I hope you enjoyed reading last week’s excerpt from Saving Our Sons. Here’s your next installment from the book.
The following excerpt is from Chapter 3: What’s Missing. I hope you enjoy!
Mothers I meet in my practice already feel like they’re bending over backward giving their all to help their boy. And it’s still not working!
If this is true for you, understand that it’s not your fault. You are not failing your son.
The problem is basic biology.
At its most basic level, the transition from boyhood to manhood is about a boy breaking away from his mother and learning to stand on his own two feet. He’s looking for answers to questions like, “Who is the man I’m going to become?” and, “Who’s around that can give me that example or model?”
As much as you love your son, those are answers you cannot provide.
Part of what makes parenting an adolescent so challenging is that at the same time your son is feeling drawn to this new world of men, he is still terrified to leave your side. That’s the first and biggest challenge boys face as they grow up, separating from Mom.
Who can blame your son for feeling attached to the safety and comfort of being cared for and feeling loved? Even when he’s acting like a complete jerk, he still doesn’t want to let go of you. In fact, that may be why your son is acting like a complete jerk.
Boys test their mothers. On one hand, they want to see how far they can push the boundaries; on the other hand, they want to run back to Mom’s side and be safe.
In an ideal world, this is where Dad steps in and says, “No, wait a minute. You’re not going to hide, you’re not running back to Mom, and you’re going to feel this.” Because when a boy pushes past his fear and faces it, that’s where the growth happens.
Because it’s so challenging, this is where a lot of boys get stuck. One primary reason is the lack of a strong male role model to guide them. The current epidemic of Absent Fathers means too many boys have no one to tell them, “You can do it,” and push them forward toward manhood.
And yes, this includes boys who have a father living at home.
You may be wondering why you, Mom, can’t be the person to guide your son on this journey. After all, you’ve gotten him this far. You probably know him better than anyone.
But even when you say those exact same words, you get a very different reaction than when the words come from Dad. When Dad nudges your son away from you and out into the world, it’s empowering. When you nudge your son away from you, he may feel rejected. He may feel you’re no longer there to run back to at all. This is both painful and scary to a boy who is still unsure of his place in the world.
Below is a short (3 minute) video clip from an interview. If you know someone who needs to hear this message, I sure would appreciate if you would share it!
The official release date for Saving Our Sons is September 1, 2016. The book is now available for pre-ordering on Amazon.com.