Subject: Men rather no love than no respect IAN GRANT
"A boy needs a man around him to download the software of how to be a male," says Ian Grant of Parents
Growing Boys is Better Than Fixing Men.
"If we don't get them right as kids they cost us millions later on."
"Well," says Grant. "I think what happened is boys, when they get into trouble, really get into trouble. I heard someone say in a cynical way, when a girl gets into trouble she gets a baby and care, when a boy gets into trouble he ends up in jail.
renowned feminist author Doris Lessing noticed it, he says, quoting this passage of hers in his book: "I was in a class of 9- and 10-year-olds, boys and girls, and this young woman was telling these kids that the reason for wars was the innately violent nature of men. You could see the little girls, fat with complacency and conceit, while the little boys sat there crumpled, apologising for their existence, thinking this was going to be the pattern of their lives."
He writes: "These boy-tendencies towards impulsivity, passion and protectiveness have taken a hammering in the past few decades from a feminist climate that left many men, along with their sons, floundering for an identity and a role in the post-feminist, sexualised culture."
His point is that we have to stop trying to rescue boys from their masculinity while encouraging dads to actually participate as a parent.
"There is a study of men in Australia that shows one third don't talk to their dads at all. Over a third have only put-down talk with their dads and just under a third only talk to their dads about power tools, weather, sport and their job. Only one in 12 Australian men sees their father as an emotional support. I think it's worse in New Zealand.
"I respected my dad but we never had a deep conversation. I want to make the point that I'm not angry with my dad, but when I wrote that book I suddenly realised there was still a hunger. And I get men now, whose fathers are dead like mine is, and they have deep issues with that. We underestimate the power of the parent. I look at little boys in supermarkets whose dads aren't there for them and they have sad eyes because their mothers are doing all the work. They just want their dad to say, 'Hey, you've got what it takes mate'."
A family therapist friend said to me the other day, 'You know, if a parent sat at the end of their child's bed each day and debriefed them. And just said, what sort of day was it today, out of 10, and just listened to what was going on in their kids' lives so the kid could see their day in mature eyes,' he reckons 90 per cent of his work with adults would go."
Growing Boys: Growing Girls:
Boys are different from girls . that.s obvious. After many years of theorizing about social conditioning and its role in raising boys and girls, we are now hearing the academics identify what most parents have always known: boys and girls are .wired. differently, and, for that reason, they have different needs.
Scientists have identified physiological differences in boys. and girls. brains. At certain stages in their foetal development, little boys. brains are literally 'swamped' by hormones, switching on developmental changes that will affect them for life. The results are that boys' thought processes tend to be more compartmentalized, with specific types of thinking related to specific parts of their brains. Girls tend to be more .global. in their brain use, using both sides of their brains and readily moving between the two hemispheres.
Boys tend to be less verbal than girls, and more physical.
To girls, the relationships matter more than the game; while boys will rarely break up a game because of a disagreement. To boys, the game is the important thing.
Boys are more competitive and often noisier. They generally learn by doing rather than through words and writing.
Boys often prefer to be told rather than to discover. There have been major changes in education in recent decades, moving away from 'pedagogy' where an authoritative teacher told the pupils what they should know, to discussion and discovery learning. By and large, these changes have benefitted girls immensely, but perhaps not so boys. Boys now lag behind girls in every academic subject.
Boys like to know what the rules are. They are secure with firm discipline.
Boys need men in their lives to teach them what is safe and what is scary. They need a man in their life to role model how to be a man.
Girls tend to need friendships, to want to cooperate more than to compete.
Girls find their identity in relationships, and relationships with women are important to their learning how to be a woman.
Ian and Mary Grant
"Gender differences appear early on. Boy babies are less sensitive to faces. Girl babies have a much better sense of touch. Boys grow faster and stronger, yet they are more troubled by separations from their mother. By toddler-hood, when boys play they move around more and occupy more space. They like to handle and manipulate objects more - and build high buildings out of blocks, while girls prefer low-rise. At pre-school boys tend to ignore a new child who arrives in the group, while girls will notice them and befriend them."
(Raising Boys, by Steve Biddulph, published by Finch Publishers)