Empowering boys is one powerful way to address the boy crisis.
Some people — often, people who don’t have or work with boys — wonder why boys need to be empowered. After all, they say, men still control most businesses and countries.
But boys struggle in the classroom and in our communities. “Dangerous double standards” exist regarding sexual abuse, depending on whether the victim is male or female, says Laurie A. Couture, a mental health specialist, mother, and author of Instead of Medicating and Punishing: Healing the Causes of Our Children’s Acting-Out Behavior by Parenting and Educating the Way Nature Intended. There’s a tendency, she says, to focus on male pathology rather than male needs and strengths.
Couture says one of the most effective things parents can do to empower boys is to “get them out of the public school system” and explore alternative educational options such as homeschool or forest schools.
“Boys should be spending the majority of their days moving,” Couture says. “If boys are sitting sedentary, there is something wrong. That’s not what nature intends for their development. Children learn through play. That is the vehicle by which a child’s brain develops.”
What adults commonly view as acting-out behavior is actually nature’s alert system. “It’s saying ‘Alert, alert! This environment is toxic for this child,'” Couture says. “it is nature’s way of saying, ‘Something in this environment is going against life. It’s not meeting the child’s needs. The child is not at homeostasis.”
Though it’s virtually impossible to meet a child’s needs 100% of the time, our efforts to respond sensitively to our boys can empower them. When a child’s needs are met consistently, they develop confidence in those around them and in their own abilities.
Empowering and supporting each other is another way to empower boys.
“We can create spaces that welcome our boys and noise, chaos, and activity,” Jen says. “We can work together, empower each other, empower our boys, and make this world better for all of us.”
In this episode, Jen, Janet & Laurie discuss:
- Gender stereotypes
- Sexual abuse and violence
- The importance of movement for boys
- The human attachment cycle
- Screen time & video game addiction
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:
laurieacouture.com — Laurie’s website
Homeschool Hacks & How to Homeschool Boys — ON BOYS episode
Forest Schools Get Boys Learning Naturally — ON BOYS episode
Brain-Body Parenting with Dr. Mona Delahooke — ON BOYS episode (mentioned at 21:47)
Video Game Addiction — ON BOYS episode
4 Ways to Make Your Home Movement Friendly — article by Jen
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