Raising great boys has never really been easy, but it seems like it’s even more challenging today than ever. I recently spoke with my friend, Dr. Leonard Sax, noted physician, psychologist, and author of Boys Adrift and Girls On The Edge.
Raising great boys has never really been easy, but it seems like it’s even more challenging today than ever. I recently spoke with my friend, Dr. Leonard Sax, noted physician, psychologist, and author of Boys Adrift and Girls On The Edge. First, we talked at length about the challenges of raising great girls, and I dedicated an entire episode of my Parenting Great Kids podcast to that topic specifically. Now, it’s time to talk about these boys of ours, and get honest about the world our sons live in and what they need most from us as parents.
Parents, as our sons grow up and develop, physically and emotionally, their needs change. You cannot parent a teen boy the way you parented your 5-year-old. Nor can you parent your 30-year-old son the way you did your 12-year-old. Understanding the needs of your son throughout the stages of his development is crucial to raising a great boy.
1. Embrace your son’s masculinity and let him be a boy.
Your son’s masculinity is complex derived from multiple factors, from internal wirings and external influences to how he views and discovers his sexuality. The development of the sexuality of a child takes place over years and is complex. However, one of the greatest disservices we do to our children today is slapping a simple answer on a complicated issue.
The development of our sons' sexuality is beautifully complex
The development of your son’s sexuality is beautifully complex and it’s deeply connected to his ability to trust people, to love, to his view of himself, to his sense of value and to his sense of meaning and purpose in life. It’s not simple. Your son’s sexuality is even connected to social cues, to his worldview, and to his religious belief. Early on, your son needs you to help to pace and slow his life down so he can take the time to figure out who he is, what his life means and what his significance is.
When you teach a boy that his sexuality is good and strong and complex, you’re teaching him that his life has great and deep value. So embrace your son’s sexuality and masculinity and give it time to develop.