Violence and boys


Do not fall into despair or helplessness about violence in videos, music or movies. Instead, stay connected with your child in talking about them.

If necessary, consider limitations, but do not stop there! Talk about drugs, alcohol, violence and crime. Take your children to movies that show the values you want to teach them. Watch shows with them you believe are violent and be willing to discuss what you see. Your input is your child's greatest ally against unhealthy influences. Know who your child's friends are and what they spend their time doing. Now, more than ever, the answer is to connect and communicate!

A word of support to single mothers: Single mothers are often encouraged to find male role models, leaving a mother to believe she cannot raise her son on her own. This is not true! Feminist therapists have voiced the belief that a boy's relationship to his mother forms the basis for being able to be intimate. Emotional intimacy between mother and son is a foundation for a boy's growth, not his demise.

Certainly, including more adults, male and female in your son's life is desirable, as any one single caretaker has limited energy. But searching out male role models to make up for a deficit in your own perceived ability to effectively parent leads to false solutions.

Healthy parenting requires adequate self-esteem and in a single mother household -- as with a two parent household -- an attitude of respect for men and women is critical to a son's (and daughter's) development.


Mothers have long been held responsible for their children's development on the one hand, and ridiculed for their closeness to their sons on the other. The "boy code" binds both men and women.

William Pollack supports mothers and fathers in their quest to be close to their son. He acknowledges, rather than criticizes, mothers for their efforts: " is not mothers who are crippling our boys masculinity. It is society's myths about manhood that are preventing boys from being seen and trained as whole human beings, men who can work effectively and live in close relationship to other people." (p.98, "Real Boys")

Nurture your sons as much as your daughters. See their strengths and their vulnerabilities. The "boy code" does not by itself cause violence, but it can establish an environment where it can grow.

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