Fathers and Sons - Why Boys Need Role Models

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C.L Sulzberger, former columnist for the New York Times, makes a strong case for the influence of fathers in his famous book "Fathers and Children- How Famous Leaders Were Influenced by Their Fathers." It is important to note that not all influence was for the better of the child. Some of the fathers were as celebrated as their children and some of the parents were overshadowed by the fame of the offspring.

Leopold Mozart maneuvered his son all over the world showing him off and forcing his way into places that would advance the career of his son. Joseph P. Kennedy began grooming Jack F. for the American presidency when his oldest Joe Jr. was killed in World War II. Would the sons have become as celebrated without the dominating influence of the father? No one knows that answer. Nor do we know how many males could have become better men had their father just paid them a little attention and cared about them as a person.

Can and Should a Dad Be Part of Son's Life
The answer is yes. As a parent educator I have visited and taught hundreds of families and see many single Moms struggling to make sense of what their sons need and want from life. As important as mothers, grandmothers, aunties and female teachers are, boys need other male role models to guide and teach them how to be a kind, thoughtful and respectful men.

If the father is not a positive role model or is absent in the life of the son, the Mother should encourage safe adults to have an influence on her son. Finding adult males who will mentor and teach the boy is important. No matter how close a mother and son are in sharing food, housing and bathroom space, a boy needs to find a good male example to follow and emulate.

Coaches, teachers, ministers, scout leaders, uncles, grandfathers and neighbor friends can all play an important part in teaching masculine skills in a nurturing male environment. A good place that I have suggested to many single moms looking for a strong male influence for their sons is volunteer work. When you sign up as a family to volunteer at the Food Pantry, the males are naturally drawn to unloading the trucks together.

Please do not imagine that I want to separate the sexes or do not see women unloading trucks. Our daughters are every bit as strong as our son. What I am saying, is that if there is a male mentor, it will be easier for your son to gravitate to him while doing community work. It won't seem so arranged, but will occur naturally.

Studies have shown that adolescent boys have to know that they are important to a man whom they respect in order to develop self confidence and a strong sense of identity. So as parents we need to expose our children to as many respectful, honest, kind and thoughtful people of both sexes as possible. And if you are a Dad, you need to be involved and stay involved in the life of your sons and daughters. They need you and you need them.

Help Build a Confident and Courageous Man

Please go to www.EncourageSelfConfidence.com for a more in-depth look at the importance of nurturing self esteem in yourself as well as those you care about. You will be glad you did.

Judy H. Wright is a parent educator, family coach, and personal historian who has written more than 20 books, hundreds of articles and speaks internationally on family issues, including end of life. You are invited to visit our blog at www.AskAuntieArtichoke.com for answers and suggestions which will enhance your relationships. You will also find a full listing of free tele-classes and radio shows held each Thursday just for you at www.ArtichokePress.com.

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