Fa­thers en­cour­aged to nur­ture sons

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS - Tim Slater

FA­THERS have been en­cour­aged by a Perth au­thor to find the nur­turer within them­selves to be good role mod­els for their sons and counter the dom­i­nant cul­ture of vi­o­lence and com­pe­ti­tion .

Dar­rell Brown, au­thor and speaker on fa­ther­hood, told about 30 peo­ple at a fo­rum held at the Ruth Faulkner Li­brary in Bel­mont last week that the “man­ning up” cul­ture had had a detri­men­tal and desta­bil­is­ing ef­fect on boys.

He said the hy­per mas­culin­ity of the cur­rent male cul­ture en­cour­ages boys to “Man up, stop cry­ing and sup­press their emotions”.

“The cul­tural archetype of mas­culin­ity there­fore is a man who is strong, self-con­tained and doesn't show any emo­tion,” Brown said.

“He gets things done and if there's a cost, he takes that cost and in­ter­nalises it.”

The au­thor of the book Raised By Our Child­hood Voices, said: “Rais­ing boys in this en­vi­ron­ment does noth­ing to help them in the pro­cess­ing of their own emotions.”

One of the con­se­quences of this be­hav­iour, Brown said, was that as boys be­came teenagers they lost the nar­ra­tive they needed to com­mu­ni­cate their feel­ings.

“In­stead they sup­press any pain, hurt or suf­fer­ing and bury it in­side as they model their own fa­thers in this warped jour­ney to man­hood,” he said.

Brown said boys were told to toughen up, sup­press their emotions and re­ject most things fem­i­nine.

But there were ways that fa­thers could push back against th­ese so­cial con­structs and teach their sons that it was all right to ex­press them­selves emotionally, he said.

“By ex­am­in­ing their own child­hood and changing the things that didn’t work for them many fa­thers are open­ing up emotionally to life and deal­ing with mat­ters of the heart,” he said.

He en­cour­aged fa­thers to con­sider tak­ing part in a one-day Men and Re­la­tion­ships work­shop on Septem­ber 3 or the 2016 Men’s Gath­er­ing from Novem­ber 18-20.

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