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(In addition to the information about fathers in this section, books related to this issue can be found in the Bibliography under Men’s Roles As Fathers and Parenting Skills.)


From “Community Strategies for Responsible Fatherhood” by James A. Levine with Edward W. Pitt

Excerpted by permission of Families and Work Institute, 267 Fifth Avenue, 2nd Fl., New York, New York 10016. www.familiesand

Self-Esteem of Young Men

Old Expectations

  1. Young men are fundamentally irresponsible - just looking to get laid. As the saying goes, “boys will be boys.”

  2. Prevention strategies should be targeted primarily - if not exclusively - to young women.

  3. Programs for men can be added on to those designed for women.

New Expectations

  1. HIgh expectations create in young men a sense that they are valuable and that they have a future. Once they know that, taking sexual risks or becoming a father at a young age does not seem very attractive.

  2. Prevention strategies will not work without serving young men as well as young women.

  3. Just taking a program for young women and adding young males won’t work. Men have different needs.


  1. 1.Workers Attitudes: “ One of the biggest barriers is in the attitude of staff about boys being fundamentally irresponsible. Workers need to reconceptualize their view of boys and what they think boys are capable of. So many young men are anxious to improve their lives and for good things to happen. They need the tools.”

  2. 2.National Leadership: “Federal policy makers and private donors need to champion this group of young people as having great possibilities, not as accidents about to happen who need midnight basketball to pen them up.”

  3. 3.Long Term: “We’re overdrawn at the quick-fix bank. Many of the kids we work with have been wonded and have suffered for a long time. Hell sits at the table regularly for these kids. That time is of the essence. This is essentially, necessarily, a long-term undertaking.”

Michael Carrera, Ed.D., Children’s Aid Society

Peer Pressure

Old Expectations

  1. Peer pressure on boys is powerful and typically negative; teachers can’t do much about it.

  2. Boys just live to “score” in the short term; they have no sense of the future.

  3. Youth can only be held accountable to their parents.

New Expectations

  1. Boys will respond to positive peer pressure, which teachers can create as a powerful ally for change.

  2. If adults help boys develop a vision of a positive future, the boys will do what is necessary to achieve it, including not making a baby.

  3. Youth must be held accountable by their parents and by strong adults who hold high expectations for them at school.


  1. 1.Don’t Emphasize “Don’t make a baby”: “They will learn that as they learn to make decisions about every area of their life.”

  2. 2.Use Positive Peer Pressure: “Every kid wants to feel a part of the group, that he can belong. That’s why they have gangs.”

  3. 3.Show Them the Future: “Both inside and outside your community, show them what it means to be an adult.”

  4. 4.Build in Small Successes: “Some things you know the youth can accomplish. As they begin to accomplish those goals, their desire to set goals increases and their expectation level increases.”

  5. 5.Teach Them to be Team Players: “The team is only as strong as its weakest member. If you foul out, it’s your responsibility if the sub can’t play.”

Tolokun Omokunde, Director, Rites of Passage

Teen Pregnancy

Old Expectations

  1. Teen pregnancy prevention should be directed at girls, since it is ultimately their problem.

  2. Boys aren’t interested in learning about their role in prevention.

  3. Elementary school is too soon to teach boys about responsible decision-making. It is best to wait until they are adolescents.

New Expectations

  1. Teen pregnancy prevention must be directed at boys, since they share equal responsibility for it.

  2. Boys are very eager to learn about their role in pregnancy prevention if they are made aware of their role in a confidential setting.

  3. Fifth grade is a good setting to begin teaching boys about responsible decision-making. If you wait until they are adolescents, it is too late.


  1. 1.Promote a Positive Sense of Belonging: “Make sure boys in the group feel they are in the groups because someone cares for them - not because they are bad. The t-shirts given to boys in the group are a hot item on campus.”

  2. 2.Start Small: “Start small to work out the kinks, and then expand. But keep the group size small to establish a good comfort level.”

  3. 3.Build Trust: “The facilitator needs to create a setting of openness and honesty.”

  4. 4.Be Non-Judgmental: “Beginning topics should not intimidate. But the facilitator needs to give proper information.”

Felix Gonzales, Director, Hispanic Male Outreach Program

Pages: 2  3  4  5  6  7

Mariposa Men’s Wellness Institute was founded in 2001

to help men become emotionally healthy.


Pages:  2  3  4  5  6  7

Old and New Expectation for Fathers