People rightfully acknowledge the importance of black fathers in the lives of their children. When discussing the topic, often times the conversation turns to the difficulty in raising infants and toddlers who need so much full time care. It is true that newborns and toddlers need food shelter, clothing, loads of attention, and financial support, but one of the equally critical times when a child needs his father is his teenage years.
When a young boy reaches his teens (12 years old) and continues his rapid ascension to manhood, the guide of a father is critical. Most young boys today think they are men as soon as they get to middle school. Although they may think they can make it on their own, the reality is that these children need guidance into “real manhood” and no one plays a bigger role than a father.
If you have been in your child's life from birth hopefully you have schooled him well on morals and values. Since day one I have preached my “Golden Rules” for my son:
1. Don’t Lie,
2. Don’t Cheat,
3. Don’t Steal, and
4. Don’t Hit Women
With some solid foundational rules and MANY other lessons on morals and values you have a fighting chance to steer your young teen into manhood. Your son needs you to guide him the rest of the way; to teach him about girls, the police, crime, the value of an education, and all things that he WILL NOT learn in a classroom and CAN NOT learn from his mother.
Don’t get me wrong, single mothers do an amazing job when it comes to raising young boys, but some lessons should come from dad and are often much better received when they come from an alpha male. This alpha male should be you and not a brother, a friend, or God forbid some neighborhood thug or equally bad influencer.
Other Male Role Models - Youth Programs and Sports
While you do your job as a father it is also extremely important at this stage to surround your child with other positive role models and influencers. Most cities have several youth programs for your young man to get involved in. We have several listed on this site.
Youth programs serve two purposes: they provide your child with adult male figures who have your child’s best interest at heart; and they place your child in an environment of peers who are there to do positive things.
The best youth program on the planet is organized sports. Often times a coach serves as the best role model a young man will ever have (next to you, or course). Getting your child involved in sports at an early age teaches him teamwork, sportsmanship, and how to take care of his body (i.e. stay away from drugs and alcohol).
Sports and youth programs surround teens with positive peers and role models
Being a father is not easy, but don’t think that it is over once a child can tie his own shoes and walk himself to school. Fatherhood means being there the full 18 years and beyond, and possibly the most important phase is those formative teenage years.
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