This is not going to be what you think it will be about. Not entirely anyway. You see, I do indeed recognise that there is a thing called “toxic masculinity”. But I also recognise that there is a thing called “toxic femininity”. Both are equally destructive.
Recently I had a mother and teenage son in my healing space and we were doing a catch up on how things were since the last time we got together. During that conversation the mother made a comment that was derogatory toward her son’s masculine energies. She was equating anger/rage/abuse with masculinity. I did address this with her right on the spot because I did not want her son growing up to think that being male is automatically toxic.
So here is the thing. Women can also be aggressive, angry and abusive. But in the eyes of many women they “always have a reason”. If he had only done this or not done that I would not have had to hit him. I would not have had to belittle him. I would not have had to…the list goes on. Now…reverse the genders. If you heard that crap coming out of a MAN’S mouth you would know INSTANTLY that he is an abuser. But people often think that it is completely okay for a woman to say this garbage and that she is instantly justified in her abusive behaviour. Abuse. Is. Abuse. Period.
Now let’s get back to teenage boys. People often roll their eyes at the phrase “teenage boys” and have story after story of all their trials and tribulations when it comes to their screwed up sons. I call bull. Yes, teenage boys can be a challenge. So can teenage girls. Often teenage girls are a challenge once a month. Teenage boys can be a challenge every second or third day. And the reason for this is not that he is being a horrible person. The reason is that his body is creating VAST QUANTITIES of testosterone. That messes up how his brain is able to function. Just like when a girl is on her moon time, a boy has a cycle, it just cycles incredibly fast in comparison.
There is nothing toxic about that. It is biology.
Boys are not evil. Men are not evil. Testosterone is not evil.
What can help this process for the boy is a LOT of physical activity. The reason for this is that physical activity will burn off testosterone in the system. So it does absolutely no good for a young boy to spend hours gaming and no time whatsoever running, lifting weights, doing cardio. There has to be a balance. Every day a teenage boy needs to spend at least an hour burning off that excess energy that his testosterone levels create. Otherwise he will indeed become a bear to live with.
Now…here is the other thing. This will go on to about age 23-25. So if you are going to have a baby and that baby is going to turn out to be a boy, know that you are in this for the LONG HAUL. So check your frustrations and anger at the door and start training yourself to coach a boy in what he needs to be doing to stay balanced. That includes coaching him on his emotions, which do get all messed up with testosterone rushes. Teaching him that his emotions are important and that he needs to deal with them and demonstrating for him HOW to deal with them is tantamount to creating a balanced alpha male. And you DO want an ALPHA male who is BALANCED. Otherwise what you get is an aggressive and abusive S.O.B or, just as bad, a total push over who can be manipulated and controlled by others. He needs to know self-confidence and be self-assured. He needs to know that he can take a stand on things that matter and that he will make a difference in the world by doing so. He needs to know that it is his job to protect those who cannot protect themselves, but that he is needing to also protect HIMself. He needs to know that he has a right to call “bullshit” on things he sees are harming people. He needs to also know that it is NORMAL for him to make mistakes and what the process is in turning those mistakes into learning opportunities. He needs to also know humility. That does not mean that he needs his mommy or daddy to humiliate him. It means that he needs those who are supposed to love him help him through the times when he does experience humiliation. He also needs to know that someone other than himself will have his back. If he does not know this then he will be much more likely to cave in to peer pressure.
Getting back to the testosterone thing. I would be remiss if I did not mention that by age 45 it starts to drop off dramatically. When it does he will be feeling exhausted a lot of the time and may be thinking that he has chronic fatigue syndrome. Other health issues can rise up such as blood pressure issues and heart issues and kidney issues etc. There is a simple solution for when this happens. It is called HORMONE THERAPY.
Men’s bodies are designed to have vast amounts of testosterone up to around age 45. This is because historically it has not been until the last 150 years or so that men would actually live longer than that. Now we are living well into our 90’s but don’t have the hormone production within our bodies. So having an injection or a patch with testosterone administered makes a world of difference. I will blog about this aspect in another blog at another time.
When I was growing up I heard all of my sisters complain about men constantly. Their boyfriends, their husbands, our father, our brother (not me because I was a model child and you can ask any of them that and they will indeed tell you), every man was a “problem”. Some of them grew out of that. But while I was hearing this stuff I was around 12 or 13. And I thought to myself, “Jeezuz…I guess that I don’t want to be a man or I will be an asshole.” BAM. That is how you create problems with masculinity. I needed to hear them say things like, “I know not ALL men are like this, but this so-and-so is such a …” That way I would have known that it is safe and alright for me to be a man and to express my masculinity. I had to learn that much later in life…in my late 20’s. And since then I have been educating people on that fact. And I will continue to do so till the day I die. That is a promise.