Girls Have A Problem; Boys Are A Problem

In a previous blog, we outlined the challenges that face our boys at this time in history.

We could, of course, discuss the relationships between the sexes until we are blue in the face. However, as we look to the status of the genders in Western society, in what is almost the start of the second decade of the 21st century, it is not unfair to suggest that we are in a transitional period in which those relationships and the expectations are changing.

While history clearly indicates the dominance of men, the last fifty years have seen a swing towards striving for greater equality and a greater balance in the privileges and responsibilities provided to both sexes.

The challenge for men (and boys) is to integrate changing social norms into the hard-wired physical and emotional makeup of the male that has remained largely unchanged throughout history.

If we use changes in race relations as an indicator, we are likely only at the start of this societal process, and we must look to the long view to best understand the challenges and the possibilities. For the male, it is in understanding that many historically accepted behaviors and expectations of men from the past are no longer acceptable, and the push for gender equality must remain a priority; for women, it is helping our sons ease into new roles and expectations without making them feel emasculated.

Our boys/men have so many wonderful qualities that complement those of their sisters, wives, and female colleagues-the things that make them tick, and women must seek to help boys to develop them in a positive way as they find their place again in our evolving society.

Imbalanced Expectations

Our boys presently suffer from an imbalance in expectations.

In academic matters, we expect too much from our boys. The statistics clearly indicate a natural developmental lag for boys, especially in reading and writing, and yet, we continue to approach the challenges in the same way, asking boys to appreciate “relational” curriculums rather than the “action” hands-on curriculum they crave. They are being allowed to underperform and to produce at a level that will not provide them with long-term success.

It starts in the youngest classes where, too often, teachers are not trained to deal with boys and their 3FS: fidgeting, farting, and fun. It continues through elementary and middle school where boys are too often allowed to lag without intervention. By high school, it is often too late.

Meanwhile, we, too often, ask boys to behave like the girls-polite and with hands, and when they don’t or can’t, they are being excluded from classes in ever greater numbers, numbed with drugs and/or labeled at younger and younger ages.

masculinityMoreover, we are letting boys off the hook by encouraging unbridled masculinity. Coaches in contact sports such as lacrosse, ice hockey, and football understand that their sports will likely ensure physical harm, and the culture encourages this. Teachers turn a blind eye to the behavior of boys towards the girls ( and other boys) that is, at best boorish, and at worse-elementary through college- offensive and more. Parents fail to teach their sons respect, especially towards girls and young women.

Chivalry is a term today that is laughed at by many as paternalistic; however, placing the element in chivalry of placing the needs of a person above your own, and demonstrating respect and concern for the needs of others is a universal ideal to be found in all religions in the idea of “Do unto others…” Do we really wish for a society in which caring for others is discouraged?

There are so many wonderful boys and young men out there that are making a contribution to society-as they used to say a million years ago, “the kind of young man you would bring home to meet mom,”

However, too many of our boys are in trouble. Too many are lost and unsure of what is expected of them. Too many are simply opting out.

At Confident Parenting, we understand and love our boys. We understand the challenges they face, and we wish to be there to support them. We can help you to create a plan designed to help your son’s academic and social-emotional growth. The statistics above suggest that you cannot lead this growth to chance.