Our teenagers live in a mixed-up world that bombards them with non-stop messages that skew their perspective on life. The predominant message in our society is that manhood is all about the accumulation of power, possessions and prestige. No wonder most teenage boys are feeling underequipped and just plain confused. Boys at this age are notoriously vicious about putting each other down and exploiting any weakness. Rarely are they ever affirmed for who they are. Here are some examples of affirmations to use with your son:. But do your best to keep it positive.
While teenage boys certainly need important affirmations from older men, be careful not to heap on too much praise just to bolster their self-esteem. They need to know that life is no longer simply cake and ice cream, and that more is required of them. During those teenage years somebody needs to challenge them, call them out, and help them make sense of things when they are prone to take the easy path or make the reckless choice.
Remember, men are not just born, they are made. While they often appear lazy and disinterested, teenage boys yearn to be tested and pushed beyond the edge of their limits. Our young men enjoy a false sense of control because most of life can be accessed by the touch of a cell phone, joystick or keystroke. Extracurricular activities like sports, robotics, band, theater, or youth groups can all teach valuable life lessons, but at the end of the day, these are all structured activities.
In this episode, we speak with a psychologist about what most guys are really thinking and how that challenges masculine stereotypes.
A developmental psychologist, Dr. He has also authored more than 20 journal articles and book chapters relating to boys, men, sexual development and identity issues and is currently an associate editor of the APA journal Psychology of Men and Masculinity. Thank you for having me. So, the common assumption about teen boys is that sex is all they think about, right? All of the time. But there seems to be very little discussion out there about how to talk to boys about sex — romantic relationships.
And just being a boy. Juggling various demands in their lives. Based on your research and your work with adolescents, do you think boys want more information that goes beyond your typical school health class? First off, we know that only about half of American teens get any kind of sexuality education in their middle schools or high schools.
Do I trust you?
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Why do I trust you? Do I trust this person? Do I want to be physical with this person? How physical do I want to be with this person? How much did I trust them? Should I believe them? So boys are really kind of lacking a whole piece of education around how relationships work that girls get. And boys want that knowledge because they are having relationships and they want to know how they work. As a therapist, what are some of the most common questions you get about dating and sex? How do I fix it? So as a therapist, I have a lot of conversations around those topics.
Again, how do relationships work? How do feelings feed into those relationship dynamics?
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One of the ways that parents can use the book is to give them ideas for how to start conversations. And we know that somewhere north of 60 percent of teen boys play sports. Something like 80 percent follow at least one professional sport. So a number of examples throughout the book of the kinds of things that boys tend to be interested in. In regard to what are the most common questions that boys have about dating and sex, I actually start the book with an FAQ, a frequently asked questions list.
He feels the desire to strike out and be free , and yet he soon learns the rules of society and the consequences of stepping too far out of line. For the rest of his life he will feel the desire to be primal pull against the need conform. The dogs, like men, must fight to survive and to lead, in a world that is often unkind. Boys love Treasure Island.
After his parents are killed in a rhinoceros accident, James is sent to live with his wicked aunts. But James accidentally drops the crystals on a peach tree, which slowly begins to grow into a gigantic peach. One day James climbs inside, the peach rolls away from his ordinary life, and he embarks on a grand adventure with 7 oversize insects: More humorous and exciting than you even remember; a true classic. Stanley quickly learns the daily routine; get up every day and dig a five foot deep by five foot wide by five foot long hole.
A classic story of the relationship between father and son, father and son swans that is. Louis is a trumpeter swan born without the ability to make a sound. Unable to honk and attract the swan he loves, his father steals a trumpet to give his son a voice. Hinton starting writing this book when she was 15, but it certainly explains her uncanny ability to capture the angst, alienation, emotion, and immediacy of adolescence.
Such pitch perfect tone has rightly catapulted The Outsiders to classic status. Should we dare to disturb the universe? Even when the consequences of stepping out of line can be extremely grave? Jerry Renault is an ordinary high school student. The annual fundraiser comes around, where the students are expected to sell chocolates to raise money for the school. The Vigils, a secret society of sorts, which rules both the students and the faculty, assigns students different tasks, simply to belittle them and prove their authority.
They require Jerry to refuse to sell chocolates for ten days. Jerry complies with their order, but after the ten days is over, he continues to refuse to sell the chocolates, earning him the ire of the Vigils and the rest of the school. How far would you be willing to stick with your convictions, even when everyone turns against you?
Powerfully written but bleak and dark, this book is best for older boys. There are books that discuss profound themes, but do so at the expense of plot and character development. And there are page-turners with riveting plots that excite your mind while you read but then leave you empty when you finish. And then there is To Kill a Mockingbird.
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A literary masterpiece which weaves subtle lessons on racism, tolerance, innocence and guilt, and right and wrong with an engrossing plot and memorable characters. As a kid, I was a huge Calvin and Hobbes fan. Introduce them today with one of the many Calvin and Hobbes books-I think this one is the best. In the 22nd century of earth, the future of mankind is threatened by ant-like aliens called Formics or buggers. Thus, six year old Ender Wiggins is chosen to attend Battle School to be trained to take on the aliens.
Losing their manhood in becoming men
Being the most intelligent of the geniuses causes the other students to resent him, but despite challenges Ender quickly emerges as a great leader in the mock battles the children must compete in. But the games have more serious consequences than he realizes. Written in a plain, straight-forward manner, many boys will love it, some will hate it, and most will at least be given some food for thought. Befriended by his 9 year old and Tom Sawyer-esque second cousin, Harris, the two have a summer of humorous adventures as the narrator gets thrown head first into life in the country.
So Billy works hard for two years to save up the money to buy them himself. But where does the red fern come in?
According to an old Indian legend, a red fern can only grow where an angel plants it and marks sacred ground. Where does one grow in the story?
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What list for boys would be complete without something from Rudyard Kipling? A rich, coddled, spoiled boy named Harvey Cheyne falls off a steamship and is picked up by a fishing boat. His snootiness is forced to give way to the new realities of his life-on this boat, if a man does not work, he does not eat. These salty fishermen give Harvey a kick in the pants and an actual punch in the nose, and soon he learns to put his shoulder to the wheel, embrace both responsibility and adventure and work hard.
The tale of brat turned man is one we all can cheer. For his birthday, Omri gets an old cupboard from his brother and a plastic Indian figurine from his friend. Omri is in for the surprise of his life when he discovers that locking the Indian, and then other figurines in the cabinet brings them to life. But Earley seems to get the tone just right, understanding that life still went on in many of the usual ways, with many of the usual feelings while the storm of war gathered.
Young Alec Ramsey is shipwrecked with Black, a wild horse, and the two end up stranded on a deserted island. Boy and horse are rescued and brought to the States. A retired horse trainer sees great racing potential in Black if his wildness can be harnessed. Journeying back to America from the West Indies in , 11 year old Phillip is blinded and set adrift when the boat on which he rides is torpedoed by Germans.
Phillip ends up on a life raft with Timothy, an old black ship hand, and Stew Cat. Exiled together on a small island, Phillip must deal with his blindness, overcome his prejudice towards his fellow castaway, and learn how to survive and stand on his own two feet. A classic tale of adventure, tolerance, self-reliance, and friendship. R Tolkien masterfully creates a world where hobbits, dwarfs, and elves join together to fight the forces of evil.
Loyalty, duty, and bravery are reoccurring themes throughout the three books. And when it does, give it all you got. Sturdy, well-designed, and tactilely is that a word? But that would be a big mistake. In , at the age of eight, Ralph Moody and his family struck out for the frontier and the ranching life in Colorado. After a lifetime of triumph, heartache, and honest toil, he decided to write down his experiences in this autobiographical series.
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