Table of contents:
- In my practice, consultations with the query "Am I raising my son too much like a woman?" happen regularly. Or: “Talk to him like a man! Maybe he will listen to you? " It is assumed that the psychologist has some kind of magical "male" methods of influence to put pressure on the child and force him to behave "as it should."
- Fears and stereotypes
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Video: Raising A Real Man - Society
2023 Author: Oswald Adamson | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 20:18
In my practice, consultations with the query "Am I raising my son too much like a woman?" happen regularly. Or: “Talk to him like a man! Maybe he will listen to you? " It is assumed that the psychologist has some kind of magical "male" methods of influence to put pressure on the child and force him to behave "as it should."
Fears and stereotypes
How to"? Who needs"? What is "necessary" for? And what does "like a man" mean? Unfortunately, when it comes to "male upbringing", few people ask themselves these questions. It is much easier to automatically follow habitual stereotypes than to deliberately and critically understand the problem.
What is usually behind the query “help raise a child like a man”? Parental uncertainty in their own educational competences and efforts, multiplied by fatigue. Plus, dissatisfaction with some of the actions or personal qualities of their child (which are labeled "not male").
Who needs it? At best, the parents themselves, so that through the realization "I am raising a real man correctly!" gain self-confidence. In the worst case, parents are interested in raising a "real man" under pressure from others. Nearby there is a reference group (often these are grandmothers and grandfathers), which regularly "drips on their brains": "Why are you raising him like a red girl!" Then the parents' concern about "male upbringing" hides their own fear of not meeting other people's expectations. What is it for?
If you are completely honest with yourself and discard all superficial fears and other people's expectations, then any parent will admit that he wants his child to be happy, successful, able to cope with any life difficulties
If you put the question bluntly: "Do you want your son to grow up to be a" real man "or just to be a happy and prosperous person?" - parents will most likely choose the second answer. But the problem is that those who seek to raise a "real man" are sure that such upbringing is the key to happiness and well-being. They do not notice that they are actually committing educational violence, projecting their own fears and stereotypes onto the child.
How then to proceed? How to bring up a "real man" correctly? Or is it still necessary to educate a happy and prosperous person, helping him develop qualities (it does not matter if they are “male” or “female”) that are useful for future adult life?
For those concerned about "masculinity" I suggest using the method of "disenchanting" the stereotype. To do this, simply translate the label to the level of specific actions / actions and help your child to perform these actions / actions (without preaching to him sermons about “real men” and without traumatizing him emotionally).
For example: "A real man must be strong!" (stereotype). But what does it mean to be strong? At a specific consultation, the mother of a 12-year-old boy gave the following answers: “To be strong for a boy is (a) to be strong physically; (b) be strong morally in order to resist all villains; (c) be persistent. " It became clearer, but all the same, these clarifications are not specific enough.
What does “being physically strong” mean for your 12-year-old child? How do you imagine that? Would you like him to break the world running record? Or to press a hundred-kilogram barbell from your chest? Mom finds it difficult to answer these questions, but it seems to her that her son leads a sedentary lifestyle, that he is overweight and that it would be good for him to move more, and ideally, to exercise regularly.
Next, we find out that the boy is not against playing sports; he changes one section after another, but cannot find what he likes. At the same time, he is not against further searches for "his" kind of sport! During the conversation, we find out that the problem lies more in the uncertainty and fatigue of the mother herself ("Well, when will he finally find the kind of sport that he will regularly practice?").
We say that the most important thing is not to stifle the child's interest in classes with "forced" and negative feedback ("Well, again you gave up everything! Why did I only pay for the training!"). Let him continue to search for "his" kind of sport, because even trial workouts are a waste of extra calories. And if there is a general interest in sports, then sooner or later the child will decide.
Defending your boundaries
Similarly, we analyze the second point - what does it mean to be "morally strong"? It turned out that there are bullies in the class who love to tease the boy. The matter does not come to assault, but they call names very annoyingly, and he cannot give them a rebuff. But he is very worried; sometimes even crying at home. At the same time, we are not talking about some kind of systematic bullying (bullying), but the mother is scared that if the son gives in to such rare situations, then what will happen to him if he is faced with serious pressure?
If we formulate the problem in the language of psychology, then it’s not a matter of some special “male moral strength”. Each person has a sense of their own dignity and personal boundaries that must be able to protect
This can be done using the skills of assertive (confident) behavior. These skills by themselves will not appear in a child (especially one living in a prosperous family, where respect and respect for loved ones is the norm), they need to be taught. Parents can also teach these skills, but it is better to seek help from psychologists who specialize in the development of communication skills.
Next, we begin to deal with perseverance and determination. We quickly come to an agreement that being persistent will not hurt anyone - neither men nor women. But something else is more important: when I ask what exactly (according to the mother) her son lacks persistence, in response I hear that in his studies …
Obviously, the point here is not at all in the "masculine approach", but in the lack of motivation to learn. Mom tries to object: “Yes, I understand that he does not want to study. But shouldn't a real man have willpower? Shouldn't he be able to overstep his own 'don't want' and bring the matter to victory?"
Unfortunately, many people confuse masochism (like neurotic self-abuse) with willpower. Will is a meaningful, rational effort aimed at overcoming actual difficulties for the sake of some higher goal or meaning shared by the person himself. Will is an extension of our motivation
The ability to force yourself to do what you don't like, just because another person needs it, is violence against oneself and a direct path to neurosis. Therefore, you should not inspire the child: "Be a man - show willpower and force yourself to do what you don't like and don't want!" Better help him find motivation, find new meaning / value for what he is doing. Then persistence will appear.
The listed "masculine qualities" - physical activity, the ability to defend their boundaries and perseverance in achieving goals are equally needed by both boys and girls
In the formation of male self-identity, the lion's share of the work falls on the shoulders of the young man himself. And this happens already in the conscious and mature age of 18+. And in childhood, there is only a great risk that you will overload the child with your neurotic anxieties and expectations, in fact, instilling doubt in him for many years: "How much am I a real / full-fledged man?" So forget about bringing up a "real man", educate a real man!