by Meg Adem

Giving your son an extra dose of dad

Dr Arne Rubinstein, an Australian expert on rites of passage for adolescents, believes that the father/son relationship plays a critical role in a boy’s transition to manhood. But sadly, boys still aren’t getting enough time with their dads.

“Boys need their fathers,” says Rubinstein, “but we are currently living in one of the most ‘under-fathered’ time in history. Dads spend an average of less than one hour a day with their sons.”

In his book, The Making of Men, Rubinstein discusses how dads (or uncles, grandfathers or male family friends if dad isn’t around) can build their relationship with their son as he grows up from a boy to become a man. His advice to fathers includes:

  • share your stories
  • honour and recognise your son’s gifts and talents
  • take him along when you spend time with your mates
  • spend one-on-one time together with no interruptions
  • create a shift in the balance of power (really listen to what your son has to say).

Often, it’s the simple things that help bring father and son closer together.

We love this short video filmed in the Tekapo region of New Zealand, which follows 14-year-old Jackson Stewart on a fly-fishing trip with his dad. The video perfectly illustrates what both father and son get out of spending some quality time together.

Jackson’s advice to other dads out there? “Make the time… they won’t be with you forever.”

With the school holidays coming up, can you help your son get that ‘extra dose of dad’?

Credit: Flylife magazine ( and BH Harris Photography
Meg Adem is a science and psychology teacher, writer and athletics coach at Brighton Grammar, an all-boys school in Melbourne. This article is about


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