Fathers willing to be actively involved can play an important role in the lives of their sons. Other male role models may add to a boy's understanding of manhood, but a father is the most important connection in a boy’s life, writes Roland Warren, a father and former president of the National Fatherhood Initiative, in the Huffington Post article, “Father-Son Relationships: The Things Every Boy Needs From His Dad.” A father is a primary role model, helping his son learn what it means to be a man.
What is a Man?
Your son looks at you and learns what it takes to be a man, according to Jeffrey Rosenberg and W. Bradford Wilcox in a Child Welfare Information Gateway article, “The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children.” If you are nurturing, loving, strong, self-controlled and honorable, your son will emulate those qualities. If you are emotionally distant, preoccupied and uninterested, he will also learn those qualities.
Fathers teach boys how to treat and relate to women, according to Rosenberg and Wilcox. If you love the boy’s mother, even if you are not married, your son learns to treat women with care and love. You demonstrate how to deal with conflict and how to make relationships work when you deal with his mother appropriately. If you are an attentive husband and father, providing for the family’s basic needs financially and emotionally, your son grows up with the knowledge necessary to build a successful and loving family.
When you take an active role in your son’s life, especially when you are in the home, your son displays a higher intelligence, better academic progress and better social skills, according to Rosenberg and Wilcox. You can help him with his lessons, communicating that academics are important. Read to and with him, increasing his vocabulary and cognitive skills. Your influence helps him deal with the stress and frustration that can accompany education.
Fathers help develop and teach moral behavior, according to a report from the Pew Research Center. The report says that 58 percent of Americans feel a child’s moral education should be a top priority, scoring higher than providing for the child financially or discipline. Tell your son stories that illustrate right from wrong. Include stories about your past. What were the mistakes you learned from? What decisions did you make? Talk about the consequences of poor morals and the qualities most important to a man.
Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.