Boys can be a puzzle for parents, particularly mothers. As we strive to remain connected with our adolescent sons, it can be difficult to understand why this can sometimes be a battle. According to psychologist and author, Steve Biddulph, boys experience three developmental phases of boyhood that are key to understanding and raising boys:
- 0-6 years: boys will bond with their mothers first and learn to grow in emotional stability
- 6-14 years: boys will bond with their fathers as they navigate masculinity and how to be male
- 14+ years: boys look beyond their parents for mentorship as they experience a huge testosterone surge.
Biddulph gained notoriety in 1997, with his book, Raising Boys, which explores the development of boys from birth to manhood and discusses the role of schools in raising boys. A follow-up edition has now been released, looking at the challenges of the 21st century.
While much has changed in the 21 years since Biddulph first released Raising boys, his core message remains the same: boys need you. They require love, affection and your time. In that regard, the future looks promising. According to Biddulph, fathers have trebled the amount of time they spend with their children in just one generation.
We uncover five key themes of the Raising boys latest release:
1. Boys need to take risks
Risk-taking is natural for boys and forms an essential part of their growing up. Boys need to learn to take risks safely while still allowing for new and challenging experiences, particularly during adolescence. Read our tips on how to successfully manage risk-taking in boys.
2. Set strict screen time limitations
With the rise of gaming and digital devices boys are at risk of becoming isolated and underdeveloping social skills. While digital proficiency is essential in today’s world, left to themselves, boys’ screen time can easily get out of control, so parents need to set firm limits and expectations. This can help your son to maintain relationships with friends, remain connected with family, and stay physically active. Discover our 7 strategies for limiting screen time.
3. Boys need to cry
Biddulph believes there is still widespread suppression of emotion in boys. It is thought that if boys don’t cry, their emotions will present as anger or violence. He encourages parents to allow boys to cry and recognise sad feelings as a natural occurrence. Support your son through these times, by encouraging him to ‘let it out’, and resist the urge to hasten him in getting past it.
4. Actively teach boys to be gentle and sensitive
This is particularly important in teaching boys how to have respectful relationships with women. Both mother and father need to model positive male/female relationships by treating each other with respect, compassion and empathy. Parents should behave in the same way they would like their son to behave.
5. Male role models are important
The importance of a strong male role model is key. From age six, boys will look to their fathers. At adolescence, male role models separate from the father figure will become more significant as he enters into manhood. Male teachers, sporting coaches and family friends will all have a huge role to play in raising balanced men. Ensure your son is surrounded with positive role models with different backgrounds.
Much of Biddulph’s findings are based upon what he believes to be fundamental differences in the ways boys and girls develop. We continue to learn more and more about the ways that boys’ and girls’ brains function.
However, teaching boys is second nature at Trinity. While researchers are still debating whether boys learn differently to girls, at Trinity we have educated boys in mind, body and spirit for over a century. Our mission is to provide a thoroughly Christian education for boys from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12, imparting knowledge and understanding of the world we live in, and recognising the importance of spiritual qualities in every sphere of learning.
Fuelled by a pastorally aware culture with exceptionally high levels of individual student attention, we aim to know, understand and nurture each student to help him realise his potential, passion and purpose in life, ensuring that every Trinity boy is challenged, inspired and guided to become a successful, compassionate, internationally-minded man.
To learn more about the Trinity difference and to discover why we’re one of Sydney’s leading schools for boys, download our prospectus.