Lack of male figures growing up

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    Dec 12, 2011 6:18 PM GMT
    I'm sort of going through a quarter-life crisis right now, and I came to a startling realization: I did not have any strong male role models to look up to as a kid. My father was really distant, so I never got close to him. Between my parents' siblings, I had 4 uncles. Three were my dad's brothers who were just as distant as my father. The fourth was my mom's adopted brother who was my favorite relative, but he lived so far away that I'd only get to see him once or twice every few years.

    It seems everything I've learned about "growing up" I either learned from my mom or from my own experiences. Sometimes I feel like I've missed out on learning how to be man and never learned how to relate to other men in a platonic way. Does anyone else feel the same way or had a similar experience as a kid?
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    Dec 12, 2011 6:24 PM GMT
    mightymanlet saidSometimes I feel like I've missed out on learning how to be man and never learned how to relate to other men in a platonic way.
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    Dec 12, 2011 7:30 PM GMT
    How To Be A Real Man, Rule #1: Real men don't post threads asking how to be a real man. icon_lol.gif
  • neosyllogy

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    Dec 12, 2011 7:40 PM GMT
    I grew up with 2 moms and about a million "male role models".

    Unless you're living in a hole without electricity you're surrounded by both male people and particularly a male dominated media. I don't really think it's an issue per se.

    Perhaps you feel something is missing, and by all means feel free to seek it out. But my money says you're just feeling uneasy and grasping in the dark for sources of your ill at easedness.

    The idea that almost anyone comes out with a "clean" sense of identity is fallacious I think. Regardless, who cares? Be what you respect. Fuck anyone who tells you have to be anything else.
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    Dec 12, 2011 7:42 PM GMT
    neosyllogy saidI grew up with 2 moms and about a million "male role models".

    Unless you're living in a hole without electricity you're surrounded by both male people and particularly a male dominated media. I don't really think it's an issue per se.

    Perhaps you feel something is missing, and by all means feel free to seek it out. But my money says you're just feeling uneasy and grasping in the dark for sources of your ill at easedness.

    The idea that almost anyone comes out with a "clean" sense of identity is fallacious I think. Regardless, who cares? Be what you respect. Fuck anyone who tells you have to be anything else.


    There is a difference between a real role model in life and a fake one on TV dude. Fact of the matter is as gay men we have few, if any, individuals to look up too.

    It is very very sad.

    On a side note, J, no such thing as a quarter-life crisis, it only happens in the middle, which means you only have about 20 years left to live. Enjoy them!
  • HopefulMuscle

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    Dec 12, 2011 7:43 PM GMT
    I too know how this is. Moms never understood how much of an impact not having a dad had on me. Im 22 years old and I always thought and believed that he didnt love me. There are things that a dad is supposed to teach you and sadly I missed out, but in turn it makes me a better man in the end since Im less likely to abandon children I may have. Through Jesus I was able to forgive him the pain is still there but itll leave on its own.
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    Dec 12, 2011 8:11 PM GMT
    All you ever really needed to know.......

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    Dec 12, 2011 9:58 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidHow To Be A Real Man, Rule #1: Real men don't post threads asking how to be a real man. icon_lol.gif


    L2Reading comprehension plzkthx
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    Dec 12, 2011 10:45 PM GMT
    Don't confuse tv and movies with real life since that is what you are doing if you think being "distant" is not a typical male characteristic. The guy you think is not distant is probably gay. Fighting/ competition is the predominant way men interact hence "sports" and " jocks". Since you are gay you want to communicate with men but in a cooperative female way. Str8 guys are not gonna provide a role model for that.
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    Dec 12, 2011 11:51 PM GMT
    I'd say, your dad had still a great influence on you and was a strong presence even if you learned from him how NOT to be.
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    Dec 12, 2011 11:58 PM GMT
    Join the club. I feel like many of the things guys have such as motivation, drive, devotion, and determination (the three Ds of manliness) I had to learn by myself. I didn't have a father figure or any good male role-model to look up too.

    Everything I am as a person I owe to my mother and to myself. I remember I went through this when I was 17-18. I love going to the park and one time I went I saw this dad teaching his kid how to play soccer. The kid wanted to give up cause he didn't want to practice he wanted to play and his dad told him, “you have to practice and practice till you have it down.” He told him he had to do this with everything if he ever wanted to be good at something. He was teaching him discipline. And I thought to myself I have always been like that. I taught myself discipline. My mom taught me how to polite and have proper etiquette with things. Showed me how to value myself. Awww I love my mom. :’)
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    Dec 13, 2011 12:12 AM GMT
    "Being a man" comes naturally. You know, you were born that way. Also society tells you more about gender than your parent or parents do.

    The idea you need both a father and a mother or you'll be "messed up" is just a justification to deny gay people the right to adopt children. It also gives homophobes a reason to say that gay people are not born gay, but gay guys are gay because of a "distant or absent father" which is BS.
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    Dec 13, 2011 12:26 AM GMT
    I turned out gay (did I ever), and my father was the one who put me bed every night, read me stories, taught me to read on my own. Took me to buy me my first 2-wheel bike, taught me ride it, and in fact bought me all my subsequent bikes, my mother never did. He took me to Yankee stadium where he had a box, knew most of the Yankees, introduced me to guys who are legends now. He bought me my first car on the day of my birthday (cash), and let me drive it home. (He also took me over to the Motor Vehicle Dept that morning to take my written test, so I had a learner's permit that afternoon).

    My father was a bit distant emotionally, he didn't see his role that way, but he was always there, always helpful, always in my life, never absent. Actually I had to "time share" both my parents, because they both had careers, business as well as political, unusual for the 1950s. I had a strong mother, but I also had a strong father.

    So I judge these stereotypical models of weak or missing fathers as a cause of homosexuality to be absolute bull. And if you wanna know who were some of my male models growing up, a lot was from TV, and the old movies they used to show. And so it was heroes like Errol Flynn and Tyrone Power (admittedly both a little gay there, but so beautiful), and John Wayne. Gary Cooper and other masculine guys in military & adventure exploits. I can't remember having any hairdressers as my idols. LOL!
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    Dec 13, 2011 3:48 AM GMT
    Yeesh there's a lot of reactionary dogma being chanted in this thread...

    I don't think I missed out on a male role model, but I agree that a boy needs one. My Dad had a job that kept him physically away a lot, but when he was home he was a dedicated and loving father. He and my Grandfather both inspire me.

    You can safely ignore anyone saying you don't need a father figure. Fatherless teens are statistically more prone to a range of social and psychological maladies from drug use to suicide to crime to dropping out of school. The male figure plays a powerful psychological and developmental role in a child's life.
  • tuffguyndc

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    Dec 13, 2011 3:58 AM GMT
    I can not say I know how you feel. I had plenty of male role models. I mean there was my 6th grade teacher. My 7th grade, 9th grade history and economics teacher. My P.E. teacher in high school. My track coach and Uncle Marshall. I had all of these people without having a relationship with my father.
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    Dec 13, 2011 4:22 AM GMT
    Larkin_PLR saidYeesh there's a lot of reactionary dogma being chanted in this thread...

    I don't think I missed out on a male role model, but I agree that a boy needs one. My Dad had a job that kept him physically away a lot, but when he was home he was a dedicated and loving father. He and my Grandfather both inspire me.

    You can safely ignore anyone saying you don't need a father figure. Fatherless teens are statistically more prone to a range of social and psychological maladies from drug use to suicide to crime to dropping out of school. The male figure plays a powerful psychological and developmental role in a child's life.


    It's "reactionary" to talk about "social maladies" being caused by being a "fatherless teen", rather than looking at other factors, like society's effect on a person. Not having a father doesn't magically mess you up and make you have bad choices.

    Ask people who were raised by a single mother how they feel about it.

    I'm sure you wouldn't want us gays to cause any social maladies by raising children without their "proper" mother/father "natural" environment.icon_rolleyes.gif

    Single parenting may fall out of societal standards, but so does gay parenting....you cannot attack one without attacking the other. Unless you somehow think gay men should raise children but not lesbians, but I'm pretty sure that lesbians would point out the whole "motherless teens" thing in response to your "fatherless teens" thing.

    I do not see any difference between any gender pairing or single gender raising children. as long as they are a good, loving parent.

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    Dec 13, 2011 4:32 AM GMT
    I can't think of any strong male influences in my life growing up. I didn't have a good relationship with my father. The vast majority of adults in my life were women. Do I think I would have turned out differently if I had a positive male role model? Maybe. It would have been nice if I had a role model to teach me typical guy things like sports, how to shave, or how to fix a car. (Not that women can't teach those things too, but the women in my life were very old fashioned.)

    I think that the ideal is to have as many positive role models, both men and women, in a child's life. It doesn't always work out that way. You can't change the past. You can only try to learn from it and try to be a better person yourself.
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    Dec 13, 2011 4:38 AM GMT
    I think I've learned the most about becoming a man from my own life and the tough decisions I've had to make, friends I've made and adventures I've had. My dad has always been there but I don't think I've modeled my life after his per se.
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    Dec 13, 2011 3:35 PM GMT
    Stan904 said
    It's "reactionary" to talk about "social maladies" being caused by being a "fatherless teen", rather than looking at other factors, like society's effect on a person. Not having a father doesn't magically mess you up and make you have bad choices.


    It's not reactionary: it's statistical.

    Male children are more likely to suffer a range of problems without a healthy male model to imprint from.
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    Dec 13, 2011 3:39 PM GMT
    I've noticed a lot of gay dudes never had a father growing up or any other male role models.. I always thought me me being raised by my mom and sister had a lot to do with it.
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    Dec 13, 2011 3:48 PM GMT
    I'm no psychologist but I definitely feel that my fathers absence and the lack of a "dominant" male figure through out my childhood strongly contributed to me being gay. His job did not allow him much time for the family, which lead to my mother filling his "space" in a sense. Note: I am not blaming my father for me being gay, that is irrelevant, however I do feel that the lack of a leading male figure could result in a child turning out gay...
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    Dec 13, 2011 4:40 PM GMT
    Larkin_PLR said
    Stan904 said
    It's "reactionary" to talk about "social maladies" being caused by being a "fatherless teen", rather than looking at other factors, like society's effect on a person. Not having a father doesn't magically mess you up and make you have bad choices.


    It's not reactionary: it's statistical.

    Male children are more likely to suffer a range of problems without a healthy male model to imprint from.


    http://fatherhood.about.com/od/fathersrights/a/fatherless_children.htm
    Statistics on Fatherless Children in America
    By Wayne Parker, About.com Guide

    There is no question that children who grow up in fatherless homes have a much greater risk of major challenges in life than those who grow up with a father at home. These statistics are alarming and should give any father pause.

    Incarceration Rates. "Young men who grow up in homes without fathers are twice as likely to end up in jail as those who come from traditional two-parent families...those boys whose fathers were absent from the household had double the odds of being incarcerated -- even when other factors such as race, income, parent education and urban residence were held constant." (Cynthia Harper of the University of Pennsylvania and Sara S. McLanahan of Princeton University cited in "Father Absence and Youth Incarceration." Journal of Research on Adolescence 14 (September 2004): 369-397.)

    Suicide. 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of the Census)

    Behavioral Disorders. 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes (United States Center for Disease Control)

    High School Dropouts. 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools.)

    Educational Attainment. Kids living in single-parent homes or in step-families report lower educational expectations on the part of their parents, less parental monitoring of school work, and less overall social supervision than children from intact families. (N.M. Astore and S. McLanahan, American Sociological Review, No. 56 (1991)

    Juvenile Detention Rates. 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept 1988 )

    Confused Identities. Boys who grow up in father-absent homes are more likely that those in father-present homes to have trouble establishing appropriate sex roles and gender identity.(P.L. Adams, J.R. Milner, and N.A. Schrepf, Fatherless Children, New York, Wiley Press, 1984).

    Aggression. In a longitudinal study of 1,197 fourth-grade students, researchers observed "greater levels of aggression in boys from mother-only households than from boys in mother-father households." (N. Vaden-Kierman, N. Ialongo, J. Pearson, and S. Kellam, "Household Family Structure and Children's Aggressive Behavior: A Longitudinal Study of Urban Elementary School Children," Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 23, no. 5 (1995).

    Achievement. Children from low-income, two-parent families outperform students from high-income, single-parent homes. Almost twice as many high achievers come from two-parent homes as one-parent homes. (One-Parent Families and Their Children, Charles F. Kettering Foundation, 1990).

    Delinquency. Only 13 percent of juvenile delinquents come from families in which the biological mother and father are married to each other. By contract, 33 percent have parents who are either divorced or separated and 44 percent have parents who were never married. (Wisconsin Dept. of Health and Social Services, April 1994).

    Criminal Activity. The likelihood that a young male will engage in criminal activity doubles if he is raised without a father and triples if he lives in a neighborhood with a high concentration of single-parent families. Source: A. Anne Hill, June O'Neill, Underclass Behaviors in the United States, CUNY, Baruch College. 1993


    I might have suspected some differences but I'm surprised at the size of the disparities shown in the above stats.

    Some of the sources are not familiar to me, Much of the info looks dated.

    I doubt any of it compared hetero parents with gay parents. I'd also like to see stats on raising a child without just one father compared to, say, on a commune or in a polygamous family, all of which might shed a different light on these types of statistics.

    Because it might not just be that the father is missing as a role model but of how contributorily difficult that makes the life for the remaining parent.
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    Dec 14, 2011 8:34 PM GMT
    Anduru said
    mightymanlet saidSometimes I feel like I've missed out on learning how to be man and never learned how to relate to other men in a platonic way.
    vesx6s.jpg


    +1
  • neosyllogy

    Posts: 1714

    Dec 14, 2011 8:41 PM GMT
    theantijock said
    Larkin_PLR said
    Stan904 said
    It's "reactionary" to talk about "social maladies" being caused by being a "fatherless teen", rather than looking at other factors, like society's effect on a person. Not having a father doesn't magically mess you up and make you have bad choices.


    It's not reactionary: it's statistical.

    Because it might not just be that the father is missing as a role model but of how contributorily difficult that makes the life for the remaining parent.



    I haven't looked into this specifically (will when I get a chance), but I strongly doubt these statistics stand up well when the many correlates of a single-father house hold are taken into account. e.g. race, socio-economic status, age of mother at birth, ability of parent to care for household financially, emotional state of remaining parent, parent to child ratio, etc.

    There are a lot of things you can look at (e.g. parent(s)' language, possession of a wide screen tv, religion, eating habits) that will strongly predict juvenile delinquency, but are not at all causal.
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    Dec 14, 2011 8:44 PM GMT
    I wish I could relate and offer some helpful insight. Had both parental figures all through my life with no marital issues. I also had other male figures in my life including my older brother. Lots of females too, of course, but no sisters. I'm still gay.