It is often said that “Boys should be boys”…..what does this exactly mean? Many boys go to school and flourish. They weave in and out of their social groups and do just fine. Some, however, struggle academically and socially, and never quite fit in that “man box” that culture and society ask of them.
In this thought provoking interview, Rosalind Wiseman, author of ” Queen Bees and Wannabes” and “Masterminds and Wingmen” outlines what boys are up against at school as they meander in and out of these roles, as well as what we as parents and educators can do when boys go silent.
More often than not as a school administrator I would have lengthy conversations with parents who were quite worried about their boys. They weren’t emoting. They were more quiet during the middle school years. They were more impulsive and trying risky things. As I tried to calm them down, I remember thinking, “Don’t you remember junior high?”
It wasn’t that long ago that I myself remember pulling some pretty crazy stunts with my parents. We all did it. Perhaps we just want to forget that phase of life as it was certainly not the easiest.
What Rosalind Wiseman offers in this piece is the essence of today’s teen. Spreading their wings, open access to technology, and the same fears and frustrations we had in the ” be a man box”.
The take away is the same.
As teachers, educators, and parents, we need to be the calm of their storm. Open lines of communication. The ability to not personalize their decisions. And the candor and heart to place healthy boundaries around them as they grow into manhood.
A job not for the faint of heart, but entirely possible.