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Being a good enough father: the story of Ignacio, Alberto and the spaceship

Being a good enough father: the story of Ignacio, Alberto and the spaceship
Being a good enough father: the story of Ignacio, Alberto and the spaceship

Ignacio, 4 years old, tells his father: “Paaaaa!!! I want you to build me a spaceship so we can go to space…”

Alberto, his father, responds: “Well, let’s pretend we’re going to space…”

Ignatius: “Nooooo! “I really want you to build me a ship so I can go to space with you for real!”

For Ignacio, the need to admire his father was as important as the desire to be admired by him. Much of his happiness and power lay in the illusion of thinking that “Dad could do everything”. Feeling part of him – sharing his vitality and his power – was the step that would later allow him to “dispute” the paternal place in order to grow and become independent. If she could make his father the object of his grandiose fantasies, she would be able to identify with him when she needed to feel like a hero.

These sensations were gradually replaced in Ignacio for the ability to connect with his “real” father, with his virtues and defects.

Alberto thought about the occasions when he had been able to caress him, hold him, participate in the bath or make him sleep as much as his mother. He had the idea that his son, in his early days, noticed when he cradled him, the muscle tone of his arms, the security it conveyed to her. And that he also recorded his voice, different from that of his mother. Tenderness developed between them, demystifying the belief that it was an affection that was not permitted between men.

He also changed his diapers, helped him say goodbye to them, and offered him his hand as he took his first steps. She accompanied him to run, jump, taught him to ride a bicycle and perform pirouettes in the games in the square. At that stage they began to dialogue and created affinities in relation to sport.

He realized how much he had enjoyed playing with his son, and he thanked himself for allowing himself those moments, even though he worked all day. Dedicate time (not quantity of hours, but quality) to play “just because” with your child It was an extremely enriching experience, a way to connect with your “inner child” and your own childhood.

He also recalled his conflictive relationship with Ignatius as a teenager, wondering if he would have been a “good enough” father, when he and his wife thought “What did we do wrong?”. She remembered when her son would lock himself in the room and stay with the headphones on, or simply want to not talk and not be talked to. Or when she began to have secrets and concealments, at which point they both discovered that her minds were “opaque.” The illusion of “transparency” typical of childhood then fell, in which father and son assumed they knew what the other was thinking.

He remembered how much it cost him not to collapse in the face of Ignacio’s confrontation and rebellious attacks, while trying to maintain the limits that he assumed could be beneficial for his growth. And the difficult task of building mutual respect, giving responses that are not vindictive but exemplary.

She later had to prepare to build a relationship with her adult son. Ignacio felt that he had “permission” to attempt a separation from the family. He knew that this did not imply becoming enemies, distancing himself or forgetting about them, but rather that his “center of gravity” could be located in the creation of his own life project. At that time he was looking to form a couple, choose a career and enter the world of work.

The family system had to become permeable enough to receive the political family, expand and become more complex, with the appearance of new characters: a daughter-in-law, grandchildren, a mother-in-law, a father-in-law, etc

Thirty years later father and son laughingly remember that dialogue about the spaceship…

Answers to past concerns Albert They came with the “reward” that confirms the fruits of good parenting – as it says Donald Winnicott– that the couple of young parents today ask him and his wife to sometimes take care of their children. The father knew, then, that he could prepare himself to enjoy grandparenthood.

Psychoanalyst. Department Coordinator of Couple and Family of the Argentine Psychoanalytic Association. She is the author of the books “The Family and the Law” and “Families Alone”.

Source: Ambito

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