A Son Seeking Father's Approval: "Disney Dads"

Early in life, boys learn to identify with their fathers.


Early in life, boys learn to identify with their fathers - a recent article in the New York Times brings up the Oedipul issues that arise from this (http://nyti.ms/HvBnDr). As this complex plays out, the boy will continue to seek approval from his father throughout his life, while looking for someone like his mother for companionship.

Marriage and family therapist Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil explains: "The boy often 'leaves' his mother too early in life in order to more fully identify with his father. This can cause problems and compromise men later in life in the way they deal with intimacy in women." Dr. Bonnie discusses this in her book, Make Up Don't Break Up, in which she looks at the wounding caused when a boy leaves his mother too early. "The reason men don't want to depend on women once they're adults," she explains, "is that they had to leave their mothers too early in order to better identify with their fathers, whose approval they sought and continue to seek."


Dr. Bonnie calls this the abrupt schism - when a boy leaves mother abruptly while he's still dependent in order to identify with his father and become more like his old man. "This can leave the boy still yearning for his mother's affection years later," explains Dr. Bonnie, "the mother is usually a pursuer, but the father is usually a distancer."

Boys don't make this transition gracefully and the wounds they incur affect their relationships with women for their entire lives. Some mothers have a hard time litting boys go - which means that later in life a man will disappear from a relationship if a woman makes him feel guilty about not meeting her needs; or he will feel that he is never good enough. Men struggle with this issue of never feeling good enough which can play into their own relationship with their children: Playing "Disney Dad" (taking kids on fun outings, buying them toys, and giving in to their whims) in order to buy their kids' affection.


This provides another glimpse into the reason why men are more reticent to open up - if they do so, they worry they will then need the woman with whom they open up; and they're reminded of how hard it was to leave their own mother. The New York Times article points out that this is the Oedipul myth in play, even today. "Men still go out on their own with the aim of seeking their father's approval," explains Dr. Bonnie.

But sometimes, the opposite happens, and the fathers end up attempting to gain approval from their children. Dr. Bonnie points to issues of divorce or separation, where the kids don't live full-time with the father. "In this instance the father feels he has to make it up to his kids, and he will attempt to receive their approval in a variety of ways." One of the most common ways can be when the father attempts to buy his children's favor by lavishing them with gifts or an overabundance of fun experiences.

This can still take a toll on how a son relates to his father, points out Dr. Bonnie. "He may see himself as having to protect his mother, if there's not a man around full-time. Or the son may try to prove to his father that he is already capable of being the 'man of the house.'" The father who is playing "Disney Dad" will seek out the same amount of approval from his son as the son did when he was going through the Oedipus Complex.

To see how fathers take on the role of Disney Dad, and win their sons over, and more about the relationship between parents and children, click here: http://youtu.be/vNTq_wwXeKA


Text ADULTERY to 82257 to find out from Dr Bonnie if adultery or affairs may be looming in your relationship!
Interested in a few dating tips from internationally acclaimed relationship therapist Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil? Text DATINGTIPS to 82257 to receive Tips and Updates from Dr. Bonnie!
Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil's best-selling book, Adultery the Forgivable Sin is being re-released under a new distributor and making its appearance available in eBook format and print on Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Adultery-Forgivable-Bonnie-Eaker-Weil/dp/15877681… Adultery the Forgivable Sin was also made into a Lifetime Original Movie starring Kate Jackson.

Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil, PhD, is also author of the 2010 New York Times Reader’s Choice Award-winning book Make Up Don’t Break Up with accompanying DVD. Dr. Bonnie is a marriage counselor treating couples, singles, and step families. She works with those considering breaking up, people who have committed adultery, and couples who want to strengthen their relationships damaged by resentment or unresolved anger, teaching people to “fight” to increase passion, bring back magic and restore the sizzle.

As a marriage and family therapist, Dr. Bonnie teaches Smart Heart Dialogue along with intimacy, communication, and connection tools, and counsels families and children.


Named the Best Local New York Therapist by the US Commerce Association two years in a row (2011 and 2012) and known as “The Adultery Buster” and the “No. 1 Love Expert,” she is the best-selling author of other books like Can We Cure and Forgive Adultery?, How Not to (S)mother Your Man and Keep a Woman Happy, and Financial Infidelity: Making Money Sexy.

Dr. Bonnie was named by Psychology Today and NY Magazine as one of America's Best Therapists and is presently featured and available now on the Discovery Health/Oprah Winfrey Network documentary titled "Unfaithful" (http://bit.ly/GSP0KB) and A&E on addictions. Find her on Good Morning America, on the Today Show's three-day series on infidelity, The Oprah Winfrey Show five times, and a four day series on Fox TV regarding dating. She appears frequently on ABC, Fox, CBS and NBC News, The View, 20/20, and CNN; and is often featured in USA Today and the New York Times. Visit Dr. Bonnie at http://www.DoctorBonnie.com.

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