Why Dads Need Your Love this Father's Day--And How to Honor Dad Without Breaking the Bank!

How to Stop Shortchanging Dads on Father's Day

Margaret Mead said fathers are "a biological necessity but a social accident." But is this really true?
Do fathers really matter at all?

Today we're going to talk about why Dad's Lives Matter.

And as a bonus, 10 Ways You Can Celebrate Father's Day Without Breaking the Bank!


  • Do some men abandon their families and disregard their children? Of course, some do.
  • Does being a single mom guarantee that your child will have serious problems later in life? Not at all. And do many women pull the weight for all those missing fathers? Sure they do.
  • Can two gay men or two gay women do the job of a heterosexual couple? Research says yes!
So when reading this article, certainly I encourage you to allow for all the variations of parenting and couplehood.


Modern culture has not been kind to men and particularly to fathers. Film, television, and various media portray men as ignorant, arrogant, bumbling, fumbling fools or as 'missing in action' --abandoning and unfeeling.

Why do we subscribe to these overgeneralizations? And too, we often see father's as tough guys who are immune to heartache and disappointment.
Let's review a few common beliefs many people share about men:

  • Dad shouldn't have hurt feelings.
  • Dads not important
  • Dad can handle it
  • Dad doesn't need it
  • Dad doesn't live with me so he doesn't deserve anything.
  • Dad doesn't show his feelings to me so he must not have any.
  • Dad works so much that he doesn't spend enough time with me, which means he doesn't care about me. 

And why do Mom's get a comparatively disproportionate amount of attention on Mother's day?

  • Mom needs it more.
  • Mom is more emotional
  • Mom will be more hurt
  • Mom does more of the caretaking, dad just brings home money
But is this true?


The changing economic landscape oftentimes means that Mom is as much a part of the workforce as Dad. Only 25% of couples surveyed had the Dad as the sole breadwinner. That's a major shift from 50 years ago when 50% of couples had Dad as the only one bringing home the bacon.


Let's look at the statistics:

  • There are an estimated 70.1 million fathers in the USA.  
  • 24.7 million of those fathers were part of married-couple families with children younger than 18 in 2013
  • 21% of those fathers were raising three or more children younger than 18 (in married-couple family households).
  • 1 out of 6  or 17% of Custodial Single Parents were men.


The best way to look at the positive effects of Father involvement and engagement is to look at what happens when Fathers go missing.

24 million children in America (that's 43%)  of US children who live without their father [US Department of Census]
Children who live absent their biological fathers are, on average, at least two to three times more likely to be poor, to be obese, drop out of high school,  to use drugs, to attempt suicide, to experience educational, health, emotional and behavioral problems, to be victims of child abuse, and to engage in criminal behavior, and go to prison than their peers who live with their married, biological (or adoptive) parents.


When fathers are involved in the lives of their children, especially their education, their children learn more, perform much better in school, and show healthier behavior. Even when fathers don't share a home with their kids, their active involvement can have a lasting and positive impact.

Research shows that even very young children who have experienced high father involvement show an increase in curiosity and in problem-solving capacity. Fathers’ involvement seems to encourage children’s exploration of the world around them and confidence in their ability to solve problems.
They are more empathic, have greater self-control, self-esteem, and pro-social behavior.

Recent polls show people see fathers' role to be a guide and mentor for morals, and ethics, just as much if not more than the mother.
In general, studies show that father's play with their children more and are more physical but less intimate, more humorous and exciting.
In addition to basic childcare needs (food, clothing, shelter) fathers engagement in their child's emotional, social and educational tasks and goals, provides a strong counterforce against many psychological and social problems for growing children.


But do Father's feed into the mythology that men shouldn't have hurt feelings? Or that fathers should not desire any kind of acknowledgment for their paternal investment in their children? In fact, many fathers do care deeply about their children and are doing their best to help those kids lead happy productive lives.

But men have been inculcated with many of societies rules about male behavior. Here are just a few of those rules:

  • Men shouldn't care about others opinions, feelings.
  • Men shouldn't need or want appreciation.
  • Men shouldn't have hurt feelings.

These examples merely scratch the surface of the rules men must abide by in relation to feeling or displaying emotions. Of course the times they are a' changin, but these myths and societal norms are still slow to transform. Men internalize society's sexist ideals of masculinity. Often males spend a lifetime defending themselves from other men's distorted masculine values and are forced to constantly prove that they're not a girl, not gay, not a sissy, not emotional--all categories that traditionally have been maligned as weak and inadequate.

So Dad's generally don't make a big deal out of 'being appreciated' or getting family acknowledgment.  Despite their external behaviors, however, men do indeed have emotional wants and needs. Men do want to know that their efforts are appreciated.

Can they live without appreciation? Sure they can. We all need air, food, water, and shelter. We don't 'need' appreciation.

Bravery is taking a stand in situations with an unknown outcome. It is brave for men to take a position that their emotions have value. It is brave to express a healthy desire for appreciation.
Pretending to have no desire for acknowledgment or praise is a weak position and does not support true masculinity. Standing up for what you want is, in fact, more masculine than hiding your desire.

Of course, men don't do everything simply to gain appreciation. Good fathers act out of their heart's desire to protect and nurture their children.

So this Father's Day, lets help to reinforce that, yes, Men want Love and Appreciation too.
So remember Dad this Father's Day. Make a list of big or little things that Dad has done or said to you. Or simply identify the many little moments when he was simply there, present, available for you.

Because, whether he says it or not, Dad's want love too...


Don't have a lot of duckets for Dad's Day?
No buckets of Benjamins to spend on your Pops?
Never Fear--there's lots of great--and inexpensive-gifts for Dad that might even touch his heart even more than that new Range Rover he's had his eye on.

1. Music:

  • Does your dad have a favorite song? Arrange family members to sing it to him!
  • Do you play an instrument? Why not write and play him a song?

2. Arts and Crafts:

  • Have artistic ability? How about a Homemade Greeting Card with illustrations?

3. Mysteries, Treasures, and Jackpots:

  • Get Dad to go on a Treasure Hunt in the house to find his gift. Turn it into a fun game.
  • Create a Secret Mission. Set up a recording in which Dad has to go on a Secret Mission (hints: It might involve meeting Mom in a mysterious supper club). Be Creative! 
  • Lottery Ticket...with a note "We hit the Jackpot with you Dad!"

4. Brain Teasers:

  • Create a Crossword Puzzle that is specific to DAD. Put in things only your family would know, private jokes, shared memories, things you appreciate about Dad.   Go  www.puzzle-maker.com  to create your own Crossword Puzzle for Dad. 

5. Creature Comforts:

Dont forget the creature comforts--
  • A pair of cozy, but masculine, house slippers.
  • A cozy bathrobe he can slip into after a shower.

6. Pampering:

Yes, even real men like to be pampered sometimes.
  • Pour Dad a warm bath.
  • Give Dad a homemade skin treatment or facial.
  • Give Dad a home manicure--yes many men want clean, attractive nails.
  • Massage! Whether its a foot massager, a back massager or the classic manual version--your hands, offer Dad a massage for his tired feet, hands or arms, or if you arent too big and he's not too small or fragile, offer to walk on his back. 

8. Food, Glorious Food!

  • Breakfast in Bed
  • Create a Dad's Goodie Basket--go to the store and find all of Dads favorite foods and arrange them tastefully in a basket for a surprise on Fathers Day. Beef Jerky, Peanuts, Pistachios, Mini Colognes, Soaps, Razors, Gum and Mints\

9. Entertainment:

  • Buy tickets to his favorite sporting or entertainment or music event.

10. Father likes Mother Nature:

  • If you've already got the equipment, take Dad on a 2 day camping trip.
  • Or stay in town, take Dad on a hike and a picnic!


11. Attitude of Gratitude:

  • Make Dad a Gratitude List
  • Homemade Trophy or Medallion "World's Greatest Dad

Have a special 'Parents Day'!

Media inquiries: Please inform us if you wish to use any part of this article for upcoming articles or media.)

©2018 Ross Grossman, MA, LMFT 
Affinity Therapy Services


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