilding America One Father and Son at a Time

Tags: , , , adolescent sexuality, child well-being, children, culture, Dating, family, fathers, feminism, men, men, Pat Fagan, sex, sexuality, Uncategorized, young adults, youth No comments

To do a good job in raising their sons, modern fathers have to dig deeper into the nature of fatherhood, deeper than fathers ever had to in all of human history because of the Marxist feminist assault on “patriarchy”,amplified by technological shocks (the pill, internet pornography, etc.). Because the enemy dug deep so as to understand how to deconstruct society and family(see Shulamith Firestone’s seminal influence on 1970’s feminism: The Dialectic of Sex), men today have to dig deeper still. This may well turn out to be a great blessing because here after, men can pass this deeper knowledge on to their sons and in the process become better men themselves while forming their boys to be even better.  While the father will make the boy, the boy will also make the father. As Seneca said: “While we teach, we learn.” Understanding fatherhood better, men will live it better.

What ironic justice if “man, fully alive” develops as an unintended consequence of feminism. 

During the different stages of his son’s growth into manhood, the father will touch on fives themes repeatedly, going deeper each time, as he judges what his son needs to know and what he is ready to absorb:

  • About the physical and biological facts of sexuality (male and female) that his son will need to know during the next phase he is entering. It is best the son get this information from his father first — not on the playground from other boys nor on the screen from strangers.
  • About the differences between men and women. This is remote preparation for understanding and accepting the very different modes of seeing and experiencing things that are the ways of his mother, sisters, and future wife.
  • About how to choose a good wife.  Prudently prepared and lightly delivered, these nuggets of wisdom will affect his choice of a good wife.
  • About the inner moral struggle that all boys and men have to engage in, deep in their own hearts, on their way to manhood. This is a key point of identity between a father and son: That unique male way of battling to live well. This aspect is the core of a father’s formation of his son.
  • Sadly, about the dangers of abuse and pornography, which will have to be introduced early in a boy’s formation because of their pervasiveness. 

First Phase: Early Childhood

Well begun is half done.

The relational foundation of a boy’s sexuality is his earliest relationship with his father. If this is warm, affectionate and enjoyable the journey is off to a great start.   The demand on the father is one of time and possibly of temperament. Giving his time to his son is his greatest gift, always.  The more and the earlier the better.  As the child reacts with joy and laughter the father is naturally encouraged and rewarded.  The embrace and horseplay that father and child engage in develops his son’s trust and confidence. 

The task is friendship, the method is play: Anything and all that the son enjoys with his father. It can be tiddlywinks or football, drawing or singing, reading or baseball, fishing or hiking. Whatever brings joy to the child.

Also, this early stage is the time that deep friendship is most easily formed.  It will yield fruit in mid-childhood and adolescence when that friendship will be tested by the strains of that phase. 

With such a friendship in place the later phases will be handled with much great ease.

To be continued next week….

Two Major Reports on Sex Gone Wrong: Among Parents and Among Priests

abuse, Catholic, Census data, Census Report, church, clergy, MARRI, men, Pat Fagan, Paul Sullins, sex, Uncategorized No comments

Most people will not think of the recent Census data on Parental Raising of Children in Different Family Forms as an illustration of “sex gone wrong”—- but it is.   The child is the product of the sexual intercourse of the parents and the impact on the parents will last till the end of the lives of the parents… much better and benign effects when they “get sex right” in intact marriage, and much more onerous for them (and their children) when they don’t “get it right.”   The chart below shows that the proportion of parents “getting it right” diminishes over time, from 63% at the birth of children,  to 46% by the time the child is 17.

The second report is also about sex going very wrong for a very small, but extraordinarily influential, portion of celibate Catholic clergy.  Fr. Paul Sullins, Research Associate at the Ruth Institute and retired Professor at the Catholic University of America, has reanalyzed the John Jay Institute data, United States Catholic Conference data and Los Angeles Times data to yield the clearest report to date on what happened, its extraordinary decline, and now a possible inching back up again among that few who cause disaster. 

Here are three key charts from within the report for your study and your own conclusions.

The power to procreate is like nuclear physics of the atom: it is massively powerful when released — for good, or for evil.  And as everyman knows, no one is immune from sexual corruption, it is time for us all to reform and turn from “defining deviancy down” on matters sexual, to raising the bar higher again.

Sexuality and Dating

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“Grace” took serious revenge in an anonymous blog after feeling ill-treated on her date with TV comedian and filmmaker Aziz Ansari. Many in the media have weighed in on both sides. A bad night was had by both, much worse for the woman, but not great for repentant Aziz either.

The fall-out may be greater caution from men — much needed in Aziz’s world.  Clearly, neither he nor ‘Grace’ know where to find the most lovable, most enjoyable, and most cared-for sexual intercourse, with the least anxiety, least guilt, and least sadness. It lies where it always has: within the life-long monogamy of weekly-worshipping couples’ intact marriages.  The more a woman moves away from this type of love the more likely she is to experience what she fears most.  But who tells modern young women, or men, where and how to find this?  Hardly any of them would believe the data at first sight.  After reflection they might, for common sense and discreet observation of those around them would tell the same tale if they could overcome their prejudices long enough to look.

The massive irony of all this is that Aziz co-authored the book Modern Romance with much acclaimed NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg. In their next volume, perhaps they could explore the pathways that successful couples have found to sexual intercourse full of love, respect, care, and enjoyment in an anxiety-free, sadness-free, and guilt-free way, where both the man and woman honor each other, the woman feels protected and safe all the time, and her man feels much the same way … in a manly sort of way.

For the (ultimate) good of the child,

Pat Fagan

Fatherhood and Responsibility

Mark Regnerus, sex, social science No comments

Today I am an unabashed salesman.

Mark Regnerus, professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, has a new book called Cheap Sex which is a ‘must’ for readers of this blog.  It is by far the best book on the intimate relationships between the sexes (from dating to marriage).  Quoting from inside the cover jacket Cheap Sex takes readers on an extended tour inside the American mating market and highlights key patterns that characterize young adults’ experience today, including the timing of first-time sex in relationships, overlapping partners, frustrating returns on their relational investments and a failure to link future goals, like marriage, with how they navigate their current relationships.  Drawing upon several surveys, in-person interviews with one hundred men and women, and the assertions of scholars ranging from evolutionary psychologists to gender theorists, what emerges is a story about social change, technological breakthroughs, and unintended consequences.  Men and women have not fundamentally changed but their unions have.  No longer playing a supporting role in relationships, sex has emerged as a central priority in relationship development and continuation. But unravel the layers and it is obvious that the emergence of “industrial sex” is far more a reflection of men’s interests than women’s.”

For a more in-depth overview of the contents see George Mason Law School Professor Helen Alvare’s review.

The four endorsements on the back of the jacket are from world renowned social scientists. Roy Baumeister, social psychologist, now at the University of Queensland and one of the world’s leading social psychologists says: “This book is utterly fascinating, sometimes disturbing, occasionally provocative, brilliantly thoughtful and always informative ….”  Brad Wilcox, renowned sociologist at the University of Virginia advises “Everyone concerned about the plight of young men in America should wrestle with the arguments in this important book.”  Linda Waite at the University of Chicago, for decades the leading family sociologist in the US, states:  “Regnerus has a breezy, likeable way of telling this fascinating and engaging story.  A great read.” And Anthony Giddens of the London School of Economics, a fellow at Kings College, Cambridge and one of the most cited social scientists alive states:  “A magisterial study of the changing sexual landscape today…. This book will become a standard work of reference in the field.”

Can one get higher praise from the world’s top scholars in one’s profession?  And keep in mind what Linda Waite said: “breezy, likeable, fascinating, engaging … a great read.” You are guaranteed a good an intellectual feast, easily digested.

This book will make a great gift for your pastor, many of the teachers in your children’s’ high school, your physician, and of course, your children who are old enough and many of your friends and family.  If you don’t give it to them make sure they get it.  And make sure your county library carries many copies of it.

But first: get it for yourself and study it.

With an eye to the many love-deprived children of the future,

 

Pat Fagan