Violence and boys

Testosterone does not equal violence, but it may contribute to differences in a boy's tendencies of self-expression. Do not shame your son for his aggression or label him because of it. Help him channel aggressive energy constructively and teach him to reach out for help without humiliation.

Keep in mind that the major protection your child has against drugs, unhealthy risk taking behavior or crime is the ongoing relationship of one, caring adult who is committed to his well-being. More is better, but one is enough! This is you. It is up to you to know where your child is, which sometimes may take extra effort in these days of travel in cyberspace! Do you know, for example, what sites your child has been visiting on the Internet? Time magazine (May 10, 1999) offers parents a list of software and tips to help you keep track of the sites your child has recently visited online


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.

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