Real Men Nurture and Care for Their Sons – Dr. Michael Kimmel

Moms should not be the only one’s nurturing and caring for their sons–dads should too. One of the places boys derive their view of masculinity is from their dad’s, and a robust masculinity should be inclusive of nurture, love, and care. Michael Kimmel, a professor of Sociology at State University of New York, Stony Brook and author of Manhood in America, said the following in response to an interviewer’s question regarding how to change the way we raise men:

And if nurturing and loving and caring is something that both mothers and fathers do around the house. If they see their mother and their father doing this…the one thing you can always count on is every little boy thinks that his father is a real man. So they will grow up to think that nurturing and loving and caring is something that grownups do. And when those little boys get to be grownups, they’ll be nurturing and loving and caring, too, because that’s what real men do. So it’s actually a real opportunity through fathering that men can be raising a new generation of boys. And I think it’s very important that we let that, that we encourage this because otherwise the alternative is really quite nasty. I don’t know if you remember this event a few years ago, the spur posse in Southern California. There was a group of teenage boys that were sort of date raping and sexually abusing a lot of junior high school girls. And these guys were keeping score of how many girls they had sex with. These are like 14, 15-year-old boys. And they were keeping score through the numbers of the San Antonio spurs. So that’s why they called themselves spur posse and they would just say that the number of basketball players that they were thinking about that day or the number whose conquest they had reached. And the mothers when they were told about this, were horrified. My boy has been doing that? That’s so horrible, I want to make sure he stops it. You know, the fathers’ response was, “That’s my boy.” Sixty-five girls, that’s great. Now I think what we have to do is we have to tap into the fact that men want to be good fathers. They want to have better relationships with their children than their fathers did with them. So I think this is a tremendous opportunity if fathers can model new kinds of behaviors they will raise a new generation of sons. [“Interview: Michael Kimmel, Ph. D.”, Accessed online: http://www.pbs.org/kued/nosafeplace/interv/kimmel.html (May 5, 2011)]

Father’s: don’t just wrestle and play and watch sports with your sons–hug them, communicate with them, tangibly care for them, and draw them out.

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