4 minutes 4 change: Do you have a son who is 12 this year?

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SOME experts believe that there is a universal art to raising boys into well-rounded, balanced men and regardless of where you are in the world, all boys need the same inputs at various stages of their lives. What parents have to do is stay one step ahead to ensure that their sons have what they need when required.

From birth to the age of six years old, most boys are quite contented with their family and regular daily routine, whatever it may be. But from age seven to 14 years old, the boychild develops an internal drive; he needs to know more about being masculine. This simple fact is very much overlooked in today’s busy society where most people are trying to make ends meet and where providing children’s basic needs is the priority.

Parents seldom have time to notice any change in their boychild or to figure out what his inner yearnings may be. When this chance is missed during this crucial stage, some boys grow into men who fall short in areas that were never discussed, explained, experienced or divulged with a trusted male adult, with whom they bonded, during their childhood.

Boys do not just grow into well-rounded men all by themselves, they need masculine inputs. During this timeframe of a boy’s life, (7 – 14), fathers have a great influence and opportunity to build the foundations of masculinity in their sons. They need to find the time or make the time, to take an interest in their sons: to teach skills, qualities, and to nurture their natural abilities. Fathers need to guide their sons emotionally and morally. By example, they can show them how to be honest, law-abiding citizens.

All these lessons do not have to be taught overnight or all in one go, but over time through different events, activities, and time shared together. Fathers must be cognisant of the fact that their sons need to learn masculinity and the finer qualities of manhood. If a father is absent, then an uncle, grandfather or close male family friend could take on the role, but it must be someone who is reliable and understanding to the cause.

Some fathers like to sit and drink with their friends for hours on end, being boastful, rowdy and having ‘fun.’ To a boychild this may seem like a ‘rite of passage’: as he grows and observes his father, he may truly believe that he needs to participate in this type of behaviour; whereas, what a father should really be teaching his son, is that such ‘indulgences’ should be moderated as they could lead to alcoholism and there is a time and place for everything.

No one is suggesting that a man should not have ‘fun with the boys,’ but if a father is to lead by example, he must be aware of his actions and how they impact on his son. Most mothers who bring up boys without a father do a very good job and some sons are a real credit to their families, having been raised by a single mother and/or a granny, etc.

However, there still are those boys who end up gravitating towards their ill-informed peers to develop their sense of ‘self,’ because there are no adult male role models in their lives to whom they can relate, or from whom they can learn.

If your son wrote the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) exam this year and is, or will be 12, in the not-too-distant future, this is your wake-up call. Is your son getting the ‘grounding’ that he needs to become a well-balanced man? Are you, as a father, giving your son good examples of manhood and spending quality time with him, precious time that will help to shape him and that he will remember for the rest of his life?

In some religions the age of 12 is recognised as a turning point for adulthood. Young boys are taken from their mothers’ homes and initiated into manhood through a series of rituals and tests. It remains a proven fact that boys need positive masculine nurturing during this essential stage of their childhoods. Whether you are a mother or a father, if you have a son, do your best to give him what he needs today for him to develop into a well-rounded man of tomorrow.

If you are concerned about the welfare of a child call the CPA helpline on 227 0979 or write to us at childcaregy@gmail.com
A MESSAGE FROM THE CHILDCARE AND PROTECTION AGENCY, MINISTRY OF SOCIAL PROTECTION