Better dads, better lads
July 17, 2007 12:00am
BOYS would behave better if fathers played a more active role in their sons' lives, a Melbourne expert has found.
Adolescent education expert Bill Jennings said the growing epidemic of "fatherlessness" – where dads were increasingly absent either physically or emotionally – had led to negative patterns in young men, such as suicide, violence and drug abuse.
Mr Jennings studied 434 male students across two Victorian schools in year 10 and again in year 11.
His interim findings showed boys' self-confidence was raised when their dads showed interest and were involved in their lives.
With self-confidence came long-term success, Mr Jennings said.
"Boys are more likely to prosper if they have a male role model in their corner, and ideally that's their dad," Mr Jennings said.
"Where a father is unable to take part for whatever reason, an appropriate male role model such as an uncle or even an older brother could step in."
Fathers had increasingly been absent in their children's lives because of divorce, long working hours or communication breakdown, he said.
Mr Jennings runs programs across Australia teaching boys and their fathers how to successfully navigate the rites of passage to becoming a man.
Former football player and coach Stan Alves, whose teenage son Matthew was killed when hit by a train in July 1989, often participates in the program and shares his personal experiences with the group.
Watsonia father Rick Chapman, who completed Mr Jennings' program with his sons Ross, 19, and Dean, 16, when they were each in year 10 at Parade College, said he made it a priority to be an involved dad.
Mr Chapman said he refereed football matches, watched concerts and ferried his sons to and from training and matches.
It was also important for Mr Chapman and his wife, Lynne, to go on a family holiday together every year.
"Getting away together gives us time to relax and spend quality time with one another," Mr Chapman said.
"You'll always be their old man but it's good to also try and be their mate."
(diposting oleh Jhoni Tuerah di milis FEUI'95)