Author: Jessica Hadari
What is it that I am doing, that my husband is doing, that my son’s father is doing, that my sons step-mother is doing, that all of his aunties and uncles are doing … that is tailoring my son to be adored and respected … to be adorable and respectable?
Maybe nothing. Maybe puberty comes and all those hormones and all those teen experiences just cause some boys to crack.
My son is well adored by his teachers, classmates, and his many aunties and uncles. He is the kid other kids confide in. He is a natural mediator. He is funny, yet polite. At the same time he is a “typical” kid and pre-teen.
Is it just his stars aligned at his birth that made my son this way? I usually think so. I usually don’t take much credit for my son’s winning ways of being. It’s easy to say, “oh, it’s just his personality”.
After the Boston bombings, Marianne Williamson, gave a wonderful talk asking (paraphrased) “How can we collectively reach out our hands to stop the wave? How can we reach out to those who are about to fall through the cracks?”
I am not a therapist or psychology professional. I am not always sure what to do “right” when raising my son, but I have some thoughts on what Not to do, and “How to Raise Boys to be Angry Confused Men: 12 secrets” ...
Last week on Facebook, I asked, “What turns a boy into an angry, confused man?”
Here are some of the responses, from men, that I thought were very poignant:
Orin: “dual blows of expectation and lack of permissiveness. As we're told all the things we're expected to be - powerful, knowledgeable and accomplished all while simultaneously expected to shrug off feelings, doubts and fear it sets us up to hate ourselves and leak out that hate most at those who are closest, leading to more self hate.”
Jeffrey: “Shame. And fear, masquerading as anger. That, filtered through our culture's insistence (still) that men be tough, fearless heroes, riding in to save the day on their white stallions, with no room for other parts of being a human being.”
Tim K.: “You might check out The Male Brain, it's a great book and will illuminate (The Female Brain is great too)! As boys we aren't encouraged to express fear, sadness, or any kind of hurt feelings, but anger? Bring it on! We see MANY male roll models going for it in lots of ways all over the media…”
Tim J.: “isolation and shame.”
…and wise wisdom from women:
Teresa: “What helps prevent it is for you to stay involved in his life. Do things together, even if he complains. Ask who he's hanging out with and invite them over. Do fun things together, bring one of his friends along. Be there without trying to always tell him what to do. TALK to him often, even if he acts like he doesn't want to at first. Encourage him to get involved at school or sports. It's not always easy, every kid has struggles, but you and his father are a big part of the answer.”
Isabella: “I found it helpful to have animals around for my son & daughter as they were growing up. We always agreed on our mutual love of dogs & cats. Animals help us drop into our human nature of caring & has been shown to have a calming affect for the heart.”
Heather: “I hope you don't mind me interjecting with a brain-based parenting perspective - I've done a lot of research on this topic and I love it! I believe that there are several potential causes in childhood; the first being individual temperament…So I think, first, that there are some men and women who are more likely to internalize anger and frustration because of their genetics. Second, the emotional stability in kids' immediate families…If kids are exposed to chronic physical or emotional stress their little brains will be soaked in cortisol, potentially causing damage to the stress response system...Kids whose parents validate and coach them through their emotions (engaging in emotion coaching) will not have to face such high levels of shame and frustration either.”
Jessica Hadari is the founder of the Miracle Salon and the FEM Talks Alliance of Women Leaders, Educators & Healers.
Passionate about the "self-blossoming woman", for 15 years she has been privileged to lead countless women’s circles. Her greatest love? Watching women transform in the arenas of relationships, divine path and spiritual growth.
Each month she produces the Miracle Salon, a celebrated woman's wisdom networking event, as well as Women's Wisdom & Prayer Circles. Jessica immensely enjoys producing and collaborating around any women's event centered on emotional freedom.
She's a mother, writer, artist, hospice caregiver, master yoga teacher, holistic health practitioner, officiant, unconditional friend and voice of accountability in her Bay Area women’s communities.