Walk Like a Man
How to Raise Your Son to Be a Great Guy
The Father Factor
When it comes to raising boys, Dad has one distinct advantage over Mom: He knows where your son is coming from because of his gender. "A mother can certainly help her son become a good man, but a father can actually show him what it means—and that's very powerful," says Roland Warren, president of National Fatherhood Initiative, a nonprofit advocacy group.
How to Do It (for Dads)
• Be there. "It sounds so simple, but it's a profound thing for a son to have a father who spends a lot of time with him," says Warren. Boys get the message: Dad loves me, enjoys my company, and is available if I need him—which gives them a sense of security and demonstrates what good dads do.
• Treat women well. One of the ways a boy learns how to relate to women is by watching his father. "So when a dad interacts with women, especially his wife, he should be able to admit when he's wrong, apologize when necessary, and speak and behave respectfully, especially during a disagreement," says Warren.
• Get physical. Studies show that the kind of playful wrestling or roughhousing that many dads share with their sons helps boys learn to control their physical impulses and regulate their emotions. "In addition, the physical touch of a father hugging and kissing his son is incredibly affirming for boys," adds Warren.
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