In today’s society, it is becoming more and more common for children to grow up in single-parent households. This can be due to a variety of reasons, from parents in jail to parents leaving the home – the latter being the most common. What’s even more common is that the parent to leave is in most cases the father; nearly one fourth of American children live in single-mother households. This is quite an alarming statistic considering the amount of children that exist in the United States alone.
After some personal introspection and experiencing a father that was there, but not really there, I decided I needed to write a post about the importance of having a positive male role model in a child’s life. Now, I know that in some cases, this cannot be changed because the father has either disappeared or just isn’t around, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that a male role model doesn’t necessarily have to be a father. It can be an older brother, a family friend, uncle, grandfather or teacher. Even though you can’t always control whether the paternal figure will be around, you can control who your children associate themselves with and learn from.
What is a healthy role model?
If you are asking yourself what qualities a person must have in order to be a healthy role model for children, then pay close attention because it’s quite straight forward. A role model does three critical things: 1. It inspires a child to be better, to go after their dreams and to learn as much as they can. 2. It motivates and encourages a child’s passion and helps them get to where they want to be. 3. It supports a child in every way imaginable and is there to pick up the pieces if the child fails.
The differences between female and male role models
A child cannot successfully get through life without someone who provides all of these things to them – whether it’s coming from a man or woman. There is a difference however, as males and females not only interact differently with children, but they also teach and encourage different personality traits. For example, a mother is more likely to be nurturing, comforting and protective – emphasizing and experiencing more of the emotional and spiritual qualities with the child, while a father is more likely to be strong, playful and loud – encouraging a more risk taking and laid back attitude. Although all of these qualities are beneficial for the mental and physical growth of a child, they are less likely to be effective on their own. There needs to be a state of equilibrium in order to bring up a well-balanced and confident individual. Research shows that children who fail to have this balance in their lives are more likely to behave more aggressively, participate in illegal activities, abuse drugs or alcohol and do poorly in school. This is why it is so critical that there is both a female and male presence in the upbringing of a child, whether these people are related to the child or not.
What about single mothers?
I know single mothers out there are consistently struggling to make ends meet, so although it may seem like an added stress when there isn’t a male figure around, there is hope when people recognize that that person doesn’t need to be the father. As mentioned above, a male role model can be found in many different instances. It is the responsibility of the mother to introduce and foster the desire to find a leading male in the child’s life. Because at the end of the day, it is the experiences and relationships a child has that defines who he or she will become, and it is your job as mothers, or fathers, to make sure that your child is inspired, motivated and supported in everything that they do.
What does this mean for leaders?
In my experience coaching leaders, I have found a correlation between issues with professional relationships and issues rooted from childhood. Once I have gotten deeper with my clients, we see that a lot of their disfunction they’re experiencing now in the workplace often stems from issues of the past that can include mental or physical abuse.
If you think this could be a problem you are facing, don’t hesitate to reach out. We can discuss what you are dealing with and decide if you could benefit from coaching.
If you don’t think coaching is for you, you can check out my book I wrote on childhood abuse that is here to help other leaders, as well as spread awareness for domestic violence.
Learn more here: https://www.amazon.com/Other-Side-Anger-Search-Peace