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NCFM Advisor Gordon Finley, PhD, Op-ed in The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Boys who babysit can be a postitive thing

June 23, 2014

boysBoys who babysit can be a positive thing 

The letter below was published in The South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Sunday June 22, 2014. Gordon E. Finley, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology Emeritus, Florida International University, Miami

Boys who babysit can be a positive thing,0,6932510.story Regarding the June 12 story, “More teen boys working as babysitters”: As a retired fatherhood researcher on the Monday after Father’s Day, it is clear that one of the worst things we do as a society is prepare or socialize boys to become fathers. Girls, by contrast, receive extensive socialization for their future role as mothers including babysitting. In the past, negative stereotypes about boys have been a major stumbling block to becoming babysitters. However, as public awareness of female sexual predators has been increasing and the value of a male role model has become increasingly important for children of divorced and single mother households, we may be approaching a more level playing field. As a final bonus, the cross-cultural research literature has shown that sibling caretaking societies produce children who are much more pro-social and empathetic than non-sibling caretaking societies, like ours. Socializing boys through babysitting may be as close as we are going to get to sibling caretaking societies — and may have the added benefit of giving us a more pro-social society, given our declining family size and increasing divorce and single-parent rates. Male babysitters have the potential to be a win-win situation, both for children and for society. Gordon Finley, PhD, Florida International University, Miami


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