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Child sitting on father's lap while saving money.

Fatherhood and Financial Anxiety: Pressures to Provide

Author: Z. Andrew Jatau, LPC
Published Date: Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Money plays a big role in masculinity and fatherhood. Growing up, boys are taught that money is a way to attract members of the opposite sex and that girls and women are more interested in men who are wealthy or have status. We’re told that we must be the breadwinner in our relationships and that having a partner who earns more puts our masculinity into question.

As fathers, we’re taught that our role is to be the financial provider for the family. Our ability to work and bring home money is the way that we show love to our family, and if we cannot do this, we are failures. We are also encouraged to be in competition with other men and make purchases to display our wealth. We may not open up to others (even our closest friends) about financial struggles because that would make us less of a man. The concept of money and finances is deeply intertwined in masculinity, and all of this can have damaging effects for fathers.

Financial stress is a real concern. Not having enough money to meet your needs and those of your family would be a stressor for anyone. But even with financial security, men can still face pressures to pursue and obtain money in an effort to demonstrate our masculinity. We may feel that our role as a father is strictly defined by how much we are able to provide financially for our family. We may feel inadequate and develop feelings of low self-worth when comparing our financial situations to others, even our partners. This pressure can cause mental hardships for dads and could eventually develop into anxiety, depression, or an obsession with all things related to money. As men, we also tend to personalize financial struggles, even when the situation is out of our control. We take on the brunt of the stress because we see it as solely our responsibility. This can cause us to shut down and shut out the people who are most important to us.

The concept of money and masculinity is something that I encourage dads to truly explore. We often don’t realize how we are impacted by the messages we receive as children. But if we’re taught that having money partly defines who we are as men, then it most definitely has an effect on our role as partners and parents. By understanding how you are impacted by it, you can begin making changes to redefine the kind of man and father that you want to be. The role fatherhood is evolving, and your worth as a dad and as a man is much more than your net worth. Your role as a provider is much more than just financial. It is also your responsibility to provide your family with happiness, kindness, support, and love.

To take a deeper dive into this topic, I invite you to join us for the Dad Talks virtual discussion on Fatherhood and Financial Anxiety: Pressures to Provide scheduled for May 20, 2021 where we will be answering these questions:

  • What messages did I receive in my upbringing about money and masculinity?
  • What role has money played in defining who I am as a man or a father?
  • What changes do I need to make to my relationship with money in my role as a father?

I look forward to seeing you there!



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About Z. Andrew Jatau, LPC

About Z. Andrew  Jatau, LPC

Z. Andrew is a Licensed Professional Counselor and the founder of Mylemarks, an online company that develops social-emotional resources to use with kids and teens. Through that company, he creates content such as digital downloads, workbooks, and children’s books. He’s an adjunct professor in the Human Services department at Old Dominion University, and serves as the Fatherhood Consultant for CHKD’s Dads in Action program. When he’s not working, he enjoys spending time with his family, cooking, and listening to music.