All over the world there is a growing insight in the importance of involving men in early child education. See for Example the Hawaii Conference in 2007 (World Forum on Early Child Education) and many conferences after (e.g. the European Network of Men in ECE).
Over the last decade, acknowledgment has developed of the fact that from very early childhood on, the different ways in which male infants develop ask for attention in order to prevent the occurrence of disorders of any kind.
In effect, my constant plea is not to judge boys’ behavior in the here and now, on the spot, and calling on them to ‘just behave’, but to have a deeper view on the development of their behavior. Both early safe attachment in relation to their parents (or other caretakers) and unsafe attachments have a bearing on all maturation following this early stage. Both boys and girls suffer from any unsafe attachment in their early core relations. However, the effect differs between the two. Boys often show more externalizing behavior, such as aggression, whilst girls have a tendency to develop internalizing behavior, e.g. depression.
Because boys mature a bit later, with some bigger irregularities in some aspects, some minor disorders tend to appear in the field of energy management, attention, and on the autism spectrum. If dealt with, they grow over it and/or learn to handle it, cope with it. If neglected, these minor afflictions can develop into bigger disorders.
Shoulder to shoulder with women, men can play a respectable role in this field by offering them role models and gender role identification, but also through their at times different style, language, playfulness and a wide array of other domains.
Another item in this field is the occurrence of child abuse by (male) perpetrators, and child pornography made by men (and women). In December 2010, the news about child abuse in two Amsterdam kindergartens shocked the public both in the Netherlands and. As a response to this news, I wrote an essay titled ‘Men in ECE. Get the good guys in and the wrong guys out’. This paper is meant for distribution, especially for the European Network of Men in Early Childcare and Education.
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