Boys need shine not Sheen: Biddulph

July 20, 2011

During tough economic times, young men need better role models than Charlie Sheen.

When the going gets tough, the most important thing for young men is good role models.

That is the advice from renowned parenting author Steve Biddulph, who will speak at the Men Boys and Mental Health Summit at the Event Centre in Caloundra tomorrow and Friday.

Mr Biddulph, the author of best-selling parenting books, said: “A good human being is actually a bundle of all the good role models they have ever been around.

“If we don’t provide these they only have Charlie Sheen or Shane Warne for boys or Paris Hilton for girls to emulate.

“Then you get men who remain boys forever and girls who are equally lost and wasted, literally.”

Mr Biddulph, who was voted Australian Father of the Year in 2000 for his work in encouraging the role of fathers, is a keynote speaker at this week’s summit.

The summit will present ideas, research and clinical information about men.

Speakers will challenge their audience with a range of perspectives on men and boys in 21st century Australia.

When Mr Biddulph first started researching for his book Raising Boys, the time dads spent interacting with their children was only eight minutes a day.

That has improved to about half an hour a day. “As that is an average figure it means many dads do much more than that,” Mr Biddulph (pictured) said.

“We have trebled the amount of parenting time in just one generation.

“Younger dads are so much warmer and engaged.”

Boys are three times more likely to die in their teenage years and nine times more likely to go to jail, Mr Biddulph said.

Men are four times more likely to suicide.

Mr Biddulph said the issue was not teaching boys “how to be men”.

“It doesn’t just happen automatically when we turn 18 or 21 – good manhood has to be taught,” he said.

Mr Biddulph said young men needed “being a man” programs in schools.

And “what works best is boys-only classes and girls-only classes”.

“And male teachers who have those qualities: warmth and firmness, which boys actually prefer,” he said.

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