As the father of two daughters, I have thought a lot recently about the #MeToo stories related to sexual harassment and sexual assault from women sharing memories and from men declaring their support. Having heard stories from my adult daughters of how they have experienced such inappropriate behavior by males, I believe fathers not only can set examples of what it is to be a respectful man through their parenting, but they also can be an important figure in their children’s lives by offering support and guidance on this topic.
▪ Reflect on when you were growing up and the times you experienced friends making derogatory comments and gestures toward your female friends and family members. What kinds of impact did these acts have on them? What were your reactions were to such behavior?
▪ Ask your children what the #MeToo movement means to them and acknowledge that it could be deeply uncomfortable to hear their responses and experiences related to the topic.
▪ Be a role model to your sons and daughters by being respectful and considerate when you are speaking about women you work with, women within your social circle and how you treat them at home.
▪ Let your daughter know that she can come to you for guidance, support and protection when she herself is a victim of harassment and/or inappropriate gestures by boys or men.
The local fathering effort, in cooperation with the National Center for Fathering, provides monthly Action Ideas to stimulate conversation between fathers and parents. To comment on this article, or for more information or to join local conversations, contact Chris Dufour at firstname.lastname@example.org or Marc McCann at email@example.com.