Boys are normal human beings when they play cops and robbers.

Let Boys be Boys

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Returning to the topic that was started last week. We are still talking about young men and the fact that boys are not broken and that Toxic Masculinity is made up.

What’s the real problem?

So why has there been a rise in school shootings? Why then are so many young men grabbing a gun and commencing to shoot up people they often knew? This is a very tough question to answer and no it isn’t a gun issue. It is a societal issue if you want my never to be humble opinion. It is interesting that these shootings are all male. Yet why now why haven’t they been happening since time immemorial. Yes, there is evidence that school shooting s have been happening all the way back to 1764.

From this point, it is interesting to see that there was a shooting happening once a decade or so but the rate of massacres didn’t kick up in frequency till 1966. After that, the schools which include Universities increased in almost classic hockey stick profile.

But why? Who really knows what is in each of the hearts of each of these cold-blooded killers. Yet, there are some interesting points we can look at that can shed some light.

No Fathers

From the latest of the monster that shot up the Florida school to the Sandy Hook Killer, it seems to always hear that there was not a dad in the house either it is because the dad died or just left. This is another case of men are important to show boys how to act. Yes, moms do a good job of helping boys show empathy. But they have to see a man who is in a leadership role applying that empathy.

A see a good example of what happens to boys when there isn’t a strong male presence are elephants. There is a game reserve in South Africa called Kruger National park. Their elephant herd was growing. So much so that the herd was needing to be thinned out.

So they took the juvenile males and females to other parks because the huge bull elephants were too heavy and difficult to move.

Everything worked out great till these new parks started having their Rhinos being killed by violent means. Which as you can guess isn’t easy. The games keepers set up cameras and saw that these new juvenile elephants were running around in groups running down and killing these rhinos. Not only were they after rhino but they were harassing other animals in the park as well.

What the Ranger started to realize was that these young male elephants didn’t have a dominant male in their lives. So they engineered harnesses large enough to move a bull elephant and put one in each herd. The aggressive behavior disappeared. These strong dominant males were needed to show the youth how to act.

The wrong type of Playtime

Boys like and should be able to play rough. Yeah, moms get worried when they see boys wrestling. But these are good play time. Boys these days can’t play cops and robbers, or Cowboys and Indians because they are too violent or they don’t agree with their political view.

Boys have to play army from time to time. The way they see that there is an actual hierarchy of society. You always have a boss and playing army and such does help with kids understand that concept. When the kid actually gets to be a leader they understand how to be a leader better. They know that ruling with an iron fist cause people do not want to play with them, and not leading causes someone else to take the helm.

These days’ schools won’t even let kids play with finger guns without teachers running around hyperventilating. When we use to have high school parking lots full of pickups that had a shotgun and a deer rifle in the back window. Schools use to have gun clubs. Even these are gone. There are still small bastions of schools that have FFA shooting sports. Sadly they too are disappearing.

Even recess is going away and this is a problem because kids need to burn off energy. Especially boys they are designed to run jump and roughhouse. Yet if a boy fidgets and can’t sit still teachers and school faculty tells parents these boys need to be medicated. When a good hard run around the merry-go-round would easily do the trick.

Parents these days are so panicked that their kid is going to be snatched up that kids can’t play in the neighborhood anymore. If they walk to school and get the exercise they have CPS called on them. You as a parent should be building an independent child who can care for themselves. Instead, we are coddling kids and throwing every possible fear at them. And we wonder why millennials are a bunch of nervous Nellies. They have never had to deal with the real world before.

Because kids can’t go out they are stuck with learning how to play with others through online games. Their social interactions are garnered through social media platforms. Social media isn’t the problem a house where both parents think they have to work is. Dads went to work but now so is a mom.

Need True Heroes Again

Another place that is missing from these young men’s lives when they are developing is the ability to have a true hero. These days the heroes are typically in the sports arena. Granted that is normally alright but the number of athletes without a criminal record is pretty sad.

Photo by Binyamin Mellish from Pexels

Then you look at Hollywood and these days they are more against men being men than ever. True an artist’s job is to push boundaries. Sometimes those boundaries move while other times the boundaries snap back.

There are sports heroes that are truly good and a good influence. Yet there are so many that don’t care that they are role models for their old neighborhoods. They could try to be a positive influence and show impressionable kids that they can bust out and have a better life. Now you see just as many with criminal records and nobody bats an eye.

Hollywood used to have a code of conduct with it too. Yes, it caused many gay men to have to hide. Yet you could look to Cary Grant and Rock Hudson. They were not perfect but it forced them to keep their antics secret because if they were exposed there was the shame, of the public exposure.

Rock Hudson had rules he had to abide by. Because of that he was viewed as a n upstanding guy.
Courtesy of Wikimedia

Bring back the admirable hero. Not the antihero. Not a complex hero either. There are interesting stories told by that but tell the story that your grandmother would like to hear. There are so many advantages to that.

My thoughts and opinions are that boys need to be boys you have to understand what it is like to be a boy in their teen years

Boys need positive role models in their life. Someone to show them how to be a man.Click To Tweet

Being a Boy as a Teen.

Society has frowned upon boys acting like boys for reasons I can’t fathom as to why. Other than if there are no real men in society they are easier to control. I can’t say that is the case here. Yet people are not letting boys be boys. You can’t even say that phrase without raising someone’s dander.

Yet there are some actions that are common among boys. There was a study done by the Journal of Adolescent Health that stated there are consequences to boys conforming to stereotypes.

The four big ones they stated are

  • Engaging in physical violence to a much greater extent than girls
  • Dying more frequently from unintentional injuries
  • Being more prone to substance abuse and suicide
  • Having a shorter life expectancy than women

So let’s look at these four.

Greater physical violence

Even when young boys have LOTS of energy. Boys as a whole, are rough and tumble and take risks that make a grown person scratch their head. As adolescence progresses this stays the same. Watch YouTube you are always seeing young men do something that is often rather dumb. But that is how we build our hierarchy. Yes, there is a leader in the group of young men.

That leader happens very naturally and often does just as many stupid stunts as the others. That is them learning about their limits. Yet these actions help facilitate and develop the skills that are needed to have a leader. People like a leader who can cut up with the rest of the group. Not take themselves too seriously. But at the same time know how to make a ruling on disagreement.

When guys have disagreements they often will fight it out. Before these men had their power taken from them they would fight it out with fists and pinning each other down. Once the disagreement was settled then they would go back to being friends and act as nothing happened. Sometimes yeah grudges would form but that would last for too long either.

Dying more frequently

Young men when they are growing up don’t have a sense of danger. They don’t look at that jumping off the roof as a possible broken leg they see it as a possible situation that could bring them notoriety.

So sadly with risks, there is a chance that there are unfortunate ramifications for trying to run across a highway blindfolded. Boys do dumb things their sense of mortality doesn’t really develop until they are well into their 20’s. As a parent, you should let your kids and teens do things you would view as dangerous. Let them develop a sense of self. Your kids should walk home from school. Let them play in the dirt. If they want to try to show off, good. They learn about pride and humility in the same instance.

Prone to Substance Abuse and Suicide

I would actually say this is more of a symptom of a problem than anything else. Yet, again they don’t have the experience nor the ability to see their own mortality. So they take chances and experiment with dangerous substances. If there is no Dad in the house this can actually be worse.

Mix the lack of a leader in the family now add the discomfort of experiencing all the teenage emotional rollercoaster around and yeah they are going to be substance abuse. As much substance abuse as girls. Young men want to be accepted into a group. Most often though they do it without a mentor to guide them.

Image by Brigitte Werner from Pixabay

Then they are being told that they are troublemakers because they disrupt a classroom. The kids have way too much energy and there is no outlet for them.

Shorter life span

This has been the case ever since the caveman days. Men have always had a shorter lifespan so much so that comedy of the sexes often is centered around men dying first to get away from their wives.

That is nature. Sad to say but if the wife dies before the men, the widower will normally die in 5 years unless he remarries. That is just how men are made.

Many times men die because the men leave the house to provide for their families. Going out into the world could lead to being eaten to being hit by a car and that is just for leaving the house. What happens at work could also take a person’s life.

They are building their self-esteem

Look back to your teens. Remember what it was like. You were unsure of yourself. The struggle and agony of trying to go and just say hello to your secret crush in homeroom. All of those times you were afraid to do something. Those were times you were unsure and your self-esteem either took a hit or was built up. The teen years are a time of great insecurity. These insecurities add to who we are just as much as other life experiences. We do stupid things because of that insecurity. Boys want to push past being insecure. There is nothing wrong with fighting past it. In fact, most of the self-help books that talk about how to overcome that insecurity.

They need better character building experiences

“There’s going to be a time in your life, if there hasn’t already, when you are going to be asked to betray your own values, your own ethics, your own idea of what it means to be a good man, in order to prove to others that you’re a real man,”

Dr. Michael Kimmel

Now Dr. Kimmel would like to lead that quote to toxic masculinity. When that is not anything toxic at all. That is a problem with kids and teens having a character test.

What is a character? The best definition I have ever read is Character is what you do when nobody is watching. These days there is very little character building going on? Maybe that will change someday.

Now while I would love to pile on that it is all of societies fault for our woes. I know that isn’t the case. Besides there is a lack of good solid heroes and role models, they can’t shoulder all the burden. It is our parent’s faults too. In efforts to protect our kids, we have decreased their opportunities to learn. They don’t want their babies to be uncomfortable. We have often decided that school rooms and structured events were better. I have found out that this is more often not the case. Kids develop a better sense of right and wrong when parents get out of the way. Let the kids play by their own rules.

There are the individual and their mental state that we have to add to this equation and while nobody wants an ugly baby, we have to be willing to help our kids by getting them help when they need it. Going into denial because they have a form of autism and thinking that they are ok isn’t going to fix the problem. The parents need to truly look at their child and make the hard decision. The harder decision is more often the correct decision.

Making the hard call allows for children to do what they do best and that is adjusting, Even a child on the autistic spectrum can and does adjust. I have a relative that has Asperger’s and he just finished boot camp for the Marines. His mom knew the case and faced it head-on. She didn’t shy away from his uniqueness. She allowed him to live his life. Doing this she helped this national hero to become the fine young man he is today.

In closing, look at how things were done. Instead of claiming that it is an old dusty tradition think there might be a reason that it is done that way. Let the boys be boys. Allow them to be rough and tumble. Yeah, they are going to break an arm and possibly get stitches. But those are battle scars showing them that they are real, human, strong, and vulnerable. Support them to be the leaders they can and will be in the future.

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About Bryan Goodwin

I like being able to help people find their "why" and achieve the personal freedom they desire. Besides writing for Relaxed Male I also am a life coach. By helping men find the leader that is found in each and every one of us. I do this by encouraging men to get outdoors and find the balance they are missing. Realize that they need to be in contact with the outside as often as they can. It is not only good for them but for their families and relationships.

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