The Importance of Male Role Models for Boys

We hear a lot about the importance of female role models for girl’s self-esteem. We critique female celebrities for their lack of self-respect, claiming it sets a bad example for our daughters, young sisters and female young ones. Yet, we rarely talk about the importance and subsequent lack of male role models.  I want to address this issue today.

Why We Need Male Role Models:

1) We need male role models for males

Teen males especially are lacking other strong, moral and intelligent men to look up to.  In fact, many parents email me with questions about their troubled teen boy who is dabbling in drugs, partying and procrastination.  They ask about boot camps, counselors and groundings. These are viable options, but all second choices to finding a male role model to talk to.  Younger male role models in their 20’s can have more success in relating to teens and kids, but older role models can also do the trick.  Close family members (dad, brother) are great on a daily basis, but outside friends or distant families can be better in crisis (cousins, uncles, coaches, neighbors).

2) We need male role models for females

We cannot underestimate the power of male role models for females.  I have been to many wonderful self-esteem and girl workshops and they are usually run by women. While this is a wonderful way for girls to relate to women, it is also important for them to see how respectful strong men can be to the girls and themselves.  When girls see this, they know they can pick a man (and raise men) later in life with high moral and intellectual standards.  They also see that respect is a universal issue, not just a female one.

3) We need them to be famous

There is an underlying notion for boys that when you are a male with money, success or fame you do not need to be a good person.  We see famous or successful male celebrities who treat their own bodies and other people with disrespect.  There are a few great famous male role models, but they are becoming few and far between and as a society we do not put emphasis on them.  We do not typically reward those celebrities with buying more of their CDs or talking about their shows. We give them the same amount of attention as poor celebrity role models.

4) We need them not to be famous

On the flip side, we also need male role models who are not famous.  We need men who are reachable, attainable and highly visible to the younger males in our lives.  The average person only sees a small glimpse of a male celebrity’s life (or PR campaign), where as people we know can demonstrate to their younger male counter parts how respect and morals dictate all areas of their life—love, work and play.

5) We need to need them

We do not talk about how much we need male role models.  I am trying to put more of an emphasis on male role models in my writing and when I give advice. I truly think that having strong men in the lives of teen and young boys could be a wonderful motivator and help.

I also know a few great men who do not know how to reach out to teen boys in their lives (younger cousins, nephews, friend’s kids) although they are open to doing so.  I encourage everyone reading to think about the strong male figures in your life and introduce them to a younger teen or boy as a mentorship friendship.

4 Responses to “The Importance of Male Role Models for Boys”

  1. Dawn C. Smith
    June 28, 2010 at 8:31 pm #

    Boys are much more easier to influence than girls. Without male role model to look up to, there is a big change that they could be troubled teens. My son start taking drugs and alcohol after my husband died. This is because he no longer have someone to look up to. He admire his father so much that he wanted to became a soldier too. But everything changed after our tragic accident.

    Right now I’m sending him in a wilderness program for troubled teens held in our community. This is a big help for him because he then again have male role models to look up too (our Pastor). I just wish everything will go back to normal once again.

  2. Traci
    July 6, 2010 at 11:10 am #

    Great post!!! I grew up without a father and it surely affected my relationships with boys. I had to eventually “work on myself” and gain the self-confidence I needed that my father should have provided. Also, my brothers suffered from not having a strong male role model in their lives. They dealt with issues like depression, anger, lack of self-confidence (which later turned into arrogance), and selfishness. I really like how you pointed out the importance of BOTH boys and girls really needing a father figure in their lives. And if they can’t have to one God gave them….just having a strong male in their lives who truly cares about them can make a world of difference! :-)

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