Children learn by watching and copying their parents. Even when you think they don’t notice, they see all and want to emulate it. This underscores the importance of fathers setting the best example for their sons on how to behave and conduct themselves as men.
For the longest time, researchers, psychologists and other childhood experts thought that the mother-child bond was the most crucial one in a child’s life. However, recent studies reveal that fathers play an equally (and sometimes more) important role in a kid’s development by greatly influencing their personal and social growth. A father’s parenting style has been found to affect children just as much as their mother’s does.
Thanks to recent studies, we’re now more aware of how our roles as fathers shape our children’s lives. For starters, rejection by parents drives kids to become more hostile, aggressive and contributes to emotional instability. If children face trauma and parental neglect from a young age, they are more likely to develop low self-esteem, have feelings of inadequacy as well as have a negative outlook on life.
Teen boys especially already face a host of risk factors including depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and require more guidance from their fathers during adolescence. Lack of a father figure could lead to behavior problems such as delinquency, defiance, substance abuse and other psychological issues.
Conversely, teen boys who grow up secure in their father’s love are seen to have a better sense of well-being and higher levels of happiness and life satisfaction than those who don’t.
Being a Good Role Model for Your Son
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, it’s imperative that we fathers take a look at how we’re raising our sons. Regardless of what we think, our sons instinctively mimic us from a young age. We can talk to them, give endless advice and even yell but ultimately, they look to us for clues on how to behave.
We, therefore, need to model appropriate behavior for them to emulate especially when it comes to things like working hard, communicating effectively with others, how to treat women and most importantly, how to act when angry or stressed.
We can’t spend time yelling at our spouses, insulting people, denigrating women and slacking off then turn around and punish our sons for doing the same things. If we want our sons to be better, we have to do better.
We have to do our best to counter all the messages they receive from society about toxic masculinity and the best way to do that is to model appropriate alternative behavior. If you want your son to treat women well, let him see you being respectful towards women. If you want him to learn to have good social and conversation skills, talk to him, engage him in productive discussions and debates.
We may not have all the answers to what ails our society but we can make a decision to start changing things for the better. One of the most effective ways we can do that is watching what we say and do around our sons and striving to be the best role models we can be.
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