The title of this post is a response I get regularly from mothers. I am invited to speak a bit, and once in a while, I meet a mother who approaches me with a variation of this question. Typically the son is a teenager or in their army twenties. They see something that their children have not seen, and wish their children could be given an opportunity to see it early. This need however points to a brewing challenge that parents need to pay attention to before it’s late for them. I will speak in the context of African and Nigerian parents, which is where I have gathered some experience.
1. Boys! Boys are in desperate need of male empowerment initiatives: We have done so much over the years for the girl child, and it’s been good. The boy child however is already losing out in a few generations. Male empowerment shouldn’t start from seminars though, it should start from early childhood. This is when the expectations are set, a boy who is not helping in the kitchen and being encouraged to be irresponsible because he’s a man is already getting damaged beyond the repairs of male empowerment.
2. Peer Pressure! Teenage and young adult males are often heavily influenced by their peers. This can make it difficult for parents to compete with the opinions and values of their son’s friends. This is also why it’s easier to reach them through a younger man than their dads. This is not always true though, it is only true in the case of more families where fathers are a bit absent, or communication has broken down.
3. Men! When women are asked about their boys, what happens to their husbands? Many things are happening between men and their sons, many bad things like communication breakdown, loss of trust and the inability of men to keep it together by the time their sons turn twenty. Men need help too, and unfortunately, someone has sold men that it’s unmanly to seek help.
4. Communication! Communication breakdown between men and their sons is a big issue. Normally as young men begin to assert their independence, they may become less willing to open up and share their thoughts and feelings with their parents. This can make it challenging for parents to understand what is going on in their son’s life and to offer guidance and support. Mothers however usually have a backdoor to access their children way past when their fathers can. This is due to higher emotional and social intelligence. This communication channel needs to be deliberately opened.
5. Technology! In today’s digital age, young men may spend significant amounts of time on their phones, computers, and other devices. This can make it challenging for parents to connect with their sons or to know their friends and major sources of influence. In order to be able to keep up with children, every generation needs to stay active and current. What type of music does your son listen to? What movies does he watch? What do you really have in common? Man, you better strive to have things in common with your son.
Please feel free to reach me to help out with your son, but please note that it will require a little more than just me, we’ll all need to work together, as it takes a village to raise a child.
Are you interested in talking more about this? Why not reach me?
I appreciate you!