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Dads Can Help Boys Keep Friends
Niobi Way has researched boys for over two decades. In her research, she stumbled upon a link that seemed to go against previous fatherly influence on a son’s life.
Way’s research findings points to her thesis, which is: “Boys want close friendships. Boys are equipped to foster close friendships. Boys, in fact, rock at close friendships. Until they approach adulthood.”
Way's research links healthy, intimate friendships among boys with lower rates of bullying, better physical health, longer life spans, less drug and alcohol abuse and better academic performance.
Research suggests that the time at which most boys start to drift from their close friends is around age 15 or 16 - corresponds precisely with the time at which suicide rates for boys jump to five times the rate of girls.
"The question isn't how do we teach our boys to have relationships," Way says. "It's how do we teach them to hang on to them. How do we help them maintain the friendships they already have into adulthood?"
This is where Dads come in. Fathers have a lot of say in how boys engage in relationships as they grow up. Fathers need to model friendship for their sons. Be involved in their sons’ lives. For instance, take your son and you son’s friends along on camping trips to foster continual involvement.
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