The Importance of Positive Male Role Models

Many boys today do not know what it means to be a man because they do not have a man in their lives. Sadly, children will go to bed tonight without saying goodnight to their father because he just is not there.

Single Parent Statistics

According to 2017 U.S. Census Bureau, out of about 12 million single parent families with children under the age of 18, more than 80% were headed by single mothers. Nearly one-fourth of America’s children live in mother-only families.

Of all single-parent families in the U.S., single mothers make up the majority.

Once largely limited to poor women and minorities, single motherhood is now becoming the new “norm”.

This prevalence is due in part to the growing trend of children born outside marriage — a societal trend that was virtually unheard of decades ago.

Of the children living with their mothers, 35 percent never see their father. And, 24 percent see their fathers less than once a month.

About 4 out 10 children were born to unwed mothers. Nearly two-thirds were born to mothers under the age of 30.

Today 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 — a total of about 17.2 million — are being raised without a father.

The Positive Male Role Model

More than likely, a woman teaches them at school and at home. So, where do they see and interact with positive male role models? Or, how do the boys learn what it means to be a man? Television? Movies? On the street?

Even in homes where the father is present, research shows that the average father spends less than 10 minutes a day one-on-one with his child. In our society, emotional, and spiritual fatherlessness is becoming the norm. Many of today’s fathers did not have positive role models to show them how to be a father, so they are not there to show their children what it means to be a father.

No matter how great a mother is, she cannot replace what a father provides to a child. Irrefutable research shows that while mothers are typically nurturing, soft, gentle, comforting, protective, and emotional, fathers tend to encourage risk-taking and to be challenging, prodding, loud, playful, and physical. Children need a balance of protection and reasonable risk-taking. If a positive male role model isn't around, there is a void in this child's life. Children without positive male role models are more likely to be involved in criminal activity, premarital sexual activity, do poorer in school, and participate in unhealthy activities.

Studies have shown that involvement of a father or a positive male role model has profound effects on children. Father-child interaction promotes a child’s physical well-being, perceptual ability, and competency for relating with others. Furthermore, these children demonstrate greater ability to take initiative and evidence self-control.

5 Essential Qualities of Good Father Role Models

A father should role model a positive intrinsic value system—intrinsic meaning “from within yourself.” My personal mantra and advice to fathers is to role model kindness. Author and naturalist Greg Henry Quinn states that “you will never have a completely bad day if you show kindness at least once.” Be kind to your children—this will show them how to be kind to your grandchildren. Any role modelling to a child, good or bad, lasts a lifetime.

A father has life-enhancing potential. A good father will develop happy and healthy children who see their father as the ideal role model. These children will also have their father’s values and their behaviour will reflect this. The alternative is a father who will either embitter a child or leave the child unable to meet his ever-changing perfectionist expectations.

So how can we extend the above five-item model of role modelling to fatherhood

1. Excellence: In 2014 the Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation stated that excellence in fatherhood behaviour is taken to mean “Fathers who, in word and deed, are responsible, involved, protective, loving, and committed to the well-being of their children.” A judge will also tell you that a father must be non-abusive. A father must set boundaries and consequences; otherwise he cannot be a role-model. In 2014. Family researcher Laura-Lynn Stewart stated that these boundaries cannot be punitive or self-serving; they must benefit the child. Above all, be kind to your children (and partner).

2. Consistent: Set boundaries with agreement from the whole family and with kindness. When setting a boundary there must have a consequence if the boundary is broken. However, setting boundaries and not following up with the agreed consequence is more harmful than not having a boundary at all, according to the Raising Children Network. Always deliver the consequence to any bad behavior.

3. Perform: Children love to see their dads perform in demanding situations. One of the most damaging male role models is the father who does nothing yet controls. Don’t sit in your chair barking out orders. Leading and teaching your children in acts of kindness and empathy is the way ancient texts have taught us. If you cannot fix a car, order a mechanic. If you cannot fix a computer, order a technician. But mow the lawn, weed the garden, wash the car, encourage and lead physical activity, and teach your children math and how to read and write.

4. Be prepared: To me, this means that a father should have a solid value system. Having strong specific values means that when a situation presents itself your mindset is prepared—you do not have to think hard about what you will do. My personal value system is based on The Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” in conjunction with the last six commandments from Exodus 20—Honor your parents/carers, do not steal and do not lie, do not commit adultery, do not kill, and do not covet and lust.

5. Know Your Limitations: Finally, all good role models know their limitations. Talk to your buddies, talk to your parents, talk to your wife—each of these people will know something about your character that will limit your effectiveness as a father. Your anger, your domination, your lack of awareness, and listening will all affect your ability to be a great dad. You may be fortunate enough to know your weaknesses and limitations—pray about those limitations, seek advice and have someone to be accountable to.


A father who is a loving role-model will develop happy and healthy children with the capability to embrace the notion of being a wonderful community member. Pray for wisdom to be a great role model and father.

If you are going to be a great role model, or are currently looking for a great role model of your own, then the qualities on this list are definitely essential in order to gain thoughtful knowledge and direction.

However, if this list spurs you to reevaluate and reconsider the ideals, principles, and values that make a good role model, and as it turns out that your main attributes, personal beliefs, and moral standards are solely coupled to a person’s popularity, their arrogance, or their wealth, then you are heading down the wrong path.

Time to reassess who your real role models are and what kind of role model you aspire to be!

Stay Strong,

Brett Place

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