"It's time to amplify the conversation about social norms, when it comes to masculinity."
I couldn't agree more. This quote, which appears in a recent blog post by researchers at Child Trends, emphasizes what needs to happen in this country to improve the health and well-being of men and boys.
As the Child Trend researchers point out, men and boys in the U.S. account for:
Furthermore, "while suicides, substance use, and mass violence show variation by race/ethnicity, but the dominance of men is consistent in all categories."
The family is a primary vehicle through which children learn social norms. That's why it's vital that fatherhood programs address unhealthy views of masculinity and instill healthy ones. Too many men become dads while subscribing to an unhealthy view of what makes a man strong, responsible, and committed. They often pass on those views to their children in what they say and do and, just as important, in what they don't say and do (e.g. stick around).
NFI's programs, such as 24/7 Dad® and InsideOut Dad®, address masculinity head on during the first few sessions. Why so early in the programs? Because effective fatherhood programs work on the man before they build pro-fathering knowledge, attitudes, and skills. The fact is it's difficult to be a good father without first being a good man.
Clearly, fatherhood programs can play an important role in addressing unhealthy social norms that lead to brutal outcomes for men and boys. They can help dads change their views of what it means to be a man and, in turn, help dads pass along healthy views of masculinity to their children.
Does your program do enough to address unhealthy views of masculinity?
Are you comfortable challenging dads who have unhealthy views of masculinity?
Are you a dad looking for help? Please visit our Fatherhood Program Locator™ and enter your city and state on the map to find programs and resources in your community.