THE MEASURE OF A MAN by Jerrold Lee Shapiro


Becoming the Father You Wish Your Father Had Been
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 Before a man can be a good father, he must come to terms with his own father, contends Shapiro (Counseling Psychology/Santa Clara University; When Men are Pregnant, 1987- -not reviewed) in this earnest look at the psychology of fathering. Shapiro, the father of two, shares not only his own experiences as a dad but what he's learned from his patients, men's groups, workshops, interviews, surveys, the literature on fatherhood, and even electronic bulletin boards. Central to his work is the belief that a man who wishes to be a better father must understand both his actual father and his internalized image of him, for this ``inner father'' shapes a man's emotional reactions and behavior when he himself has children. In addition to describing in considerable detail how to conduct the essential probing of the father-son relationship, Shapiro offers advice on becoming a ``good-enough'' father. He counsels men to become actively involved with their children and warns them against imitating mothers, since fathers have their own roles to play- -most importantly, the traditional male role of protecting and providing. According to Shapiro, learning fathering skills is a lifelong process, one that he divides into eight stages, beginning with preparing for one's firstborn and ending with becoming a grandfather. The single father and stepfather are covered in the section on ``Hard Fathering,'' while ``Resources for Fathers'' provides sources of further information, plus some commonly asked questions, with very short answers. Shapiro brackets his text with two deeply personal and revealing letters about fatherhood--one to his own father and one to his children. More effective as an aid to understanding one's father than as a manual on becoming a better father, and more appropriate for men with sons than for those with daughters.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-385-30773-X
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1993


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