We don’t pack. As noted by its authors on page 117 of their book, “the distribution of roles does not change or change at the margin.” Thus, the traditional model of a father who works as a priority and a mother who, employment or not, remains the main benchmark of children is still the norm. Equality has not yet been achieved, neither in terms of salaries nor in terms of the distribution of tasks.
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Still. Dance The Father and the new fatherhood, an exciting essay that has just been published by Editions Odile Jacob, psychologists Jean Le Camus and Monique Eizenberg trace the evolution of a function that has moved deeply. Until 1970, fathers were distant and authoritarian. They provide for the financial needs of the family and represent the law, intervening in education and mental development as a third separator between mother and child.
After the libertarian tsunami of 1970 and the legitimate will of women to work, parents who are sensitive to new ideas take a total counterattack. They are present from the moment of childbirth, even before, when they hatch in solidarity with the pregnancy, they have a direct relationship with the child and show their affection without any screen. Too much, says Françoise Dolto, who sees in this eagerness fathers “not only the desire to help their wives, but to replace their mother, to be” pregnant “by this kind of vague desire to mother, to be a bit of cannibals ”!
Competition or cooperation? As early as the 2000s, fathers chose, the authors say. “Given the bursting of family models, it is the needs of the child that come first.” As a result, roles become more sexualized, including the decoupling between authority and masculinity, and fathers’ early closeness to their children no longer leads to feverishness.
Assumed female part
“The man of 2020 is less afraid to show that we all have psychic bisexuality. The relationship with a child allows her to express this feminine part, without compromising her manhood, experts say. In any case, psychoanalytically, close or not, the father remains the third separator who intervenes around 9 months. “
Another current element that promotes paternal involvement? The number of divorces and breakups. “As one in two couples separates, taking responsibility for fathers through custody is a matter of fact.” And since stress dominates this society with a thousand activities, it is better to opt for enlightened co-parenting that sets common rules and priorities rather than tearing oneself apart in a struggle for influence.
Authoritarian and religious model
Why has the authoritarian model prevailed for millennia? Jean Le Camus and Monique Eizenberg list the reasons for the social construction and solidity of the institutions. The traditional family has been a guarantor of political stability and economic prosperity. But most of all, “Christianity and the other religions of the Book, Judaism and Islam, have converged to sanctify marriage and create codes for the education of children.” Catholicism has gone so far as to define the model of the Holy Family as ideal, with the triad, the Father (God), the Mother (the Virgin Mary) and the Son (Jesus Christ). ”
Hence the always pregnant pattern, despite the change of mentality, “of a protective and loving mother and a father legislator and justice.” While the three monotheistic religions favored “patriarchal family organization, and consequently male domination,” in Orthodox Judaism, “a child is Jewish if the mother is Jewish.” “This matrilineal mode of parenting partly explains the archetype of the ‘Jewish mother’ that clinicians are happy to call ‘devouring’, ‘heroic’, ‘intractable’ and see as a particularly strong figure.”
Eggless kangaroo fathers
These bottom lines have not disappeared. But the cultural revolution of the 1970s and the current identity revolution are redistributing the cards vigorously. So who is this new partner father? He is rather educated and progressive. He enjoys playing with his offspring and when he plays he does not hesitate to be interactive and teasing while the mother is more attentive and didactic. He also likes to talk to his children, but demands more precision and content than the mother, who prefers contact and simple expression.
Like his companion, he practices the gift of tenderness, the famous one caregiving Anglo-Saxon, and even replaces the mother if necessary. “When the mother is in pain, in particular, fathers can ensure the survival of the newborn. This is the case of the “kangaroo fathers” who take on the carrying of the premature child on their chest, “the authors detail.
The new father also knows that parental love is “oblation, that is, it has an open character that differentiates it from sexual love that is possession.” To love, for the parent, is to provide assistance to the infant and then to the child and to promote them. ” Less ego, then, and more help. c) Finally, at best!
Dialogue, yes, authority, less
His strong idea? Dialogue. With the other parent, whether a woman or a man – “in France, it is estimated that 31,000 children live in a single-parent household.” With extended family members or friendly families, with social partners (teachers, sports coaches, various teachers, etc.). And with the medical body in case of need.
If dialogue is at the heart of the logic of the new fathers, authority is much less so. And here, the clinician and psychoanalyst Monique Eizenberg talks about “crisis”. “Today, the act of authority generates in the father or mother a sense of guilt that allows the child to impose himself. He is then blamed for reversing the generational order, ”the therapist said.
Another recurring problem? The explanations-rivers. “It simply came to our notice then. The latter demands more and more explanations, it gives him a sense of control over his parents, but at the same time, it makes him insecure. ” However, “loving is framing,” psychologists point out. Who, as proposed solutions to regain this authority, invite parents to “reinvest the partner erotically, so that the first dyad, the two lovers, can naturally exclude the child.”
And they suggest to the father not to be afraid to adopt the figure of the “dynamizer”. “The model of the father that seems most desirable today is that of a father who, as Albert Camus beautifully wrote in The First Man, “Shows the way and gives the child blame and praise, not according to power, but according to authority.” A father who encourages the child, invites him to overcome and supports him in the difficulty. “A father partner and propellant,” the authors conclude.
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