1. Parenting
Send to a Friend via Email

Finding Positive Male Role Models for Children

By

Man and Teenager
Photo courtesy of Getty Images/Digital Vision
While we talk frequently about the need for fathers in the lives of children, we also recognize that not all children have or can have a father in their life. Perhaps the father never was a part of their lives, or maybe due to divorce or abandonment, the father has abidcated his important responsibility. There are also cases where Dad died an untimely death and left Mom alone to raise the children. In whatever case, children can benefit from having a good, positive and responsible male role model in their lives.

If your child is in this situation, or you know a child who is fatherless, here are some ways and places to look for these positive role models to help a child learn about how men are and should be.

Grandfathers can be a good role model. While they are often older and maybe not still the camping and fishing type, a good grandfather can make all the difference in establishing a good role model relationship with grandchildren. And they are often very happy to step into that role because of the emotional connections that exist between a grandfather and his grandchildren. So, if the children's grandfather is a responsible man, help them connect with him. Create opportunities to visit with him, either in person or perhaps online if he is some distance away. Stories from his youth that teach valuable lessons can also be shared along the way. Grandfathers who bring that positive male role model experience can be priceless to children growing up without a dad.

Uncles, cousins or older siblings can also be good role models. When there is not a father in the picture, other family members who are responsible and loving men can step in to help fill the gap. Look around the immediate family or extended family for men who could be good role models. They are sometimes easier to find and more willing to help than those outside of the home.

Sports coaches, scout leaders and other involved men can fill that role. Often our children have other men in their lives that can be good male role models. Think about a youth soccer coach who is maybe the father of one of the children's friends. Getting them involved in Scouting can be a good way to connect them with excellent and committed men who cna help them learn what manhood is about. Or simply learning about their friends' fathers and finding one who is a good example can help connect the kids with a strong and exemplary male in their lives.

Church leaders and teachers could be considered. I have a neighbor in my local church congregation who lost her husband to a premature heart attack. Her children have lots of good male role models, and many of them come from our local church. They may be youth advisers or pastors who work closely with young people or they could be just men who are good examples of what men should be. If your children aren't part of a church community, you may want to consider getting involved.

School teachers can be powerful forces for good. While not every child has access to a male school teacher for their own class, there are often male teachers in elementary schools who can be invited to serve as a good male role model for a fatherless child. Some of these teachers are involved in mentoring youth in extracurricular activities or clubs and you may consider getting your child in one led by a special school teacher.

Every child needs a good male role model to help them in their growing up years. It is ideal if that role model can be their father, but when that is not possible or such a relationship might put a child in danger, it is good to find them another positive male role model. It is worth the effort to find and help them connect with such a role model and their lives will be better and more balanced as a result.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.