To wonder if a child needs male role models

(119 Posts)
sunnydayinoctober Sat 28-Nov-15 08:11:09

Hello. My fiancé and I are currently in the embryonic stages of our fertility journey for IVF/ICSI which we hope to start in early 2016 - exciting smile

One of the things we were both asked about was how we intended to ensure any child had positive male role models if he was a boy. My fiancé replied she felt that being a positive human role model was more important than seeking out men - that the qualities she would hope a child of ours would grow up with are not exclusive to one sex or the other.

I thought her answer was a good one, so agreed (I didn't really know what to say myself!) but I wondered what anyone on here thought!

Thanks smile

jamtartandcustard Sat 28-Nov-15 08:19:53

I think positive male role models are essential for both sons and daughters. as are positive female role models. I do agree with what your dp has said also, but as your child grows, they will be heading to friends houses for dinner and so on and if the males specifically in that house are not so positive, you don't want your child walking away thinking that that is how normal male adults behave.
A male role model can just be a grandad, uncle, friend, teacher. Just surround yourself with wonderful people, both genders, and I'm sure your children will be brilliant

twirlypoo Sat 28-Nov-15 08:20:57

I think your fiancé gave a great answer!

I am a single parent and for various reasons don't know many men - my family is all women too as my dad died when I was younger. Ds is 3.5 now and I find like your fiancé that being a good person is the important thing. Ds knows about saying please / thank you, opening doors for people, not hurting others and being kind because those are really genderless qualities and should be universal.

Ds has just started school and will have a male teacher in a few years which I am happy about as I think it will get more complex as he gets older. I'm not looking forward to tackling face fuzz and he has no idea of sport right now As they just aren't on my radar!

Congratulations on ivf by the way, I hope you and your partner have a lovely, snuggly baby soon!

Sighing Sat 28-Nov-15 08:22:08

What about your relationship(s) with your parents or brothers? It is of course important and inevitable that parents are the main role models and should endeavour to act in a positive way. However, there is some research that suggests (particularly boys) learning to interact and be guided by both (constructed) genders helps create better adjusted / more content adults.

mumblechum1 Sat 28-Nov-15 08:22:41

I think lads definitely do need good male role models. Dads (or dad figures) do stuff with their lads that wouldn't enter our heads ime.

If you have a boy and he doesn't have a dad, there are plenty of options; grandddads, uncles, cub leaders (don't snigger about that one - DS had a fab cub leader who taught them all sorts of dangerous shit I'd never have done with him; anything involving lighting fires, knives, hammering down water/mud slides down steep hills etc is always going to be fun!)

mumblechum1 Sat 28-Nov-15 08:23:15

Try reading "Raising Boys" - it's excellent.

hesterton Sat 28-Nov-15 08:25:42

It's a bonus, a good thing, but the stuff your fiancè is talking about is the crucial bit.

twirlypoo Sat 28-Nov-15 08:26:47

Ahh that's a good point mumblechum I take Ds to things massively outside my comfort zone - i try and do the rough and tumble stuff with him even though it's not something that comes naturally to me. I am going to increasingly rely on clubs / activity holidays so ds has that element to his life because I think it's important (and seems to come naturally to him so needs channelling!)

Writerwannabe83 Sat 28-Nov-15 08:28:07

I definitely think boys needs a positive role model. Well, all children regardless of gender.

My DS and DH have a special world of their own and DH definitely brings something special to DS's life that I couldn't.

Good luck with your IVF flowers

BathtimeFunkster Sat 28-Nov-15 08:29:35

I think raising a man can be tricky in a world where male privilege is very real and there will come a point where he will be bigger and stronger than both of you.

IME teenage boys need good male role models, particularly in terms of learning how to manage their own growing strength.

I think it is extremely naive, in a world where gender matters so much culturally, to think you will be able to raise your children as "people" that are not affected by gender roles and expectations.

UmbongoUnchained Sat 28-Nov-15 08:30:58

Girls need male role models too. Thats how they learn how they should expect to be treated by men.

MrsJamin Sat 28-Nov-15 08:31:46

Considering the stage you're at, even if you have a boy there's a good few years before he'd need particular male role models to know. The raising boys book sats that from 0-7 they look to the mum, but after 7 is when they fixate on a dad figure, so that's the age I'd try to find a great man to be in their life. It takes a village to raise a child, the saying goes, which is so true. Girls obviously need to have good relationships with adult men too.

BrandNewAndImproved Sat 28-Nov-15 08:35:45

Yes they do. My ds real father hasn't been around since he was 4 months old.

My lovely grandad died when he was 4 and my db went to uni when he was 6. He has got my dds df who doesn't leave him out, takes him out when he has dd ect but he's not a really involved sort of dad to dd let alone for ds.

I wouldn't of said boys needed a role model up until now and it breaks my heart. Ds is 8, he latches on to the older teenagers (15 to 20s) at taekwondko and the older boys at school. He shines when he gets any approval from his rugby coach's and taekwondko instructor and did a million times better in school when he had male teachers not female.

I can see him ending up in a gang, most gangs have older ones who bring up the youngers (as they're called) as he's so desperate for that male attention. I've done my best to find him good male role models but it's not the same as having a dad.

He used to make up stories to tell the other boys about his dad, he's missed out on having someone male on his side to play football and do boys things with. When he used to go to beavers they would do things like father and son crazy golf trips out ect and it made him resent not having a dad even more. He couldn't do rough house sort of play as it wasn't something I really thought of until it was to late. My stepdad would try and play with him (turning him upside down/tickling) but he would get so angry and really lash out as he just wasn't used to it.

It's a gap I've tried to fill but ultimately I'm not a man and it has deeply hurt my ds to not have a dad.

mumblechum1 Sat 28-Nov-15 08:38:47

That's really sad BrandNew.

Writerwannabe83 Sat 28-Nov-15 08:38:54

Oh brandnew - your post made me feel so sad. It's sound like you're absolutely doing your best in the situation you have though flowers

sandgrown Sat 28-Nov-15 08:42:19

Girls need male role models too. My father disappeared when I was young. I had a very distant stepfather. How I envied girls who had dads who protected and supported them. It has had an effect on my adult relationships. My friend remarked that I always went for "father figure" types!

sunnydayinoctober Sat 28-Nov-15 08:42:33

Neither of us have a father, unfortunately - mine died and DF's isn't part of her life. I do have a brother but he does not fall into the category of a positive male role model grin

Why do people assume women won't be interested in outdoorsy things?

I don't think that we are naive, or that we think we can raise a child without gender expectations. The fact is that when you decide to start a family, you have things you can offer them and things you cannot, and the things you are unable to offer them can either be fixated upon and therefore detrimental to family life, or dealt with cheerily and in a manner that isn't unsympathetic but is matter of fact and 'this is how it is.'

sunnydayinoctober Sat 28-Nov-15 08:43:03

A male role model, and a dad, are not the same things

DansonslaCapucine Sat 28-Nov-15 08:44:49

Well, I'm going to go against the grain and say no they don't. I would say the absence of negative male role models is far more important.

The best man I know is my dh. He was brought up by a single Mum. I put down his excellence, in part, to not have been brought up around lazy, entitled men.

Bigpants4 Sat 28-Nov-15 08:45:04

I think its essential to have both great males and great female role models. So that your child's future aspirations in relation to male behaviour/male contact are high. That role model could be a grandparent, a teacher, a cub leader, a mentor

sunnydayinoctober Sat 28-Nov-15 08:46:45

I do think that's a very interesting point Dan, and in another sense, I know of many single mums so keen to provide male role models that several are moved in and out over a period of time. Some may be kind and a positive influence as long as the relationship lasts, but the instability is still detrimental to the child's welfare.

Outcomes for children born to same sex couples or single women who choose to have a child alone are overwhelmingly positive at present.

VashtaNerada Sat 28-Nov-15 08:47:32

Your fiance's answer was great! I think children need a range of role models from different backgrounds etc but that can be from a range of sources including films and books. Yes, it's nice for all children to have positive relationships with people of all races, gender etc but it may not always be possible. What's important is being a decent human being for them.

BathtimeFunkster Sat 28-Nov-15 08:49:23

or dealt with cheerily and in a manner that isn't unsympathetic but is matter of fact and 'this is how it is.'

I think her response was extremely naive and silly.

You can recognise an issue without waving it away as unimportant.

It's not a reason not to proceed, I'm sure your kid will have two great parents.

But I would not think it was great if two men raising a girl into a woman didn't think it was if any significance that the child/adolescent would have no women role models in her life.

Fugghetaboutit Sat 28-Nov-15 08:50:47

Girls need male role models too. Thats how they learn how they should expect to be treated by men.

This x10000. I think it's equally important for both girls and boys.

If you have a boy, it doesn't mean he'll be into bugs and trucks and your daughter may not be into princesses and such shite.

My ds is 3 and always seeks out older boys to play with but equally loves playing with girls!

FlowersAndShit Sat 28-Nov-15 08:51:29

There aren't enough good, decent men to go around. I have been considering the sperm donor route, but all the men in my life (dad, stepdad, brother) are all abusive arseholes and I'm NC with two of them. I think co-parenting might be a better option.

Brandnew that is so sad and one of my fears if I ever have a son.

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