Guns don’t kill people–our sons do.

Warren Farrell in USA Today after the Sandy Hook shooting:

We respond by blaming guns, our inattentiveness to mental health, violence in the media or video games, or family values. Yes, all are players, but our daughters are able to find the same guns in the same homes, are about as likely to be mentally ill, have the same family values and are exposed to the same violence in the media. Our daughters, however, do not kill. Why the difference?

Start with suicide. Each mass murder is also a suicide. Boys and girls at age 9 are almost equally likely to commit suicide; by age 14, boys are twice as likely; by 19, four times; by 24, more than five times. The more a boy absorbs the male role and male hormones, the more he commits suicide…

It’s time we go beyond fighting over guns to raising our sons. With one executive order, President Obama can create a White House Council on Men and Boys to work with the Council on Women and Girls he formed in 2009. Why? No one part of government or the private sector has a handle on the solution.

The whole article is here.

Two articles on the connection between fatherlessness and mass shootings.

From “Fatherlessness Common Among 2013 School Shooters” at Women of Grace:

Again, he cites the research of eminent sociologist David Popenoe who wrote: “ . . . (F)athers are important to their sons as role models. They are important for maintaining authority and discipline. And they are important in helping their sons to develop both self-control and feelings of empathy toward others, character traits that are found to be lacking in violent youth.”

Even though most fatherless boys will grow up okay, they are vulnerable, which is why so many are swept away into gangs, violence, and crime.

While the debate over gun control and mental health issues are valuable, if the U.S. wants to get serious about ending school shootings, “it must also get serious about strengthening the families that are our first line of defense in preventing our boys from falling into a downward spiral of rage, hopelessness, or nihilism . . .”

Read the full article here.

From “Which Mass Murderers Came from A Fatherless Home” at The Federalist:

Now, this isn’t to say that every single mom is doomed to raise a mass shooter. Not every kid who grows up without his father will turn into Roof, and not every mass shooter grew up without his dad. Mental instability can be a product of any number of factors. But to ignore the link between a mass shooter and his fatherless childhood would be to simply ignore the facts. On CNN’s list of the “27 Deadliest Mass Shootings In U.S. History,” seven of those shootings were committed by young (under 30) males since 2005. Of the seven, only one—Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho (who had been mentally unstable since childhood)—was raised by his biological father throughout childhood.

Read the full article here.

Both cite research that Brad Wilcox summarized in The Atlantic back in 2013.

Why does speaking out about the issues men face always trigger such a furious reaction?

From Dan Bell of InsideMAN in The Telegraph:

A few days ago I was at a party in liberal north-east London, when I was asked the inevitable question, “So, what do you do then?”

It’s a question I have come to dread. This isn’t because I’m ashamed of my work, or because I think it’s dull and uninteresting, but because I know that if I tell the truth, the warm and open conversation I’d been having with the person in front of me will often suddenly be replaced by a chilled and awkward silence.

You see, telling people I write about men’s issues often feels a bit like telling them I work for Exxon.

On this occasion, I weighed up the conversational fork in the road ahead of me, and decided to take the plunge and be honest, so I told her I’d just finished editing a book of 40 writers exploring what it means to be a man in the UK today. Her response was simply: “That’s brave.”

Of course, it’s not really brave; not brave like writing about government corruption in China, or human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, but I knew exactly what she meant.

Speaking out as a man about the issues men face really can trigger a furious reaction.

The most recent example was in response to the author Matt Haig, after he said he wanted to write a book about masculinity. His statement brought down a Twitter storm of contempt in his head before he’d even written a word.

Read the full article here.

Could Working Dads Be Underserved, Too?

From Could Working Dads Be Underserved, Too? by Lydia Dishman in FastCompany

There is a subtle, but potentially seismic shift happening in the workplace. From sweeping diversity initiatives and radical strategies that tackle the gender wage gap to extended paid parental leave policies, the next decade could reveal a very different picture of American workers. But change often comes with backlash….

New research published in the Journal of Business and Psychology reveals that as fathers take on more caregiving and other family responsibilities, workplace norms still see them as “organization men” married to their jobs, which potentially inhibits their development as true, involved fathers. The study also found that there isn’t much in the way of formal support for working dads.

The entire article is here.

Boys and Young Men: A New Cause

From the archives of Psychology TodayBoys and Young Men: A New Cause for Liberals by Mark Sherman in 2010.

Even today, when someone writes about the way boys are lagging behind girls, he or she often talks about it as if it just started happening.  For example, in a Times oped piece published on March 27 of [2010], Nicholas Kristof, who has written extensively on the problems of girls and women in developing countries, says: 

“Around the globe, it’s mostly girls who lack educational opportunities.  Even in the United States, many people still associate the educational “gender gap” with girls left behind in math. Yet these days, the opposite problem has snuck up on us:  In the United States and other western countries alike, it’s mostly boys who are faltering in school.  The latest surveys show that American girls on the average have roughly achieved parity with boys in math.  Meanwhile, girls are well ahead of boys in verbal skills, and they just seem to try harder.”

I must admit that when I read this, and saw the words “snuck up on us,” my immediate reaction was “Where have you been?”  For anyone who cared to look at the data – and for millions of parents of sons – the problem was already there close to two decades ago.

The entire article is here.