The Pressures of Being a Child of a Successful Father
Some fathers are very visible, prominent men in their fields, deemed “successful” by the world. This can cause extra pressure on both the father and his children to come up to perceived expectations.
Studies have indicated that probably the most difficult role in the world is to be the son of a successful man. In the late 60s and early 70s, the people who became both radicals and members of a lost and wandering generation were very frequently the children – particularly the sons of successful people. Two factors emerge from the research.
First, there seems to be an identity problem. The child of a successful man carries the father’s name, so there is always the immediate expectation that the son will of course live up to his father’s reputation. The expectations, therefore, are high and it becomes hard for a son to develop his own unique identity apart from his father.
Many of the radicals were striving for independence apart from their successful fathers. They often chose a different career line as a way of establishing their own identity. Yet it’s interesting that many of those radicals returned to the “establishment” after they acted out their rebellion.
The second factor, then, is a fatherless home. The father’s role of being prominent and successful does not allow him to stay at home. Talking about single parent families being a problem, but the successful man who is on the move creates a single parent setting also.
Perhaps the hardest problem for a successful father is integrating home and family life with this career in a workable fashion. The career demands often seem to clash head-on with domestic demands. Since there are pressures from both sides, it becomes crucial to set realistic priorities and keep them.
Another problem of successful fathers is bringing the “executive style” home and trying to impose it on the family structure. When the successful father is on the move and have a strong national identity, do have a sense of power, whether it’s speaking or knowing that people look to you for counsel.
There are pressures on both the child and successful father. The syndrome between the successful man and child – children is represented by the expectations on the child, which are probably unfair because they are too high. Teens need to have growing space to be themselves.
While there is a different kind of pressure put on successful parents and their children, the effects then are determined by how they chose to respond.