What is the key to raising your son to be a healthy engaged adult? My answer is a modern-day rite of passage. Which usually leads to the question “What is a “rite of passage?” It’s a term that most people equate with times past like “sending a boy into the wilderness to learn to survive and reemerge as a man.” As society evolved, we have failed to adapt and incorporate a “rite of passage” when raising sons. I want to remind and reinforce the importance of rites of passage when raising your son.
A Modern Day Rite of Passage done in the right way, led by a healthy male example, will help adolescent boys transition through the next phase of their life with less confusion and turbulence. Most importantly, it will lead to healthy adulthood and teach the lessons a boy needs to be engaged as an adult!
What Is Changing with My Son?
Rite of passage is a transition, and in its simplest terms means “changing from a boy to a man.” Sounds easy enough, right? It should be, but as a society we have gotten away from honoring and recognizing this time in an adolescent boy’s life as we raise our sons.
In my blog, The Quest Project-An Overview, I detail the elements of a Modern Day Rite of Passage. Adolescent boys are not being led in a healthy way with a seasoned elder or wise mentor through this process, as a result they and their parents are suffering.
Raising Your Son- The Process
My program, The Quest Project®, provides boys a rite of passage, their transition into manhood. I challenge parents to recognize and work with their sons to guide them through this process. As a parent, you have the best possibility to be the perfect mentor. You may ask yourself, “How can I be a healthy and responsible mentor to my son?” Here’s the process:
- Do you set goals in your life? Have you considered how important it is to help your son set goals? This can help him overcome obstacles and flush out blocks that are in the way.
- You may have heard me say that anger isn’t a bad thing, it’s how you release anger that makes the difference. Teach your son how to release anger by being the example. “Don’t be angry” messages are counterproductive. Medicating or anger management doesn’t allow him to get it out. I recommend getting to what is causing the anger, getting it out in a safe way in order to relieve it!
- Conflict is a part of life; teach your son how to resolve conflict in a healthy way.
- We all have a gift, it’s what makes us unique and different; does your boy know what gifts he was born with?
- Relationships: What does it mean to be in a relationship and love someone? The definition of love? Realizing that love is not a feeling and feeling “in love” is infatuation.
- What are your values? Does your son understand a value system and how important it is in his life? When your values are clear, your actions are easy.
- Do you have a mission statement? Share your mission with your son and teach him how to write his own. Start by having him envision making the world better and adding an action step of how he would get it done. Boys love this exercise! They need a plan!
- Lastly you’ll want to recognize the progress and process with either a gift or time that acknowledges the changing from a boy to a man. Let him know you notice the change and that you’re proud of him.
You may feel a bit lost or overwhelmed on how to guide your son through this process. I encourage you to pick up my book “Saving Our Sons” A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Boys for Success. My research supports these steps and this process. My experience is they’re not going to ask you how to get through these steps. If you don’t teach them they’ll look to someone else or worse “try to figure it out.” In other words, they initiate themselves the wrong way using drugs, alcohol, sex and violence with peers!
Commit to raising your son into a healthy adulthood! Get started and don’t forget the importance of providing your son a Modern Day Healthy Rite of Passage.