I was raised by my older brother. He was both mother, father and a role model to me. Our mother passed away and he was all I had. He had always been judged to be “too soft “by the other men in the family, but was strong enough to carve his own path. He inspired me to allow my son to just be himself instead of dictating the old fashioned male stereotype.
If he was a young male in today’s society he would have fit in much better. Gone are the days when the male members of community were viewed through a narrow lens of just a sole provider of the family. Increasingly now, boys and men can now explore a full range of emotions and roles with reasonably less limitations.
Speaking from a personal and professional point of view there is still a unique set of traits that is beneficial to the growing child.
Though we have celebrated Father’s Day in June, let us celebrate all beneficial male influences in a child’s life: uncles, role models, mentors, fathers, grandpas and brothers. Here are just a few benefits to having male role models at home:
Males are perfectly capable of being strong nurturers and do it much differently to women. One noticeable difference is in the manner in which they play. They tend to be playmates in the game whereas women tend to structure the game and prepare for it. Many studies show that children who play with male nurturers may have stronger turn-taking, problem-solving and social skills. Whereas those that play with their female counterparts tend to nurture stronger verbal and planning abilities. You can see why having both influences would be beneficial.
Research and studies indicate a lower involvement in destructive behaviour in boys who have positive male influences in their lives. This role model seems to guide healthy gender identity and appropriate manners of channeling negative emotions.
Girls tend to benefit from genuine, positive comments from male role models – there is a clear benefit to their self-confidence. They also tend to have similar expectations from their future partners as they received from close male relatives. So, if positive, this can be a good base line to use in the future.
It is clear that having both genders as role model influence in a child’s upbringing may be a good opportunity to vanquish gender stereotypes and have a mix of roles in the family that is more fitting in today’s world.